Jupp Heynckes responded to suggestions the Bundesliga requires a change in format to end Bayern Munich’s dominance by stating Stefan Effenberg would never have proposed such measures as a player.
The Bavarian giants are 18 points clear with 13 matches remaining as they seek a sixth title triumph in succession, and their former midfielder this week suggested, via his T-Online column, splitting the league in two and resetting points after Christmas to try to retain a competitive element.
Heynckes passionately opposed the notion and claimed Effenberg, who was part of a Bayern team that won the Bundesliga three times in a row, would never have put forward such a plan before hanging up his boots.
“I think the Bundesliga has always been an attractive competition the way it was, after 34 games the best team, the most successful, is the champion and I feel that’s the way we should leave it,” the 72-year-old told a media conference ahead of Bayern’s clash with Schalke on Saturday.
“I think the experts that say we should change it, and those that were former players at Bayern Munich, they would never have said that [as players] – it’s clear to me.
“You can’t criticise or blame Bayern for doing a better job on the pitch and off the pitch, it’s something Bayern have worked very hard for over the years. Borussia Dortmund won the Bundesliga twice in successive years – why shouldn’t that be possible in the coming years for Leverkusen, for example? I think the way it’s organised is good and it shouldn’t be changed.
“I don’t believe in play-offs, I think it’s good as it is.
“Munich is enjoying the fruit of very hard work and to create a different method to punish Bayern is not the right motive to have.”
Manuel Neuer is Bayern’s only injury absentee ahead of the clash with Schalke, but Thiago Alcantara will not be risked. However, the Spain international is expected to make his comeback from a thigh injury with a first appearance since November against Wolfsburg next weekend.
“The situation is really good,” said Heynckes. “However, with Thiago I’m going to be very careful. I am considering playing Thiago from the start in Wolfsburg next week.
“It’s better to have him in the starting formation so you can react if he’s tired, so that’s why I’m not going to have him in my squad [on Saturday]. He did really well in his recovery. It’s gratifying to have this top player back.
“I’ve said many times, February, March, April is the time you need to have all your players fit and currently that’s the case, so I think we’re in good condition.”