FC Barcelona midfield standout and former Schalke 04 man, Ivan Rakitic, recently gave an interview to Bild. The Croatian national stated that he sees Bayern Munich as a contender for the Champions League crown and that Jupp Heynckes is an enormous reason why. Rakitic explained,
Bayern are always there; we know Bayern well. That’s why we know that it will be very, very hard [to win the Champions League]. For me, Bayern are always a candidate for the title. They’re back on track again now with their new coach. So I wish my old friends who are still there lots of luck. Maybe we’ll see each other.
Rakitic’s Barcelona side is widely considered to be the co-favorite for this season’s UEFA Champions League along with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City juggernaut. Bayern, however, have crept back into the discussion with Heynckes managing his uber-talented roster with aplomb.
As Barcelona prepares to spar with the ever-dangerous Eden Hazard and Chelsea, Bayern will begin preparations for its match-up with Besiktas. Both opening matches will be played on Tuesday, February 20th.
The 29-year-old Rakitic, who won the 2014-2015 Champions League with Barcelona, recently notched his 100th career goal in a career that has spanned stops with FC Basel and Sevilla FC, in addition to Schalke 04, Barcelona, and the Croatian national squad.