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Ballack hails Heynckes

Former Bayern Munich star Michael Ballack believes Pep Guardiola’s appointment is undermining the work of current coach Jupp Heynckes.

Guardiola will take over at Bayern next season, but Ballack feels the performances of the club under Heynckes are being overlooked.

Bayern are 17 points clear on top of the Bundesliga table and favourites to win their first Champions League title since 2001.

“In my opinion, it’s a bit disrespectful for Jupp Heynckes,” Ballack said.

“The press is focusing on Pep Guardiola, but you don’t praise the work of Heynckes at the moment.

“He manages the situation with unbelievable dignity because it’s not easy to be confronted all the time with this topic.

“He still motivates the team as if there wasn’t this topic, so you should praise this until his last day.”

Guardiola led Barcelona to a host of titles during four seasons at the helm, including the Champions League twice and La Liga on three occasions.

“Bayern is playing outstanding football, so even for Pep Guardiola it won’t be easy to top whatever they achieve this season,” Ballack said.

“He is an outstanding manager and has had great success, but we should praise the work of Heynckes until this summer and I think they have a good chance to win the Champions League.”

Reflecting on his time at Bayern between 2002 and 2006, Ballack said the club were nowhere near the European force they are now recognised as.

“At my time, we were domestically very strong. We won the double three times in four years, but we didn’t have the international impact Bayern has today,” he said.

“You can measure it by the money they spend now, but you need to spend this amount of money to get the top players.

“The squad is well balanced and they showed last year and even this year, that they are able to win the UEFA Champions League.

“They are not the underdogs, more the favourites and I think that they will raise the trophy pretty soon.”

Ballack was in Leipzig to announce details of his testimonial, to be played in the city on June 5.

Thu 7 March, 2013
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