Heynckes at ease with pre-final pressure
A smiling Jupp Heynckes played down talk of pre-match nerves ahead of his penultimate assignment as Bayern Munich manager in Saturday's all-German Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund.
- Published: 25/05/2013 at 01:49 AM
- Newspaper section: news
Bayern Munich's Head Coach Jupp Heynckes looks on during a training session at Wembley Stadium in London on May 24, 2013. A smiling Heynckes played down talk of pre-match nerves ahead of his penultimate assignment as Bayern Munich manager in Saturday's all-German Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund.
The 68-year-old will be succeeded by Pep Guardiola at the end of the season and, having announced his retirement, is hoping to sign off with an unprecedented treble of Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League titles.
The Bavarian giants have already secured the league crown with a record 25-point winning margin and will face Stuttgart in the German Cup final on June 1.
Bayern are desperate to erase the pain of their Champions League final defeats in 2010 and 2012 but Heynckes, who won the trophy with Real Madrid in 1998, says he is not concerned by the level of expectation.
"I'm sure I'll be able to sleep soundly," he said during Friday's pre-game press conference at Wembley.
"The match tomorrow has a different importance to a Bundesliga game or a German Cup game, but it's a football match, with 11 players on each side.
"Both teams are German and a German team will win. That's what I'll think about in bed tonight. I have nothing to worry about."
He added: "Last Saturday, the game against Borussia Moenchengladbach was my last Bundesliga match as a coach and tomorrow will probably be my last opportunity to hold one of these trophies with my own hands.
"Tomorrow is a special game for Bayern. We have a generation of players who are a bit older -- 28, 29, 30 -- and for those players, it would be the crowning glory of their careers.
"For me as well, of course, but I'm a bit more laid-back because I've experienced this before with Real Madrid. For Munich, it's a really important match, but for me, it's just another match."
Heynckes could become only the fourth coach to lift the European Cup with two clubs, after Ernst Happel, Ottmar Hitzfeld, who won with both Bayern and Dortmund, and Jose Mourinho.
Heynckes's opposite number, Juergen Klopp, is a relative novice on the continental scene but the Bayern manager says he admires the high-octane style of football that the 45-year-old has introduced at Dortmund.
"In recent years, Borussia Dortmund have been playing at a high level," he said. "The team's been advancing and creating their own kind of play.
"Both coaches play a very modern game and the collective approach is the focus for both teams, but we both have great individuals as well.
"On the pitch, I think it'll be intense, that's obvious. You expect that in a Champions League final. There'll be a quick pace, lots of one-on-one challenges, a lot of passing and both teams will be working hard to win."
Wembley hosts the final for the second time in three seasons, having been the scene for Barcelona's 3-1 triumph over Manchester United in 2011.
The venue for Bayern's agonising penalty shoot-out loss to Chelsea last season was their own Allianz Arena and Heynckes hopes his players will enjoy better luck at the home of English football.
"Of course it's a place with real tradition in English football, international football and European football," he said.
"And I think that's a particular incentive for the players, to be playing in such a venerable location for a Champions League final.
"We will have two different fan groups here from Germany tomorrow, which very rarely happens, and I think the atmosphere will be unique.
"We hope Wembley will turn out to be a better venue for us (than Munich). Maybe another city will bring us luck.
"Last year in the Allianz Arena, our own stadium, we were the better team and perhaps the football gods will be on our side tomorrow."
About the author
- Writer: AFP
- Position: News agency