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Bayern Munich's Niko Kovac won't 'waste my time' with negativity

MUNICH -- Niko Kovac has vowed to shrug off the negativity surrounding his appointment as Bayern Munich coach.

Kovac, 46, joined the Bundesliga champions on a three-year contract in the summer, having beaten them in DFB Pokal final in his final game of charge of Eintracht Frankfurt.

However, questions were asked about his suitability, with only a stint in charge of Croatia and their under-21 team between 2012-15 on his CV before Eintracht.

"That's the way people are in general, they see everything negatively at first and then choose to ask questions," Kovac told a news conference.

"When I started in Frankfurt, things were similar and you know what happened there at the end. But I don't waste my time thinking about such things."

Bayern, record 18-time German cup winners, begin their quest to lift the trophy this season with a trip to fourth-tier SV Drochtersen/Assel on Saturday.

"I have suffered a few exits as a player in this competition and we certainly won't be underestimating the opposition. We are clear favourites, we have to take care of our own business," Kovac said.

The coach also praised Thomas Muller after the forward scored two goals in the 4-1 friendly win over second-tier Hamburg in midweek.

"He played great in Hamburg," he said. "I feel he is getting back to his old self, his nonchalance is returning and he is more at ease with himself. He is heading in the right direction."

Kovac confirmed that fit-again captain Manuel Neuer, who played his first competitive game since September in Sunday's 5-0 DFL Super Cup success over Frankfurt, has deposed his back-up goalkeeper Sven Ulreich.

"Manuel will play in goal," Kovac said. "He endured such a long break that every game he plays is helpful."

David Alaba and Serge Gnabry miss the trip to Northern Germany through injury, with Kovac saying that Juan Bernat and James Rodriguez would have to come through fitness tests at training on Friday after ankle problems.

"Otherwise we will play with the full squad," he added. "We want to improve our injury record this season with the help of our support and medical staff, but we have an excellent group of players in the U23 side to help us.

"We had a few of them with us in the U.S. [at the International Champions Cup], and it's our aim at Bayern to promote a few of them when necessary."

Meanwhile, midfielder Sebastian Rudy is set to leave Bayern, with Bundesliga rivals Leipzig reportedly leading the race for the Germany international.

"Should Sebastian Rudy leave we would have 20 outfield players plus two goalkeepers, that's a good size squad," Kovac added. "I don't think another midfielder would then depart."

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