He has been hailed as the savior of the club, jumping in to take over the coaching duties at a struggling — by their standards — FC Bayern Munich, when they were forced to part ways with Carlo Ancelotti. If it was up to the big bosses at the club — aka Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge — Jupp Heynckes would stay another season until they can find a more permanent solution, but they should probably keep looking for a Plan B option come this summer.
Will he stay or will he go?
This job, the way I and my colleagues practice it, you need incredible self-discipline and endurance. But I am turning 73 this summer. You don’t know how much time this life still has for you.
That doesn’t sound like someone who is ready to sign an extension anytime soon. Let’s file this one under “Ask again later!”
So, why did he accept the interim position, if he had those concerns?
If I had not felt that I could still do this work with this much energy, I would have never accepted it. When I started, I was in better shape than now, because I had more time for my exercise and my walks with Cando [his beloved German Shepherd].
It all seems to come down to how Heynckes will feel at the end of the season. Will he be worn down from the pressure of coaching one of the biggest clubs in the world, or will he feel rejuvenated after experiencing success again in Munich? Can we maybe chip in and have someone bring Cando to him?
Will his contract situation be a distraction?
Does he have any concerns that his impending departure will distract the team from the tasks at hand, specifically recapturing the Champions League trophy, after last lifting it in 2013?
No, certainly not. My players won’t let themselves be influenced by it. In 2013, the situation was the same.
Was that a promise? That sounded like a promise to me! Start making some space next to those other five big-eared trophies, Bayern Erlebniswelt people!
Is he happy with his roster?
How could he not be, right? He has possibly the most star-studded ensemble of players to ever wear Bayern red, with almost the entire team composed of current or former national team players. That should be enough, no?
Well, there is one player Jupp would love to have, someone he would give everything —including “his last shirt” as the German saying goes — to coach at Bayern: Kevin De Bruyne.
At this position [central midfield], you need such a player. De Bruyne is currently clearly the most outstanding player in Europe.
Now you’re just being greedy, Jupp.
Praise for his players, too
Of course, he wasn’t stingy with his praise for his own players, both young and old. About his aging but age-defying offensive juggernaut, Robbery, he said “Arjen [Robben] is an absolute professional, Franck [Ribery] is a passionate street baller.”, doubling down on his favorite Frenchman, noting “How Franck gets himself to an optimal fitness level — fantastic!”
He didn’t forget his youngsters. Kingsley Coman “can become an extraordinary player ... Since I’ve been here, he has rocketed up.” As far as the German shooting star of the season, Joshua Kimmich, the praise had a tad of constructive criticism mixed in. He “is an enormous talent, but he has to learn to pick his spots for his excursions forward, in order to have strength left for the defense.”
Listen to the man, Joshua, he knows what he’s talking about.
The modern game
Last, but not least, Heynckes gave his thoughts on how the game has changed since the last time he was in charge, four long years ago.
The whole new vocabulary doesn’t make soccer better, always playing a high line, always pressing and going pedal to the metal for 90 minutes, that’s not enough. With the three-fold burden [league, domestic cup, European cup], your batteries will be empty in January. You have to be flexible about the whole thing, be economical working against the ball, pressing at the right moment, and many other things.
So, exactly how you did it in 2013? I’m down with that.
Many accused Jupp of “stealing” Jürgen Klopp’s high-press system in his run up to the historic triple, but they all miss the reason it was so successful: he had trained his team to be selective about when to press, thereby not running out of steam when it came down to the games that really counted.
Would anyone here complain about a repeat?