Matthias Sammer hails "fantastic" Mario Mandzukic

Bayern Munich's sports director Matthias Sammer gestures during the pre-season football match Hansa Rostock vs FC Bayern Munich on July 14, 2013
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Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer insists that Mario Mandzukic is a "very important player" for the club.

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has insisted that striker Mario Mandzukic is a "very important player" for the club.

Mandzukic was left on the bench for Bayern's first two games after the winter break before returning to the starting lineup for Sunday's match against Eintracht Frankfurt, scoring a late goal to seal a 5-0 win for the champions.

The Croatian's place in the team was called into question when Bayern agreed to sign Robert Lewandowski next summer, but Sammer insists that he still has a major role to play at the club.

"Mario Mandzukic is an extremely important player for us - but only if he plays to his full potential," Sammer is quoted as saying by the league's official website.

"He's been fantastic for us and is worth his weight in gold, but he must [perform well] consistently for us, even if it's not always easy. He's reacted well [to being left out], but he has to give more."

Mandzukic has scored 14 goals in 28 appearances in all competitions for Bayern so far this season.

Bayern's Mario Mandzukic celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal against Hertha Berlin on October 26, 2013
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Borussia DortmundDortmund11003033
2Bayern Munich11003123
3Hertha Berlin11002023
4Schalke 04Schalke11002023
5Hannover11001013
6Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach11001013
7Hamburger SV11001013
8Hoffenheim11001013
9Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt10100001
10Freiburg10100001
11Augsburg100101-10
12FC Koln100101-10
13Mainz 05100101-10
14Werder Bremen100101-10
15Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen100113-20
16RB Leipzig100102-20
17Stuttgart100102-20
18Wolfsburg100103-30