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Monday, January 7, 2008
Bayern refuse to panic over Hitzfeld replacement

Bayern Munich general manager Uli Hoeness insists the club will not be rushed into appointing a new coach.

The Bayern board met on Monday to discuss a successor to Ottmar Hitzfeld, who announced on January 2 that he will leave the Allianz Arena at the end of the season.

And Hoeness is adamant they have sufficient time to make sure they get the right man in place.

He told German newspaper Bild: 'We left it before the winter break that we would meet this week and exchange ideas.

'We do not feel under any time pressure at all and we will certainly not make any panic decisions because we all know that the next shot must hit the mark.

'However, the whole issue is not as easy as the public think.'

Jose Mourinho, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard have emerged as early front-runners, while Jurgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthaus, Volker Finke and Jurgen Klopp lead a group of German candidates.

'I cannot rule anything out,' added Hoeness. 'That also means appointing a foreigner.

'When we changed from Felix Magath to Hitzfeld last year, we needed somebody quickly who knew the league, the team and the club.

'This time there is enough time for somebody to get used to the league and the language.

'One thing is for sure: Bayern Munich will go into next season with a coach who is suitable for them.'

Hitzfeld returned for a second spell at Bayern in February 2007 after the club sacked Magath.

He could not inspire them to qualify for the Champions League, however, as they finished fourth.

A summer recruitment drive saw the likes of Franck Ribery, Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose arrive and the early signs were promising as they surged to the top of the standings with some resounding wins.

However, their form has tailed off since then with a run of four successive goalless draws prompting the first calls for change from sections of the crowd.

Hoeness is confident though that Hitzfeld is still the man to guide the club through the remainder of the Bundesliga season.

He said: 'That question need not be asked. Ottmar will be staying (until the end of the season) without any doubt.

'The team accept him overwhelmingly and I do not see any cause for concern of us falling into a rut.'

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