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Germany coach Joachim Loew was never in the running to replace Bayern Munich's Louis van Gaal, the club said on Thursday, after Loew signed a contract to take the national team to the 2014 World Cup.

"Loew was never a candidate. I congratulate him and the German federation on the extension of his contract," Bayern's director of sport Christian Nerlinger told bi-weekly football magazine Kicker.

Loew, 51, Germany coach since 2006, had a contract until just after the Euro 2012 tournament, to be held in the Ukraine and Poland, but after reports he wanted to stay on until 2014, the DFB moved quickly to sign him up.

The German champions, on the other hand, are on the look-out for another coach after saying they would part company with van Gaal at the end of the season, following a string of disappointing results.

Nerlinger refused to confirm persistent reports that Bayern were interested in former coach Jupp Heynckes, whose contract at Bayer Leverkusen expires at the end of the season.

"We will recruit a coach who is suitable for the club and who will respect its philosophy," Nerlinger said.

He also said that the club would "strengthen its defence" after a bitter 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Inter Milan on Tuesday saw them crash out of this season's Champions League in the last 16.

"We have to do something at the back, because it's clear we are not going to win any titles unless we have a stable defence," he said.

Bayern find themselves well off the pace in the Bundesliga, 16 points behind runaway leaders Borussia Dortmund and two points outside the Champions League qualification places.

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