Jupp Heynckes must be the most unappreciated manager in European football – ever. Why? Well, you may well ask. In answer I would post this. Has there ever been a manager that having delivered the European Cup – or Champions’ League as it is known in its modern guise, and then been relieved of his post? Truth be told, I’m not sure if there’s been another one as unfortunate as Heynckes to have experienced that fate. I’m pretty sure however that no-one, other than the German has gone through it twice!
Way back in 1997, spookily when Dortmunds were landing europe’s elite trophy, Ral Madrid, having failed to land their prime choice of Ottmar Hitzfeld, instead went for compatriot Heynckes. This was no ‘knee jerk’ appointment however., in 1995 Heynckes had been appointed as manager of Tenerife, and ahad taken the unfashionable Canary Islands club to UEFA Cup qualification, only losing out to Schalke in the semi-final. In his second season there, he guided them to a creditable tenth position in La Liga. This was no ‘one season wonder’ performance either. Three years previously, he had similar success with Basque outfit Athletic Bilbao. Despite the club’s squad acquisition policy, in his second season in Bilbao, he had taken them to fifth in La Liga and UEFA Cup qualification again. Heynckes was thus no novice to the Spanish game.
His tenure at the Bernabeu was however destined to be brief. He was deposed by the short staying Jose Antonio Camacho, and then a few weeks later by the chosen successor Guus Hiddink. In that time however, though not wildly successful domestically, Heynckes delivered the holy grail of pot with the big ears. Such success however did not save Henckes from the chop. It was a very cruel cut indeed.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, history has no repeated itself, but with a little more vigour apparently. The German has guided Bayern not only to the the Bundesliga title by a record 25 points, secured the Champions’ League trophy with an outstanding series of displays, but also stands poised on the verge of a domestic treble pending a German cup final date with Stuttgart. Whilst all the plaudits are dult given to the success of the manager, out in the wings, surely a little embarrassed sits the coach of coaches and sage of Catalunya, Pep Guardiola. Now, the hierarchy at Bayern will, when they appointed Guardiola to take up the reins at the expiry of Heyncke’s contract, have had no idea just what a season was in store for the club. They must- or at least should – now be a little shamefaced that thet have let Henckes go after such a season, but hey, nobody said it was going to be fair did they?
I guess for Henckes, very little needs to be said. He’s done all of his talking on thep itch. Trophies delivered. Job done. Hey, Pep. Follow that!