Jupp Heynckes warns Bayern Munich over Celtic threat ahead of UCL clash
MUNICH -- Bayern Munich interim coach Jupp Heynckes has warned not to take victory against Celtic for granted ahead of their Champions League meeting in Munich on Wednesday.
Bayern won their opening Champions League game against Anderlecht but followed that with a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain -- a result that cost Carlo Ancelotti his job and led to Heynckes' return.
After losing in Paris, Bayern go into Wednesday's game level on three points with Celtic, who beat the Belgian champions 3-0 away from home in their last match.
"We cannot afford to make the mistake of underestimating Celtic, Scottish champions six times in a row," Heynckes said at a prematch news conference. "They are a strong, aggressive team who will fight.
"Last season, for example, in the group stages they drew twice in the competition against Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach. They are a competitive and experienced team with a very good coach [Brendan Rodgers] who used to be in charge of Liverpool."
Heynckes, though, said he was not overly worried after the defeat against PSG last month, pointing to a round-of-16 loss to Arsenal en route to their 2013 Champions League success during his last stint at Bayern.
"You can always lose a game in this competition," Heynckes said. "I can remember losing 2-0 to Arsenal, so it is nothing new but I think it was the way we lost that was highlighted.
"Of course, it's easy to say in advance Bayern and PSG are favourites in the group, but I have to admit I am fan of first playing the games and then doing the maths.
"Bayern has big ambitions in this competition and of course my team too. We are experienced with a great history in the competition and we want to qualify."
Bayern breezed past Freiburg 5-0 in Heynckes's first Bundesliga game of his fourth spell in charge of the Bavarians, and the 72-year-old is looking for a repeat in Europe.
"It would be good to build on the performance from Saturday," he said. "There are one or the other areas to improve on, but we have analysed the game together, very critically in parts, but as I said at the weekend, it was criticism at a high level.
"The team played very well when you consider what went before. We are highly motivated and the players performed well today in training, its 24 degrees in October -- that's spring weather."
Asked if he had reminisced ahead of taking charge of first game in the competition since winning the 2013 Champions League at Wembley, he replied: "I haven't looked back at Bayern against Borussia Dortmund or even in 1998 with Real Madrid against Juventus for that matter.
"I live in the present; it is an exhilarating competition with a special importance. Games are played at an amazing level -- especially from the round of 16 onto the quarterfinals, semifinals and final."
Heynckes confirmed that Javi Martinez will miss the next two games with a shoulder injury, but Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal is fit to rejoin the squad after recovering from a slight knock.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.