Although Bayern Munich’s title celebrations were slightly subdued due to their 4-1 defeat to Vfb Stuttgart, not enough can be said about the impact Jupp Heynckes had on the club, bringing Bayern back to life after a lackluster start to the season.
Bayern from shambles to champs
If we rewind all the way back to the beginning of October under Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern had already lost in the league to Hoffenheim and blown leads over both Hertha Berlin and Wolfsburg. To cap off the poor run, they were completely dismantled by Paris Saint-Germain in a 3-0 defeat at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League, prompting Ancelotti’s sacking. Since Heynckes took over, Bayern won 34 times in a total of 41 matches across competitions en route to the Bundesliga title, the semi-finals of the Champions League, and a berth in the DFB-Pokal final.
It was emotional moment for every Bayern fan to see Jupp walk onto the pitch at the Allianz Arena for the final time in Saturday’s loss to Stuttgart. Heynckes has one macht left next week in Berlin, but it’s been one hell of a ride for Bayern under Heynckes , and even he admitted in an exclusive interview (via Bundesliga.com) prior the the final match vs. Stuttgart that the club surpassed even his own expectations:
If you look at how Bayern played in October and how they played at the Santiago Bernabeu [in the Champions League vs. Real Madrid], they’re worlds apart.
The quick turnaround in form initiated by Heynckes at Bayern did not go unnoticed for long:
Bastian Schweinsteiger told me via WhatsApp he’s never seen anyone change as much as we’ve done since October. When I started I didn’t think of winning the championship title or advancing to the cup final or the Champions League semi-finals. First I considered how to approach the task, how to manage the training load. It was a difficult time.
Hitting their stride
Heynckes and his staff quickly laid out their philosophies and the expectations they had of the players upon their arrival. Heynckes used specific methods for getting his messages across. He referenced one point in time after one of the international breaks. Since the players were arriving back at Säbener Strasse at different times, he used the unique opportunity to speak with them individually:
We were in the international break, the players returned to the Säbener Strasse one by one, so I gave a total of three inaugural addresses in the fitness room [laughing]. I quoted Usain Bolt because I had just read a biography on him before I came to Munich. When he celebrated his biggest successes, he said something like: ‘Of course I’m blessed with exceptional talent, but I could have never achieved the big triumphs without my team.’ I wanted to tell my team: you won’t achieve anything in football without team spirit and team work. That’s why you can’t just buy a team to win the Champions League. They have to grow together.
Team spirit = Mia San Mia = Success:
With a winning record like Jupp’s, it’s hard to argue against any of his methods, regardless of where he draws his inspiration from. He encountered a difficult situation, completely reinvigorated a squad that was primarily comprised of Ancelotti’s signings, and secured a sixth consecutive title with five weeks to spare.
Heynckes, at 72 years of age, surprised even himself by how much he accomplished for the team during his nearly eight-month tenure. Now faced with the moment to say goodbye, Heynckes reflected,
I never planned these eight months, they were an additional chapter in my biography, albeit very exceptional. To take over a club like Bayern aged 72, turn everything upside down and return it to winning ways: I can’t tell you how emotional it’ll be for me.