The “will he or won’t he” saga surrounding the future of Jupp Heynckes appears to be drawing to a conclusion for Bayern Munich fans. Per an interview conducted with Christian Falk of SportBild, Heynckes is ready to officially retire after the 2017-2018 season.
I took over because Bayern were in a difficult situation and couldn’t hire a coach they felt confident about at such short notice. Therefore, I said I would do it until the end of the season. That’s a binding agreement, and I always believe in abiding by clear terms. When I took over, people rightly wondered whether a 72-year-old could coach a Bundesliga team. I turn 73 this summer, and you never know how much time you have left. I never planned on coaching again. Life consists of more than just work.
Heynckes has overseen an improbable and dynamic turnaround this season since taking over for Carlo Ancelotti. A roster that was scuffling to find an identity has had its confidence rejuvenated and its play has been world class during Heynckes’ fourth reign at the club.
With Uli Honess leading the charge, it has been widely reported that the Bayern management team, would love at least one more year of Heynckes at the helm. Despite the publicized affection, Heynckes is content to move on.
I know Uli inside and out. That won’t spoil our relationship, but, for example, I didn’t think the fan vote [for Heynckes to stay coach] was a good idea at the time. But that’s Uli Hoeness. At the podium at a fan club, he’ll get emotional. He is also emotional on the podium at the fan club. Nobody could have foreseen when I started that we would go on a run like this. I know how competitive and ambitious Uli is. So he had big dreams then. But not every dream becomes reality.
Heynckes also feels like the club’s strategy of seeking out a German coach is the correct move for the future of Bayern.
Here [at Bayern Munich] it used to be about getting international coaches, who had already won the Champions League or had at least been champions with clubs like Barça. Now the discussion revolves around German coaches, and I think that’s good: the club knows what it wants. [The club] has learned from experience that the German language is really very hard for foreign coaches to learn. The [club’s] identity will also be maintained better by a German-speaking coach. The club bosses have now accepted this realization. Because even if you speak English with a player, you never past the surface and really reach people. You can’t do that through interpreter booths either, which once existed here under Jürgen Klinsmann, when I jumped in as interim coach.
Glowing praise for Tuchel
With the focus on a German coach in hand, Heynckes gave his opinion on the pool of his replacements, which could include former Borussia Dortmund headman Thomas Tuchel, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Niko Kovac, and RB Leipzig’s Ralph Hassenhüttl. Heynckes did not address more experienced candidates like Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp or German national team coach Joacim Löw, which may be an indication that the contractual hurdles for both men have taken them out of the running to succeed the 72-year old.
I think Thomas Tuchel has the quality to coach a club like Bayern Munich. I rate Thomas Tuchel. He has worked his way up to the top uninterrupted from the youth teams at Mainz. That is the stairway to success that you must take: learning the right way to approach, to manage people. Under Tuchel, Borussia Dortmund played excellent football with a good system. All the modern elements that belong to soccer today were there. Tuchel finished as runner-up, won the DFB Pokal, and had Dortmund playing attractive football. I had fun watching BVB. That’s why I respect and rate him as a very good trainer.
Regarding the stories about Tuchel’s in difficulty in dealing with Dortmund management and players, Heynckes dismissed having any major concerns; instead referring back to his own experience as a young coach.
Ha, I’ve had everything written about me, too. Young coaches make mistakes. My God, it happens. Of course, further down the line, Thomas will view this or that differently. But these things are minor. What matters is this: since Tuchel left Dortmund, the club hasn’t been playing such great football anymore.
Heynckes had undoubtedly earned the right to leave on his own terms and enjoy his retirement. His tremendous impact this season on the squad, however, will leave a void for whoever is the next manager. As it has been said, it’s always tough to be “The Man after The Man.”