Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes says winning the Bundesliga is the club’s top priority this season.
Bayern were second best domestically to Borussia Dortmund last year in both the league and cup, but this term they sit nine points clear of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen and a further three ahead of the defending champions in third.
Although Bayern remain in contention for the DFB Pokal and UEFA Champions League – both of which they lost in the final last season – Heynckes insisted reclaiming the league crown is more important.
He told the club’s official website: “It’s the most honest competition. The league takes priority. It’s the target we’re going for with everything we have.
“We’re well on track, but we have to resolutely stay the course. As for the Champions League and the DFB Cup, we’ll just take it as it comes.
“The entire team has pulled together in exemplary fashion, including those who haven’t played that often. That’s been first-class.”
While Heynckes was keen to point out the impressive performance of the squad as a whole, he took time to praise two of his star players this season – new signing Javi Martinez and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
“I don’t want to single out individuals, although I will admit there have been one or two,” he said.
“The public and the media can now see why I fought for him (Martinez) so strongly. He’s exactly the player we need for the position in defensive midfield.
“Javi has outstanding ability as a footballer and as a personality. He’s really well integrated now, and one of the key reasons for our excellence in defence. Javi will be one of the outstanding individuals at Bayern in the years to come.”
Heynckes added that he believes only Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas can be compared to Neuer, and feels his goalkeeper’s form is often overlooked.
“Manuel (Neuer) is an exceptional keeper, which everyone finally registered during the cup match in Augsburg,” he said.
“I’ve always believed he’s out on his own as the No.1 in Germany. And looking at the entire world, I think the only man at a similar level is Iker Casillas.”
The 67-year-old added that Bayern do not plan to invest in the January transfer window, stating: “(Sporting director) Matthias Sammer has indicated that we may send young Mitchell Weiser out on loan, but as things stand, we don’t otherwise plan to do anything.”
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