Bayern Munich fans all around the world probably covered their mouths in wonder when they saw the news that Hansi Flick would be chatting with his legendary predecessor Jupp Heynckes through a video interview on kicker. The masterminds behind Bayern’s two trebles, both Flick and Heynckes have written pages and pages of history with the club, so it was probably natural that the two would get to speak in public together at some point.
As per kicker, the conversation was apparently very lively, with lots of laughs between the two gentlemen. Flick himself confirmed that he is in regular contact with Heynckes, “even if Jupp Heynckes would not like to hear publicly that we talk on the phone.”
The interview kicked off with Heynckes praising his former pupil, who played under his tutelage between 1989 and 1990. “No coach in the history of football has had so much success in one year,” he said. Indeed, treble winning coaches are rare enough in football as it is, let alone one that has won one in just ten months.
Flick thanked his mentor for the praise, but he also brought up the fact that he is already 55 years old, so “I couldn’t wait 34 years (to win the treble),” which is how long Jupp had to wait for his.
As different as their treble timeframes are, Hansi and Jupp have a lot in common as well. For one, they share a “psychological approach” when it comes to coaching. “It’s not just the footballing and physical dimension, the soul is important too,” said Heynckes, meaning that it is just as important to connect to the players on an emotional level as it is to set them up in a formation and put them on the field. He went on to say that Flick “has a natural gift with his empathy and ability to communicate.”
Indeed, there have been rarely any, if any, news of player/manager altercations when Jupp was in charge of Bayern, and Flick’s Bayern is proving the same, with the players vocally supporting and praising their manager when they have the chance. Such connections lead to success, as has been proven by the five trophies that Hansi has won in his first year at Bayern.
Yet after such success, motivation can fall in a team. Flick, however, does not see a problem with his men, even those who have won two trebles under both him and Heynckes. Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez are all “mentality monsters” as put by Flick. Takes one to know one, right?
Flick used an example from another sport to describe these individuals. “Lewis Hamilton is world champion year-after-year; he wants to win every race. That is what makes champions: they keep going their way,” he said. “There also is no contentment with us. Everyone of us goes this way, in every training session and game.” Hansi himself probably knows best about this mentality, considering he was seen throwing a water bottle in frustration when his team was destroying poor Schalke 04 by eight goals to nil.
Likewise, success is a must at FC Bayern, and both coaches know that. “I know what’d go on here if you lost two games. That’s why it’s best to win at Bayern,” said Flick. Heynckes agreed, reminiscing back to the year many wish had never happened — 2012. “We were second three times, including the low point in ‘Finale Dahoam.’ Normally, no Bayern coach survives that,” he said.
So what kept Jupp around after that tragedy, and what kept Hansi around after losing two games in a row last year? Well, the answer most likely lies in the aforementioned connection and mentality that both coaches have. Although the team may have tasted failure, the spirit that the coaches had instilled in the team was still evident, and as a result of holding off on premature judgement, both Heynckes and Flick delivered a continental treble apiece.
For Jupp, his tenure at Bayern is long over, after many honors won and trophies hoisted. Hansi’s time at Bayern, meanwhile, is just getting started. “I wouldn’t have anything against it (staying in Munich) if this successful way continues,” he said. “I like Munich very much.” Well, Munich likes Hansi very much too, and so does Jupp. Stay at FC Bayern, he advised his apprentice, as it doesn’t get much better than this.
Here’s hoping that Hansi enjoys many more successes at FC Bayern, and that Jupp enjoys a blissful retirement!