Jupp Heynckes has warned his Bayern Munich side to take all of their opponents seriously in the group stage of the Champions League, after they discovered their fate on Thursday.
The Bavarians will face Valencia, Lille and BATE Borisov in Group F as they look to make amends for their penalty shoot-out defeat to Chelsea in last year’s final.
But while Heynckes is confident of Bayern’s chances in progressing to the knockout stage, he acknowledges that they must not underestimate their rivals if they are to top the pool.
“It’s definitely a manageable group for us, on paper. But the Champions League is difficult and you have to respect all your opponents. We’re certainly looking forward to it,” Heynckes told the club’s official website.
Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer shared a similar view, pointing out that Valencia could prove to be a difficult encounter.
“It’s a draw which presents medium difficulty,” mused the 1996 European Footballer of the Year.
“Our aim is clear enough: we want to make the next stage as group winners. If we turn in strong performances we’ll impose ourselves on the group, but if we’re in poor shape we’ll have problems.
“Valencia are one of the top teams in Spain, so we’ll prepare well.”
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who proved to be Bayern’s hero in their Champions League semi-final victory over Real Madrid last year, expressed how it was an easier draw than last year’s, when they were drawn against Manchester City, Napoli and Villarreal.
“Valencia came third in Spain behind the big two of Barcelona and Madrid, and Lille have played quite a few games in the Champions League,” he commented.
“But I still think we can be satisfied with the draw, as last year’s group was tougher on paper.”
Bayern Munich’s Champions League campaign begins on September 18, when they will host Los Che at the Allianz Arena.