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Chorus of praise for top marksman Mandzukic

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Chorus of praise for top marksman Mandzukic

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:00 pm

Some 80 minutes had passed after Mario Mandzukic's stunning opening goal before he received a special gesture of praise from his coach. Deep in the bowels of Wolfsburg's Volkswagen Arena, Jupp Heynckes approached his prolific centre forward and gave him a friendly punch in the chest, causing the Croat to beam from ear to ear. Mandzukic was the main man for FCB on Friday evening.

On his first return to Wolfsburg since joining Munich last summer, the Bayern striker produced a moment of sublime skill with a 36th-minute overhead scissors kick to set his side on their way to a 2-0 victory. It was the sixth time this season the 26-year-old has handed his side the vital 1-0 lead.

"I like overhead kicks," said the man who is joint top of the Bundesliga scoring chart, "it's just fun." And he had a secret to reveal too: "I practised when we were playing football tennis this morning." Mandzu maintained good relations with his former Wolves team-mates, but all friendships are suspended during matches: aside from his goal on Friday, he fired a brace against Wolfsburg in Bayern's 3-0 victory in the reverse fixture.

The striker declined to celebrate his latest success against his former club. "The fans in Wolfsburg have always treated me well, so I restrained myself in terms of celebrating," he said after moving onto 15 league goals for the season.

Outstanding team player

In total, the Croatia international had scored 16 goals in 24 matches prior to his return to Wolfsburg, adding the 17th on his former stamping ground. It was also his sixth goal in four appearances since the winter break, as he continues to make a huge contribution to Bayern's record-breaking domestic season.

Heynckes is a big fan of the burly striker, not only due to his qualities as a finisher, but also because he is "an outstanding team player. Our pressing starts with him." Midfielder Toni Kroos was equally enthusiastic: "You can see every player is prepared to put in a shift when we defend. The team is functioning very well, from front to back."
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