Bundesliga champions in early April with a 20-point lead and five games to spare – it’s all been easy peasy for Bayern Munich, right? No, in fact – at least not until Jupp Heynckes took over as head coach. So how exactly did the 72-year-old turn the club’s fortunes around?
After all, when he took over at the start of October, Bayern were five points behind Borussia Dortmund in the domestic standings and had just been outclassed by Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League group stage. bundesliga.com takes a look at how the silver-haired supremo steadied the ship.
- MAN MANAGEMENT
With Bayern flailing back in September, several of the club’s senior players voiced their displeasure as the rift grew between Carlo Ancelotti and the team. “Obviously my qualities are not entirely wanted,” said Thomas Müller after being dropped to the bench. “I don’t know what the coach expects of me.”
There are no such outbursts under Heynckes, who has the dressing room firmly on his side. “I’m a down-to-earth person,” Heynckes said in an interview with German newspaper TZ. “My biggest strength is my authenticity. [The players] know that I’m a coach who makes decisions based on performances and that I make an effort to keep everyone as happy as possible.”
Not only has Müller been restored to the starting XI, Heynckes has also tickled out the best in playmaker James Rodriguez, who now has six goals and 10 assists in the Bundesliga this season. The Colombian has admitted the fact that Heynckes speaks fluent Spanish has helped him flourish.
While Heynckes may also come across as a doting grandfather-figure, he is, in fact, a strict disciplinarian. Upon his arrival for a fourth spell as Bayern boss, he imposed a series of rules designed to foster togetherness and team spirit.
These include the players having to tidy up the changing room themselves, obligatory communal meal times, a ban on mobile phones at the meal table and in the gym, strict adherence to punctuality and no cliques.
4️⃣ titles playing for Gladbach.
4️⃣ titles managing Bayern.
1️⃣ Bundesliga legend. pic.twitter.com/DJ0Ks4926P
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) April 7, 2018
You might expect world-class stars to reject such limitations as beneath them, but the opposite is true. “The discipline, the clear structure [Jupp] brings – they’re all things that are doing the lads the power of good,” revealed Mats Hummels.”When he came in, he spoke to everyone at length. It’s great for players if they know exactly what he does and doesn’t want to see.”
Heynckes confirmed there would be no big title celebrations after the Meisterschale was secured following the 4-1 win in Augsburg on Matchday 29, highlighting the fact that his side have important fixtures coming up in the Champions League and the DFB Cup. He also cancelled the championship parties during the unprecedented treble campaign in 2012/13 in his last spell at the helm – a success that gives an extra weight of authority to his decisions.
- TACTICAL TWEAKS
One of Heynckes’ smartest moves was to do very little in terms of the team’s tactics. Rather than making wholesale changes or introducing a revolutionary system, he kept things simple. Indeed, the biggest difference to his team, compared to the Ancelotti era, was to move Javi Martinez back into defensive midfield from centre-back.
“You have to put in a lot more legwork midfield compared to central defence, and he does it brilliantly,” said Heynckes of the 29-year-old, who was an essential component of the club’s treble-winning vintage. “Since he’s been playing in midfield we’ve improved our stability and the quality of our defensive work.”
He has also kept key players fresh by rotating his starting line-up. Veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery have been used sparingly, often saved for the big games, and have produced 10 goals and eight assists between them this term. Robert Lewandowski is now also afforded the occasional breather following the signing of Sandro Wagner in January.
All of which bodes well for the club as they look to add two more pieces of silverware to their collection before the season is out.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick
Hansi Flick awesome reign with the Bavarian giant is gradually winding down, as it’s looking likely that he may not further manage the Die Roten next season.
Bayern Munich’s quest to win the Champions League consecutively came to end on Tuesday night, via the UEFA’s away goal rules having lost the first leg at home to Paris Saint Germain in the quarter-finals despite being the better side at home.
The Bavarian giant will now focus on league duty and they’re no doubt the team in pole position to win the Bundesliga, as the 2020-21 campaign is gradually coasting home with fewer games left to be played. In that regard, there is a great need for Die Roten to start preparing for next season administration and coaching wise.
The friction relationship between Hansi Flick and the Sports Director has broken down to such as extent that the manager has decided to terminate his current contract.
Hansi Flick sent shock waves through German football on Saturday after a 3-2 win over Wolfburg which keeps the Bavarian in pole position to retain the league title. Hansi Flick issued a statement about his decision to exit when the current campaign draws to a close.
“I told the team today that I informed the club during the week, after the game in Paris, I would like to terminate my contract at the end of the season.
“It was important to me that the team learn this from me because there was already a lot of hallway rumours going around.
“We’ve done a great job together for almost two years. I’m absolutely impressed with this team, their quality and their attitude.”
He added: “I also want to thank the club that gave me the chance to manage this incredible team.
“This decision was not easy for me. I’m a fan of this club. Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge all were childhood idols for me.
“I’m eternally grateful to the club for the chance they gave me to become head coach here.”
It’s quite evident that a new manager would be appointed to pave way for a new rebuild of the team especially with the looming departure of David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez.
Two potential top managers that could succeed Hansi Flick, should he accept Die Mannschaft managerial position.
- Julien Nagelsmann – (RB Leipzig)
Nagelsmann has been rumoured as a possible replacement to succeed not one but many managers in Europe’s top-flight leagues whose future with their respective clubs are not guaranteed. This time around, the 33-year-old has been rumoured to be one of the possible potential managers to succeed Hansi Flick.
It could be argued that Nagelsmann is the tailor-made manager to take over the reins at the Allianz Arena, and there is no doubt RB Leipzig manager would certainly harbour the dream of managing one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Nagelsmann is presently focusing on the job at hand with RB Leipzig, plus the fact that he’s still under contract with his employers until the end of the 2022-23 season.
With RB Leipzig and Nagelsmann flying high in the Bundesliga in terms of team performances, with next season European football spot already secured, the club’s Executive Director Oliver Mintzlaff may consider letting him leave to join their rival.
However, it’s left to be seen how things would shape up at the end of the campaign.
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- Jurgen Klopp – (Liverpool)
The relationship the German tactician has achieved thus far with Liverpool started in 2015 when he joined the Kop from Borussia Dortmund, since then he has achieved quite an incredible success with the Reds winning their first league title after thirty years and a Champions League triumph.
Liverpool were eliminated early in both domestic cup competitions and failed to progress past the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and it’s quite impossible to say that the Kop will defend their title with their current epileptic form in the Premier League especially when it’s looking done and dusted that the cityzen would clinch the title.
Having used close to six years with Liverpool since he joined the Anfield side, this could be the perfect time for the former Borussia Dortmund manager to take up a new challenge. However, despite Liverpool’s unpalatable 2020-21 campaign, the German has often reiterated that he is in no way finished at Liverpool, despite been link to the Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft managerial position.
Given his incredible success with BVB, it’s quite evident that he would one day go on to manage either Die Roten or Die Mannschaft. Should Bayern secure the service of Klopp, he would certainly be the right and wise choice for the Bavarian giant.
At the end of the campaign, there would be a breath of fresh air in the Bavarian giant camp, with the new CEO Oliver Kahn taking the mantle of leadership from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. In that sense, it’s left to be seen if the incoming leader would sanction the appointment of a new manager or stick with Hansi Flick. Only time would tell.