MUNICH - Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has dismissed fears the unresolved question of who will replace him could affect the Bundesliga leaders in the second half of the season.
The 2013 triple winner - brought in again in October after the dismissal of Carlo Ancelotti - has said he will not continue beyond the present campaign.
But Heynckes told Kicker magazine in an interview published Monday the coaching issue would have no negative effect on the team.
"My players won't let themselves be influenced," he said.
"In 2013 the situation was exactly the same," he added in reference to the season Bayern won the league, cup and Champions League before Heynckes left and Pep Guardiola took over.
Bayern club bosses would like 72-year-old Heynckes to continue for another season, but the coach said he did not wish to discuss the issue any more. Asked if the next coach should be German or German-speaking, he said: "He just has to fit the club."
The contracts of stalwarts Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben also expire at the end of the season, with no indication from the club on what their futures hold.
"We have to see how they both present themselves in the second half of the season. If I am asked by the club I will give them my opinion," he said.
But Heynckes said age was not the key factor but "passion for the job" and praised both players for their commitment. "Arjen is an absolute professional and Frank a passionate street footballer," he said.
Bayern now have a 13-point lead at the top of the table as they seek a sixth successive Bundesliga title.
Winning the title again would be "a big success" after an indifferent start to the season and a change of coach, Heynckes said.
While Bayern fans might like to dream of another treble it "is something you cannot plan for and extremely difficult to achieve".
Heynckes, who won the Champions League with both Real Madrid and Bayern, said the Germans were not among the top favourites in this season's competition but one of an "extended group" of teams in contention.
"There are five English teams with Manchester City at the top, in addition Real Madrid and Barcelona and maybe Paris (Saint-Germain) to mention," he said.
Bayern's last-16 opponents Besiktas are also dangerous opponents, he said.
"It is a difficult draw, we have to be in very good form here," he said.
"We will be well prepared because I know exactly how very much you have to be careful in these games."