Pep Guardiola hails Mario Mandzukic

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has praised Mario Mandzukic by claiming “there is no one better in the air in the world” than the striker.

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Mandzukic, 27, came off the bench with Bayern 1-0 down to Hertha Berlin on Saturday and scored twice with his head as the European champions claimed a 3-2 victory.

The Croatia international has now scored seven goals in his last ten Bundesliga games, and Guardiola was delighted with his player's performance.

“In the box, there is no one better in the air in the world. When we get the ball there he is very, very strong,” he said of Mandzukic, who had claimed that Guardiola’s style of football does not suit his game.

The former Wolfsburg player, though, has featured in every Bundesliga game this season.

“If you need to use the sledgehammer, then you need lads like him,” Bayern president Uli Hoeness told kicker.

Hoeness added that it would be a big mistake to think “you can do without such players”.

Mandzukic has now scored 42 goals in 90 Bundesliga games, with 20 of those coming via his head.

In the entire history of the Bundesliga, only Jan Koller has been more efficient in the air, scoring 30 of his 61 goals for Borussia Dortmund and Nurnberg with his head.