Carlo Ancelotti insists it is not imperative for Bayern Munich to be top of the Bundesliga by the mid-season break, but warned that surprise leaders RB Leipzig will be a rival for the rest of the campaign.
Bayern have dominated the Bundesliga over recent years and are aiming for a fifth consecutive title.
However, the Bavarians have not yet hit their full stride under Ancelotti, who took over as head coach in the close-season, and they find themselves in second place after 12 matches, three points adrift of Leipzig.
With just four league matches to play before the Bundesliga takes a month-long break, Ancelotti was asked if it would be a disappointment not to be top of the table heading into the new year.
"The important thing is to be at the top of the table at the end of the season and win the title," he told a news conference ahead of Friday's trip to Mainz.
"In my last season in Madrid, we won 22 games in a row from September to December, but in the end we were not champions."
Leipzig were only formed in 2009 and have enjoyed a meteoric rise through the German leagues.
And Ancelotti expects Ralph Hasenhuttl's men to last the pace in the title race.
He added: "Leipzig are a very good team and have started very well into the season. I'm sure they'll be a big opponent until the end of the season."