Bayern coach Niko Kovac criticizes Rafinha for speaking out

MUNICH (AP) — Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac criticized Brazilian defender Rafinha on Thursday for complaining about a lack of playing time.

Rafinha, who hasn’t played since Bayern’s 3-1 loss at Bayer Leverkusen on Feb. 2, made his displeasure known publicly after the 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

“Nobody can put himself over the team, the club and the players – nor be so critical of the coach,” Kovac said, adding that the 33-year-old Brazilian had apologized in front of the team. “With that the issue is finished. It shouldn’t happen in this way.”

Kovac, whose team faces a trip to third-place Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday, didn’t want to talk about Thomas Mueller’s situation. The Bayern forward has lost his starting place in recent weeks.

“From this day I will only speak about players who have played,” Kovac said. “Anyone else will come back in focus when they play.”

Rafinha may yet play on Saturday because of an injury to left back David Alaba, though Kovac said the Austrian might be fit.

The coach has greater concerns on the left wing with Franck Ribery out with a stomach bug and Kingsley Coman out with a torn muscle in his left thigh. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is doubtful with the flu and Leon Goretzka has an ankle injury, but reserve goalkeeper Sven Ulreich and defender Mats Hummels are fit again.

Bayern trails Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund by three points with 11 matches to go.