Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes has admitted that he is baffled by the criticism that Mario Gomez has endured since the tail end of last season, arguing that "even Gerd Muller was not perfect".
The Germany international was one of the scapegoats for Bayern`s failure to put Chelsea away in the Champions League final in May - a game they went on to lose on penalties - while his place in die Mannschaft`s attack came under constant scrutiny during Euro 2012.
Heynckes feels that the lack of faith and confidence in Gomez is unwarranted, arguing that he is being judged by a set of standards that nobody could possibly live up to.
"He has an outstanding strike rate," the coach pointed out in an interview with Kicker. "He delivered in the European Championship. I cannot understand the discussion surrounding him.
"The perfect striker does not exist. Even Gerd Muller, the top scorer in our nation`s history, was not perfect."
Despite his disappointment at coming off second best to Borussia Dortmund in both the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal final last season, not to mention the Champions League heartbreak at the hands of the Blues, Heynckes is looking forward to the new campaign, revealing that he has been buoyed by his troops` application in pre-season training.
"It makes me optimistic when I see us working as we are, not only on the pitch, but even in the gym," the former Real Madrid boss enthused. "We will have a better team than last year."
Heynckes also revealed that he has already established a great rapport with the club`s new sporting director, Matthias Sammer.
"It is outstanding," he declared. "We are on the same wavelength. It is great fun working with Matthias."
Legendary Germany sweeper Sammer succeeded Christian Nerlinger in the position earlier in July.