Talking with a Legend The Man Behind Bayern Munich's Success
Part 2: 'I Prefer the Way Things Have Turned Out Now'
SPIEGEL: Does a coach have to be familiar with the generational tastes of his players to be able to relate to them? The word is that you even listened to the music of Lady Gaga, which is hard to believe.
Heynckes: I've seen her performances, and even a professional football player could learn something from her: She knows exactly what she has to do to attain her objective. Ribéry's music only goes "bumm-bumm-bumm." It's not exactly my cup of tea, but I listen to it. It's my job to understand the various personalities on the team. I've never had a generational conflict with my players. I've stayed young at heart. I also think that I have a great sensitivity for understanding people.
SPIEGEL: Have you read books about this?
Heynckes: I've always been self-taught, and I've learned a great deal from listening, reading and watching. But my parental home played a key role. My mother gave birth to 10 children -- before, during and after the war. My father was a blacksmith, and things were tight money-wise. In those kinds of living conditions, you naturally acquire social skills.
SPIEGEL: Perhaps the general appreciation for you also has something to do with the fact that you represent a segment of the sport that has managed to remain normal. People say: Thanks to a guy like Heynckes, there's also room for us in this circus.
Heynckes: That's definitely the case. In this overheated climate, whether you're talking about the clubs, the media or the general public, you need people who can maintain the requisite distance. I've been trying to take the edge off this business for years. But of course it doesn't make things any easier if everything you say is online five minutes later. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why I'd rather read the newspaper than look at Web pages on my iPad.
SPIEGEL: Come to think of it, why don't you have an advertising contract? Is it that you're simply not interested because you already have enough money? Or do you just want to set yourself apart from colleagues, such as national team coach Joachim Löw and Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp?
Heynckes: I've never been offered an advertising contract. Maybe I'm too normal for the advertising industry.
SPIEGEL: When you recently said your goodbyes in Munich, you spoke about Bayern Munich president Hoeness and got a bit choked up. Hoeness is currently in trouble for evading millions in taxes. Are you worried about your friend?
Heynckes: His situation is cause for concern for everyone close to him. I know Hoeness probably better than anyone else, aside from his family. He has polarized, politicized and hurt people -- and he made a big mistake. But we shouldn't condemn him before justice has run its course.
SPIEGEL: Hoeness has broken laws and now has to hope that his voluntary declaration of tax evasion will keep him out of jail.
Heynckes: There's a difference between hiding illicit earnings in Switzerland and not paying taxes on capital gains. To all of those who are claiming the moral high ground here, I would like to know if they have never hired a handyman and paid him cash under the table. I also wonder why, of the thousands of voluntary declarations made every year, only one has been made public, namely the one made by Hoeness. In that sense, he is a victim of a breach of the law.
SPIEGEL: Haven't you ever thought that Hoeness was jeopardizing your success with his tax affair?
Heynckes: On the contrary, the team -- and I as their coach -- have played our hearts out for Hoeness. That's helped him and us.
SPIEGEL: And your friendship hasn't suffered from the fact that Bayern Munich hired Spanish coach Pep Guardiola behind your back?
Heynckes: Not at all. I've known since last summer that they were interested in Guardiola. In mid-December, Hoeness told me about the imminent signing of a contract.
SPIEGEL: Rummenigge had made assurances: "Our top candidate for the new season will be Jupp Heynckes." But he didn't keep his word.
Heynckes: Rummenigge and I spoke about this in mid-January.
SPIEGEL: The talks couldn't have been harmonious. Rummenigge said afterwards that he was "absolutely exhausted."
Heynckes: Of course I wasn't happy with their behavior, and I made that absolutely clear. But it doesn't change the fact that they made the right decision in switching to a younger generation. Guardiola is 26 years younger than I am, and he's a successful and sought-after coach. Bayern had to jump on this opportunity.
SPIEGEL: Would you have liked to stay on for another year?
Heynckes: Before the beginning of the season, I said that another chapter in my life was coming to a close in June 2013. That's something that I had agreed to with my wife, who has suffered a great deal from my profession. If the Bavarians hadn't found an adequate replacement, I would have been open to talking about an extension. But I prefer the way things have turned out now.
SPIEGEL: A politician whose days are numbered is called a lame duck. Keeping in mind the entire media circus surrounding Guardiola's transfer, did it ever occur to you: "That's what the players think of me now"?
Heynckes: Not for one second. We've become even more close-knit.
SPIEGEL: Hoeness once asked you: "When will we play as well as Barcelona?" You could say: "Now, but even more successfully than Guardiala's former club."
Heynckes: It's no exaggeration when I say that Guardiala is assuming responsibility for a perfectly fuctioning team -- one that clearly bested Barcelona on two occasions. But we shouldn't already talk about a new era before Bayern has proven that it can repeat its successes.
SPIEGEL: Rummenigge told you that you could have your pick of jobs at Bayern. Are you going to take him up on his offer?
Heynckes: Just as Guardiola has hung back while I was coach, I'm going to keep a low profile for now. I won't interfere with a colleague's business. That's one of the reasons why I turned down an offer to work for pay-TV station Sky as an expert. Should I talk about my successor's work? I don't do that kind of thing.
SPIEGEL: One can read everywhere that, at 68, you've become an all-round easy-going person. Anyone who has seen you during your daily work, though, would probably say the opposite is true. Peter Hermann, your assistant coach, says that you check on every single stomach muscle exercise.
Heynckes: That laidback attitude is an outsider's perception. But, on the inside, I look after everything. Hoeness repeatedly tried to invite me to dinner, but I told him: "I have to study our next opponent." He wasn't always pleased about that.
SPIEGEL: He also probably wouldn't have been happy if you had said: "We've been knocked out of the Champions League, but at least we had an enjoyable evening at a fine restaurant."
Heynckes: We made up for the dinner later on.