Champions League

Heynckes brings treble spirit to resurgent Bayern

2018-02-19 09:54
Jupp Heynckes (AP)

Berlin - Bayern Munich host Besiktas in the last 16, first leg of the Champions League riding a 13-match winning streak under Jupp Heynckes, the architect behind the revival of his 2013 treble-winning heroes.

Since Heynckes replaced Carlo Ancelotti as head coach at the start of October, Bayern have won 22 of 23 matches going into Tuesday's clash at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Bayern were five points adrift of then-leaders Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga when the 72-year-old Heynckes returned for his fourth stint at the club.

A 3-0 thrashing at Paris Saint-Germain in late September was Ancelotti's final game before Bayern turned to Heynckes to fix the leaks.

It was a gamble.

Tending the garden and walking his dog Cando had been Heynckes's main tasks since steering Bayern to a treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles five years ago.

"My wife and my daughter said I should do it," said Heynckes when Bayern came calling again.

"My dog also barked twice, so that meant I should do it."

Training started an hour earlier, sessions were tougher and discipline was tightened under Heynckes.

Thomas Mueller, a player Ancelotti never figured out where best to position, was moved in from the wing and deployed to roam just behind striker Robert Lewandowski.

Javi Martinez was pushed forward from centre-back into defensive midfield, where he played in the 2013 campaign, and the impact was instant.

Fine tuning

Bayern won 5-0 at Freiburg in Heynckes's first game back.

"No one could have known what four years away from football had done to Jupp," said Martinez.

"Now I know: he's stayed the same. He still has his personality - he always knows exactly when to tighten the reins."

Bayern were back in business and won their next nine games on the trot.

A 2-1 defeat at Borussia Moenchengladbach in November remains their only reverse following Heynckes's return.

They reached the German Cup semi-finals the hard way after winning at RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund in the early rounds.

Then in December, the humiliating defeat in Paris was avenged when Bayern beat PSG 3-1 in Munich - although it wasn't enough to prevent them finishing second in their Champions League group.

The Bavarians have also regained their unyielding grip on first place in Germany, with Saturday's 2-1 come-from-behind win at Wolfsburg leaving them 19 points clear at the summit.

Resting several stars, Bayern fell behind after eight minutes, but their drive and determination was rewarded as Lewandowski came off the bench to net a last-gasp penalty for his 20th league goal this season.

"This will to win matches, even if it's not so exciting at the top (of the table), just makes it fun," said Bayern captain Mueller. "This team is simply awesome."

Feel-good factor

Just like Mueller and Martinez, the other leading protagonists from the great 2012-13 side credit Heynckes for the club's rejuvenation.

Robben helped create both goals at Wolfsburg, whipping in a cross for Sandro Wagner and then winning the penalty which Lewandowski converted.

"You could see the turnaround from the first day," said Robben, who scored the winning goal in the 2013 Champions League final.

Franck Ribery's recovery from a knee injury has also helped, with the Frenchman on target in wins over Bayer Leverkusen and Mainz since the turn of the year.

"We're playing as a team again - with Jupp's return, a good feeling and the faith came flooding back," Ribery said in January.

It's not just the holdovers from the previous Heynckes era who have profited.

Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez has blossomed under Heynckes, a fluent Spanish speaker and the man who led Real Madrid to Champions League glory in 1998.

"This team won't let up, regardless of what competition it is," Heynckes warned.

But whether he is in charge beyond the end of this season remains doubtful, as Heynckes insists he will walk away despite efforts to persuade him to stay.

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Club Brugge v Monaco, Jan Breydelstadion 18:55
PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Internazionale, Camp Nou 21:00
PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool, Stadion Rajko Mitic 19:55
Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Napoli v PSG, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 07 November 2018
Valencia v Young Boys, Estadio de Mestalla 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Roma, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Manchester United, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v AEK Athens, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid, Doosan Arena 22:00
Benfica v Ajax, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Hoffenheim, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
AEK Athens v Ajax, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Viktoria Plzen, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Valencia, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v Benfica, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v Young Boys, Old Trafford 22:00
Roma v Real Madrid, Stadio Olimpico 22:00
Hoffenheim v Shakhtar Donetsk, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Atletico Madrid v Monaco, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 19:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Galatasaray, RZD Arena 19:55
Porto v Schalke 04, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
PSG v Liverpool, Parc des Princes 22:00
PSV v Barcelona, Philips Stadion 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge, Signal-Iduna-Park 22:00
Napoli v Crvena Zvezda, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Internazionale, Wembley Stadium 22:00
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