Heynckes the mastermind of Bayern's brilliance

The veteran coach is on the brink of delivering the club an historic treble and must take credit for their resurgence this season

By Harsh Shah

It’s not a bad time to be a Bayern Munich fan. Fresh from a record-breaking Bundesliga season, the Bavarians sealed their second Champions League title (fifth European Cup) on Saturday and have the chance to complete their treble this week and make up for years of near misses.

And credit must be given to their coach, Jupp Heynckes, who has masterminded their campaign brilliantly.

Just 12 months ago, Munich were reeling. Bayern had somehow managed to finish second in all three competitions, letting a hefty lead slip in the league, losing 5-2 in the DFB-Pokal final and enduring an agonising defeat on penalties to Chelsea in the showpiece of Europe’s top competition.

And the backlash they faced was huge. Branded a team of chokers by the media, the Bavarians’ hegemony within Germany was challenged like never before. They had gone two years without a major trophy, lost in two Champions League finals in three years. So much for German efficiency.

Jupp for joy | Heynckes has led Bayern to something truly special

So, a long, drawn out summer followed and the club did everything they could to put things right in 2012-13. This time, they meant business. Heynckes’ first statement of intent for the season came when he signed Claudio Pizarro, Dante, Mario Mandzukic and Javi Martinez early on in the transfer window.

The quartet joined Xherdan Shaqiri, whose move to the Allianz Arena was confirmed midway through the previous campaign, and their squad, which was threadbare and had struggled to compete with their exertions on all three fronts, finally had some reinforcements.

ONE HORSE RACE | THE 2012-13 BUNDESLIGA

Of course, Bayern’s technical and scouting staff had a major say in finalising these deals, but it was the Borussia Monchengladbach legend who would approve each transfer.

All five players have been indispensable. Mandzukic proved to be a harder worker than Mario Gomez and soon displaced the Germany star from the starting XI and Shaqiri provided able cover for Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

Dante was a commanding presence at the back in the absence of Holger Badstuber through injury and Javi Martinez was arguably the last piece in Bayern’s midfield puzzle, complementing the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos all season, giving them the freedom to roam.

And lastly, Pizarro performed brilliantly when he came into the team, giving Gomez and Mandzukic time to rest and contributing 13 goals of his own despite starting many games from the bench.

When the season finally came around, they came flying out of the blocks. Within 10 minutes of the start of their DFL Supercup tie with Dortmund, Bayern were 2-0 up, cruising to an eventual 2-1 victory.

What followed was almost inevitable. They lost just two games in all competitions before Christmas, were Herbstmeister (winter champions) in record time and finished top of their Champions League group.

Since one year ago, we improved and improved. We modified so many details. I was stricter with the details”

Heynckes

January’s announcement that Pep Guardiola would take over in the summer could have derailed their season, but like on countless occasions in the past, Heynckes’ professionalism was at its highest, ensuring Bayern won every league game until May 4 – when they took a 1-1 draw from their trip to Dortmund.

And they were rewarded in early April. A 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt sealed their first title in three years with six games to spare. They finished with 91 points, 98 goals and just 18 conceded. Extraordinary stats.

Their momentum didn’t die down, though. They beat Juventus 4-0 over two legs and Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate to reach the Champions League final, comprehensively outplaying both teams and thoroughly deserving their victories.

And at Wembley, they capped their success with a 2-1 win over BVB. They had finally gone all the way and confirmed the long-awaited power-shift from Spain to Germany.

“Since one year ago, we improved and improved. We modified so many details. I was stricter with the details. I have to say, the players followed and there is harmony. You have to keep the players happy. Nobody wants to sit on the bench. Everyone wants to play,” Heynckes noted. It was all his making.

And so, in many ways, this has been the best season of Heynckes’ career. In his 50 years in football, he has won a host of trophies as both player and coach. He has carried himself with dignity in the face of adversity and he has the chance to end his time as a trainer in Germany in style when Bayern face Stuttgart in the DFB-Pokal final on Saturday.

Whether he decides to call it a day remains to be seen, but this has truly been his campaign. And in typical style, he is keeping us guessing. “Retire? No, you will learn about all that only after the cup final!”

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Lewandowski's future will soon be decided, says Klopp

The successful coach has insisted that Bayern have yet to table a bid for the striker and added that there will soon be clarity over the Pole’s future

Jurgen Klopp has stressed that Borussia Dortmund have not yet received an official offer from Bayern Munich for Robert Lewandowski, but expects the Poland international’s future to be resolved shortly.

One of the 24-year-old’s agents, Cezary Kucharski, claimed that Lewandowski will leave BVB for Bayern in the summer transfer window after his other representative, Maik Barthel, previously stated that the striker has already agreed terms with another side.

Nevertheless, Klopp has stressed that a transfer to Bayern is by no means a done deal yet.

“We have not received an official offer from Bayern Munich as of yet, so I still expect Robert to play for Dortmund next season,” Klopp was quoted as saying by Bild.

“We will make sure that all the speculation about his future ends in the next few days.

“I will not be angry with him regardless of what happens. I am looking at this professionally. We will see what happens. Everything’s possible.

“The funny thing is that everybody acts as if it is already a done deal. Jupp Heynckes said so, his agents say so, yet we have not received an offer… What is that all about really? Regardless of the outcome, this is not exactly a nice thing.”

Lewandowski’s contract with Dortmund runs until June 2014, but the prolific attacker is desperate to leave the club this summer.

Aside form Bayern, he has also been linked with clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, but the Bundesliga champions are in pole position to sign the attacker.

Cruyff: Reserve role drove Robben to success

A spell on the bench for the Netherlands winger has had a positive impact on his performances, says the former Barcelona boss

Johan Cruyff says Arjen Robben’s role as a reserve for much of the campaign was the perfect recipe for his late season success.

Cruyff believes the added rest and extra motivation were vital for the 29-year-old, who appeared in just 16 of Bayern’s 34 Bundesliga games this term.

“Although the setting and the footballing ability of Dortmund appeals to me greatly, the experience and the excellent organisation of Bayern Munich prevailed in London, of course thanks to a wonderful performance for Arjen Robben,” Cruyff wrote in his column in De Telegraaf.

“Four months ago I indicated that the reserve role he had at the time could well pay off in a positive way later.”

Robben has scored in five in his last seven games, including the Champions League-winning goal against Dortmund.

“First he received criticism Saturday evening for not finishing a couple of chances. Robben was involved in five of the eight chances which Bayern had. Then he did something right.

“It would also show later. Robben was a 100 per cent involved, culminating in the decisive goal that he scored in final minute.

“A nice mix of intuition, technology and natural desire [from Robben] led to Bayern’s two goals. It does not matter whether the ball rolls in hard or soft, as long as the goal counts.”

Former Dutch boss Bert van Marwijk was elated for Robben, saying it was his redemption for spurning a glorious chance in the World Cup final defeat to Spain in 2010 and other costly misses.

He said “It’s meant to be. You could see that losing those finals has played a major role for Arjen. It is a reminder for Arjen of that moment face to face with [Iker] Casillas.”

Muller: Ballon d'Or should go to a Bayern player

After winning the Bundesliga and the Champions League, the Bavarian forward is adamant the prestigious prize should be awarded to a Roten player this year

Thomas Muller is convinced that the next Ballon d’Or trophy should be lifted by a Bayern Munich player.

The Bavarians dominated this season’s Bundesliga winning it by 25 points and they also defeated rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the final of the Champions League on Saturday.

They now have the chance to secure a historic treble if they beat Stuttgart in the DFB-Pokal final in Berlin on June 1, which Muller believes is enough for a Roten player to merit the prestigious gong.

“Several of our players certainly would deserve it,” the 23-year-old told Sport Bild.

“Actually, a Bayern Munich player has to be voted for the Ballon d’Or next.”

The last four of the Fifa-awarded trophies have went to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

The last German to win the award was current Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer playing for Dortmund back in 1996.

Stuttgart need Bayern to have a bad day, says Labbadia

The Stuttgart boss has admitted that his side do not stand much chance of beating the Bavarians in the DFB-Pokal final unless their rivals play badly

Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia has admitted that his side need Bayern Munich to perform poorly in the DFB-Pokal final in order to stand a chance of victory.

The Swabians are considered clear underdogs against the European champions and the 47-year-old is convinced that his team are depending on a sub-par showing from Jupp Heynckes’ men.

“As things stand now, we have to reach our maximum and hope that Bayern don’t play at their highest level that day,” he told Kicker.

“That’s not the situation that I prefer. I would rather run ahead than try to keep up. I’d prefer for us to be favourites, that would mean we wouldn’t have any problems.

“It would be solely up to us to win.”

Labbadia went on to say that he hopes his side can challenge Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich’s hegemony in the Bundesliga next season.

“If we deliver top work in all areas and play a consistent season, we will see what is possible in the Bundesliga behind Bayern and Dortmund,” he concluded.

Bayern and Stuttgart face each other at 20:00CET on Sunday.