Heynckes hankers for more success

It was assumed in many quarters that Bayern Munich's treble-seeking coach Jupp Heynckes would slip quietly into retirement after his tenure with the team comes to an end in the summer. You might already have heard elsewhere in dispatches that the 67-year-old Heynckes is to be replaced by a certain Pep Guardiola in the summer.

After the massive media fanfare and collective back-slapping surrounding Bayern's appointment of Guardiola, it's clear that expectations will be heightened when the 42-year-old begins a 3-year contract in July. Victory in the UEFA Champions League is likely to be the minimum dividend expected from the club's investment. Bundesliga titles alone will not cut it for the club or, for that matter, the Catalan himself.

Where does that leave Heynckes? The outgoing Bayern coach can call on a vast wealth of experience, and celebrated his 1,000th Bundesliga outing in the Spring. This tally includes 369 outings as a potent striker with Borussia Moenchengladbach and Hanover 96, before his career was curtailed with knee problems.

Heynckes commenced his illustrious coaching career in 1979, and is arguably one of the most decorated and durable coaches in German footballing history. The recent romp to the Bundesliga title was Heynckes' third with the Reds, but a first for 23 years.

As his second spell at Bayern approaches a glorious summer finale, many wise sages in the media expected that he would pick up his pipe and slippers and ease into life as a pensioner. This assumption has clearly irked a revitalised Heynckes. Even his close friend Uli Hoeness (Bayern's president) was caught slightly unaware that it was Heynckes' intention to prolong his coaching career. Like his rampant team, last season's triple second-place trauma has provided an extra spark and motivation. Heynckes is showing in his daily business in Bavaria that there is a lot yet remaining in the tank.

Media speculation has already linked Heynckes with Schalke 04, a club he has managed before in 2003-04. He conveniently retains a family home on the Dutch border just 70 km away from the Gelsenkirchen-based club. Jose Mourinho is expected to leave Real Madrid in the summer too. Heynckes, a fluent Spanish speaker, lifted the Champions League with Real in 1998 before being unceremoniously dumped. Perhaps a second spell in the Spanish capital beckons for 'Don Jupp' as the former Real, Athletic Bilbao and Tenerife coach was affectionately known in Spain.

Reigning Champions League winners Chelsea still seem to be reeling somewhat from the disappointment of failing to lure Guardiola to Stamford Bridge. Interim coach Rafa Benitez will leave the club at the end of this season. Maybe the club's Russian owner Roman Abramovich will consider making Heynckes an offer that he cannot refuse? It is worth noting that no German has ever managed in England's elite division.

Heynckes does hold all the aces if he wants to continue. He is likely to start his next post as a German Double winner at the very least. And Bayern face Guardiola's ex-team Barcelona in a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final clash. On current form, it would be folly to dispute their treble-winning potential.


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