Pep Guardiola has stressed that he wants the best for Mario Gotze and is adamant the Germany international can still succeed at Bayern Munich.
Gotze has been struggling to live up to high expectations since joining Bayern from Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and has been heavily linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena in recent months, with Dortmund and Liverpool believed to be interested in signing him.
The 23-year-old impressed in Germany’s win over Italy last month and will be hopeful of starting for Bayern in Saturday’s match against Eintracht Frankfurt.
“I have a lot of respect for Mario and for his career so far,” Guardiola said at a news conference. “Of course I know what he can do. My opinion about him does not change because of one good or bad game.
“Mario can play in any formation, I could have played him in the match versus Cologne, but I preferred to play more midfielders.
“I want the best for Mario. He can still succeed at Bayern. And he is a great guy. He deserves the best.
“Mario is one of the most professional players I have ever met in my career. I have never spoken badly about him, because he never gives me any reason to do so. He is hugely professional.”
Eintracht recently appointed Niko Kovac as their new coach and Guardiola believes that change at the helm makes them a tricky opponent.
“A new coach always means new enthusiasm and new ideas. Eintracht put in a very aggressive performance against Hannover,” Guardiola added.
“I don’t know yet whether I will play with three, four or five defenders. I expect Eintracht to play similar to what Mainz and Darmstadt did against us.
“The best team will play. We cannot afford to slow down. We have a strong rival behind us in the race for the title. Dortmund are capable of winning all remaining games. But we are a win and a draw ahead of them.”