Matthias Sammer hails "fantastic" Mario Mandzukic

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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1Bayern Munich18142240122844
2Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen1987439271231
3RB Leipzig199463128331
4Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach199463030031
5Borussia DortmundDortmund1986540251530
6Schalke 04Schalke188642924530
7Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt198652420430
11Hertha Berlin196762727025
15Mainz 05195592433-920
16Werder Bremen183781421-716
17Hamburger SV1943121528-1315
18FC Koln1933131433-1912
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