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'Imposing' Bundesliga milestone for Heynckes

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'Imposing' Bundesliga milestone for Heynckes

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:30 pm

It all began on 14 August 1965, the day of the Beatles' last appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, when Jane Fonda married director Roger Vadim in Las Vegas, and Bayern took on 1860 Munich in the Bundesliga as a newly-promoted club. Elsewhere, there was another significant debut, as a 20-year-old by the name of Jupp Heynckes made his maiden top-flight appearance for Borussia Mönchengladbach in a 1-1 draw away to Borussia Neunkirchen.

A further 386 appearances as a player for Gladbach and Hannover were still to come, followed by no fewer than 630 games as head coach of Borussia Mönchengladbach, Eintracht Frankfurt, Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen and last but not least FC Bayern. Nearly 48 years later, the 67-year-old Heynckes recorded his 631st match as head coach in FCB's home meeting with Werder Bremen. The game saw the veteran supremo clock up the remarkable total of 1,000 Bundesliga matches.

"It's an imposing total," commented Heynckes, whose career top-flight total is considerably greater due to spells in Spain and Portugal. In the Bundesliga, he lags only Otto Rehhagel, the first individual to pass the 1,000 barrier with 1,033 matches, 201 as a player and 832 as a coach.

"It shows you how the years have flown by," continued Heynckes, "as a player, I could never have dreamed of it. It's a long history and I could tell you all kinds of tales. There's enough material to write not just one book but several - although I'm not going to do that."

Heynckes is a man totally immersed in the present, which currently means completing as successful a season as possible with Munich. His team are runaway leaders of the Bundesliga, and earned rave notices around Europe this week with a scintillating 3-1 victory away to Arsenal in the Champions League.

"We're playing exceptional football at the very highest levels of the European game," the veteran enthused. Even on the final lap of a long and illustrious career, 'Don Jupp' hardly looks like a man about to enter retirement. He is almost 68, but the former world-class striker continues to bristle with passion and enthusiasm.

Prior to handing on the Bayern hot seat to Pep Guardiola in the summer, the Bundesliga's most experienced coach is aiming to leave behind a glorious legacy. "I was and will always remain very ambitious," declared the man who won almost everything there is to win as a player: the World Cup, European championship, UEFA Cup, and the German league and cup. He also twice finished top scorer in the Bundesliga.

"There were great moments and great matches," Heynckes recalled, "but I started out earning 160 marks a month as a freshman pro in Mönchengladbach." Winning the Bundesliga for the first time in 1971 as a player remains "the most emotional moment" in his career. "It was wonderful," he said.

He has hardly been less successful as a coach. His greatest triumph came as Real Madrid boss in 1998 when the Spaniards won the Champions League. He has twice guided FCB to the German title, although one winner's medal is missing from his collection as a coach, the DFB Cup. That omission could come a step closer to being remedied next Wednesday when Bayern have the chance to knock holders Borussia Dortmund out of this year's competition at the quarter-final stage.

Franck Ribéry and Co are determined to lay on the perfect send-off for their boss. Heynckes is no less enthusiastic about the mission. "You go to the limit every day at Bayern," he said, "and that costs a great deal of effort." Regardless of how many trophies Heynckes harvests in the next three months, he is certain of one thing: "I'll look back on a very successful and wonderful period in my life."
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