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Mandzukic has matured, says Kovac

Former Bayern Munich defender Robert Kovac said striker Mario Mandzukic is developing into one of the most promising attackers in Europe.

The Croatia international has netted 15 times for Bayern in the Bundesliga this season and Kovac, a former team-mate of Mandzukic, conceded the forward has exceeded his personal expectations.

The veteran centre-back told TZ Online: “Before the season started I had classed him as a reserve player, but his hard work is paying off and he has taken the league by storm.

“I’m very familiar with Mario. We played together at Dinamo Zagreb and he has really made a huge step forward and changed very much in contrast to his early career.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s DFB Pokal clash between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, the 38-year-old believes Bayern will be keen to avenge the heartbreak of losing to Jurgen Klopp’s side in the final of last year’s competition, labelling the result fortuitous.

“Bayern want to show that these results, like the cup final defeat to Dortmund in Berlin, were just flukes,” he said.

“For Dortmund this year, the cup is probably their only realistic title. The pressure of the situation is finely balanced.

“These teams know each other very well. They both want to win and need to win. What a game.”

Tue 26 Feb, 2013
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