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Mandzukic happy to reap rewards

Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic believes his brace against Greuther Furth is a just reward for working hard on the training pitch.

Bayern ran out 2-0 winners on Saturday, in their first Bundesliga match since the mid-season break.

Although head coach Jupp Heynckes said his side were not at their best, he singled out the performance of Mandzukic for praise.

Bayern’s victory meant they maintained their nine-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga.

“There are reasons (for my good form) of course,” Mandzukic said.

“I worked very hard in the off-season. I did that for me, because I know if I am fit, I am strong. I can help the team and do my job the best I can and I think I’ve done well today.”

Heynckes agreed with Mandzukic’s analysis of what makes the Croatian a potent force on the pitch.

“I just said to him that he is the kind of striker who needs to work for his goals,” Heynckes said.

“He needs to run, to offer himself. Than he is in the game and is in the right frame of mind to convert his chances.

Meanwhile, Bayern president Uli Hoeness has urged the club to go on and win the title to give new head coach Pep Guardiola the perfect platform when he takes at the end of the campaign.

“Now the season starts again and it would be worth nothing to get this great coach, if we don’t win the championship,” he said.

“And I don’t want that.”

Hoeness would not be drawn on who will be appointed to Guardiola’s coaching staff.

“That is all speculation,” he said.

“We haven’t talk about it. Karl Heinz Rummenigge and Matthias Sammer will talk with him about it. But when it’s time and not now, we need to focus on the championship, the Champions League and the (DFB) cup.

“And I don’t care who will carry the corner flag or pump up the balls next season. We need to make a return to our day-to-day business.”

Sun 20 January, 2013
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