Before Germany's UEFA Euro qualifier against the Republic of Ireland, former Bayern Munich academy product Emre Can spoke about retired manager Jupp Heynckes and his reason for leaving the Rekordmeister in an interview with Sport1.
Can made his first-team debut with Bayern during their treble season in 2012/13, and Heynckes was the manager who gave that to him. Heynckes gave Can three starts at the beginning of the season in cup competitions and brought him back into the side at the end of it when Bayern had the Bundesliga wrapped up.
"He told me that I should always give 100 percent, and as a young player I should hold nothing back," said Can. "He criticized me everyday in training, but I heard he held me in high regard. He criticized me because he backed me and wanted to always promote me."
Can left Bayern the same year Heynckes did, joining Bayer Leverkusen a year later on a €5 million transfer. Bayern held a €5.5 million buyback clause after two seasons, but Liverpool activated his €12 million buyout clause after just one, and poached him from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2014.
"I had a great time in Leverkusen, and it was in any case the right decision to go there from Bayern because I would have hardly played in Munich," Can said. "With all due respect for Leverkusen, but Liverpool is easily even a step higher."
Because of his prompt departure from the club in 2013, he only got a taste of current Bayern manager Pep Guardiola. The only experience he had with the Catalan manager was in the preseason before he made his move to Bayer Leverkusen.
"I only experienced him in the preseason, but it was nice," said Can. "He lives for football."