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Real Madrid vs. AC Milan in Dubai

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

Bayern deny Benitez was approached

BERLIN, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich will wait to hold talks with coach Ottmar Hitzfeld over the mid-season break before considering any other potential candidates for the post. Hitzfeld's contract runs out at the end of the season but manager Uli Hoeness denied recent media suggestions that the club were courting Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez as a replacement. 'We've spoken neither to Liverpool nor to Benitez,' Hoeness said on Bayern's website. 'I'm a very good friend of Ottmar Hitzfeld and I've given him my word that he's the first person we'll talk to in the winter break. 'If our talks are successful, we'll have no need to talk to anyone else. If there's no result, we'll start thinking about another coach. But until we've talked to Ottmar in the winter break, you can take it there's nothing to any of the rumours.' Hitzfeld returned for a second spell as Bayern coach towards the end of last season. After a big investment in the squad the team have led the Bundesliga all season, although their form has dipped over the last month. Hoeness also confirmed Bayern had told French defender Valerien Ismael he could leave the club after dropping out of Hitzfeld's plans. 'We've agreed to his request,' Hoeness said. 'If he finds a club, he can leave.'