Elber: Not Bayern's job to wait for others to close the gap
German giants will continue to dominate despite retirement of Lahm and Alonso, says ex-striker Elber
No Philipp Lahm, no Xabi Alonso, no problem.
Bayern Munich will start the new football season next month without two of their retired stalwarts, but their absence will not stop the Bavarian giants from dominating the German Bundesliga and Bayern should not feel sorry about it, says former Bayern striker Giovane Elber.
Carlo Ancelotti's all-conquering side have won the last five Bundesliga titles at a canter, raising concerns about the league's quality and entertainment value.
"We can't lean back and wait for the other clubs to close the gap, that's not our job," said Elber, who is in Singapore this week for the annual Allianz Junior Football Camp Asia.
"A big club like Bayern should always be thinking about three trophies.
"Our base is the Bundesliga, so we need to win that and the German Cup, but we are also always thinking about the Champions League."
The 44-year-old Brazilian knows what he is talking about.
After all, he had a fruitful seven seasons with Bayern, scoring 139 goals in 265 appearances and lifting 13 trophies, including the 2001 Champions League title.
However, Bayern have since won Europe's elite club competition just once more in 2013.
In the subsequent three seasons, they got to the semi-finals. Last term, they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Real Madrid.
Asked why Bayern have not been able to translate their domestic dominance to the European stage, Elber said that it is important to note the enormity of the task - taking on the creme de la creme of European football.
He said: "To win the trophy at that level, you have to be at the top of your game, and you can't make mistakes.
"We can say the referee made some dodgy decisions against Real Madrid last season, but we made mistakes, too. We had Javi Martinez sent off, while Arturo Vidal missed a penalty in the first leg.
"On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo was not in top form before the quarter-finals but scored five goals across two legs to win it for Real."
Despite the retirement of right back Lahm and midfielder Alonso, and with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery edging towards their mid-30s, Elber is confident that Bayern's team ethos and keen eye for talent will help them continue to be a force domestically and continentally.
He said: "Of course, it's very tough for a club to lose icons like Lahm and Alonso.
"But Bayern have their own team identity. We won the Champions League in 2001 not because we had better individuals, but we had the best team.
"I think Joshua Kimmich will do very well at right back or central midfield. He has had huge success with the national team, which will give him extra confidence. There's also the likes of Sebastian Rudy, another German international, so we have options.
"Robben is 33 and Ribery is 34, but I'm sure Bayern have their eye on the market for eventual replacements. Anyway, Robben had one of his best seasons last term.
"In any case, we still have Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman, so I'm not worried.
"We also have a successful coach in Carlo Ancelotti, who has proven he can work with young players and get the best out of them."
As a striker who has won topscorer awards in the Swiss and German leagues, Elber naturally has a soft spot for Bayern strikers such as Thomas Mueller, who failed to reach double figures in a Bundesliga season for the first time in five years last term.
But, even with rumours of Robert Lewandowski being unsettled at the Allianz Arena, Elber backed Mueller to rediscover his best form next season.
"If you are not in the right place mentally, your feet can get heavy, you are not hitting the shots on target, not scoring and it's a bad cycle," said the Brazilian.
"But Mueller has taken some time off to go on vacation and I believe he will be back focused and will start scoring for Bayern again."