The retired coach does not think any other club in the world are stronger than the Bundesliga champions and defended Robert Lewandowski’s form
Former Bayern Munich boss Ottmar Hitzfeld says the Bavarians have the best squad in the world – even stronger than that of Real Madrid or Barcelona .
The Bavarians were embarrassed by Real Madrid at the Champions League semi-final stage last season and the European champions then amassed an incredible winning streak in the second half of 2014.
However, Carlo Ancelotti’s side have made a troublesome start to 2015 after being knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Atletico Madrid and losing 4-0 to their city rivals in La Liga.
Bayern have won just one competitive game this calendar year themselves out of a possible three, but Hitzfeld is certain no one can touch Pep Guardiola’s men in terms of strength in depth.
“Bayern’s high expectations have been set very high due to great results and achievements,” Hitzfeld, who retired as coach after his Switzerland side were eliminated from the 2014 World Cup, told TZ .
“After the winter break, it is always a kind of new beginning, you never know where you stand. Anyway, I am of the opinion that Bayern have the best squad – and by that I mean not just the starting XI – in the whole of Europe.
“The squad of Bayern is stronger than Real Madrid and Barcelona’s. Guardiola can replace two or three top players without a problem. Many players can then take this opportunity to prove themselves and get match practice. This fuels internal competition.”
Robert Lewandowski has struggled to score on a consistent basis for Bayern since his arrival on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund at the start of the season, but Hitzfeld thinks comparisons to the man he replaced, Mario Mandzukic, are unfair.
“Lewy’s goal tally certainly needs boosting, but he needs longer to integrate,” he added. “But even if he does not score goals right now, he brings more to the team than Mandzukic did.
“He’s more valuable than Mandzukic was simply because he plays more to the philosophy of Guardiola.”
One of the biggest talking points in German football right now is whether Guardiola will extend his contract at Bayern beyond 2016, although Hitzfeld thinks the German giants are in no rush to tie the former Barcelona coach down.
“I looked at the whole thing with a smile,” he continued. “Internally, the solution may have already been solved and it’s just not been made public yet.
“This sort of speculation is completely normal but I’m assuming that Guardiola is completely satisfied at Bayern and has big ambitions.
“Three years is not even that long. I spent six years at Bayern before I was already burnt out. That was double the time, so Guardiola has room for improvement.”