Big shoes to fill at Bayern after Jupp Heynckes' Wembley triumph

Guardiola has his work cut out for him taking over Munich club on verge of treble after hoisting European Cup for first time since 2001

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 3:40am


Follow that, Pep. Jupp Heynckes is leaving Bayern Munich having set the bar for Pep Guardiola as high as the Wembley Stadium arch.

In England's national stadium, on the penultimate step of Heynckes' farewell tour, the coach delivered Bayern's fifth European Cup with a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

We didn't resign ourselves to our fate. No, we upped the ante and tried even harder. You have seen the result
Jupp Heynckes

That comes after the Bundesliga trophy was already collected in a record-breaking league season, and Heynckes can sign out this Saturday by completing the treble in the German Cup final before stepping down.

"FC Bayern will have to prove they can continue to achieve these things but it is quite possible ... that a new era might have begun under the aegis of Bayern Munich," Heynckes said.

An era of dominance, perhaps, to match the Bayern team that won a hat-trick of European Cups from 1974 to 1976.

Success in the first all-German Champions League final came a year after the tearful defeat on home soil by Chelsea.

On a night of redemption, Arjen Robben, who missed a penalty in extra time in last year's game, pounced with the winner in the 89th minute in London.

"You don't want the stamp of a loser," Robben said.

And it was Heynckes who picked up Bayern from its lowest ebb last May.

"We didn't resign ourselves to our fate," Heynckes said. "No, we upped the ante and tried even harder. You have seen the result."

Although Bayern's players were overwhelmed for much of the first half, they imposed their authority on their tiring rivals after the break.

After Ilkay Gundogan's penalty kick cancelled out Mario Mandzukic's opener on the hour for Bayern, the energy in Heynckes' side proved decisive as Robben ensured the European Cup would be returning to Bavaria for the first time since 2001.

"We have been changing things, improving things, adapting things," Heynckes said. "We have team spirit, an ability to work together, which I have never experienced in the championship before, because we have 22, 23 top-class professionals ... all of whom played their weight.

"Not one of them fell by the wayside. When you have such high-calibre players that's pretty incredible. That's the hallmark of our success: the ability to work together - the collective."

Heynckes won't be part of it for much longer. He leaves under blurred circumstances, having distanced himself from the club's claims he planned to retire when Guardiola's services were secured in January for next season.

But Heynckes said he had no regrets about handing over the reins, insisting he had planned to stay just one more season after the Chelsea setback last May.

Guardiola is ending a one-year sabbatical from football after turning Barcelona into the dominant team in Europe. Bayern shattered Barcelona's aura of invincibility, however, beating the Spanish team 7-0 on aggregate in the Champions League semi-finals.

And Heynckes sent out the message to Guardiola that the club is primed for further success.

"My successor will of course be able to take over a perfectly functioning team," Heynckes said. "We know Mario Goetze will be joining us and I don't think [striker Robert] Lewandowski will be hanging about too much either [at Dortmund]."

Heynckes pointed to how the investment before the season in several players - including defenders Dante and Javi Martinez and striker Mario Mandzukic - had paid off.

"The players have been a bulls-eye success," said the 68-year-old German, who never mentioned his Spanish successor by name despite repeated questions referring to him after the final. But he was clear in outlining the challenge facing Guardiola at Bayern. "You have to lead a team, a group, and you have to be very sensitive, very tactful with very high-calibre footballers," Heynckes said. "Today with the environment, the media, the expectations, it is incredibly difficult."

Associated Press