Jupp Heynckes is aware that his Bayern Munich side has benefited tremendously from the high-profile summer signing of Spanish midfielder Javi Martinez, despite the fact that the Bavarian outfit’s front-line has consistently stolen the headlines this season.
Bayern have been in terrific form at the Bundesliga summit and have been able to carry that to the UEFA Champions League as well, where they last dismantled Lille 6-1.
Goals have flowed very naturally for the German giants this season but their defense has also received some solid protection from the efforts of Martinez in a holding role.
Given that they now face a more difficult opposition in Spain’s Valencia, the manager has looked to former Athletic Bilbao star Martinez to continue contributing as the team’s unsung hero.
“We are very happy with [Spanish defensive midfielder] Javi Martínez. We have to forget how much he cost and continue the integration process so he can play at the highest European level,” Heynckes asserted.
The 67-year old added: “His team-mates speak very highly of him, and the captain has acknowledged that it is the type of player that the team needed.”
While Spanish football’s dominance at the international front has remained unparalleled in recent years, Heynckes believes that La Liga’s superiority over Bundesliga is often overstated by those who overlook the fundamental differences between the playing style in both leagues as well as the recent strides of improvement made within the German top flight.
“There are several things that differ about the German and Spanish leagues. The stadiums here are newer and friendly; the economic situation and the standard of the Bundesliga has improved a lot, and you can see that in the German clubs’ UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League performances.
“The atmosphere in German stadiums is great and they are almost always full,” Heynckes concluded, indicating that his men are prepared for the tough surroundings that await them at the Mestalla.