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Heynckes confident

‘There’s a good atmosphere around here’

Jupp Heynckes’ plans for Tuesday and Wednesday evening included two not-to-be-missed appointments: Arsenal versus Manchester United and Chelsea against Barcelona on TV. “It’s interesting and I’ll obviously be watching. The Champions League features the crème de la crème, the standards are incredibly high,” the caretaker boss remarked, confessing his deep admiration for Barcelona in particular: “In my opinion, Barcelona are currently playing the best football in the world.”

Even as experienced a coach as Heynckes cannot hope to elevate FCB to Barca’s stratospheric standards this term, but the 63-year-old is doing everything in his power to ensure the German champions enjoy the opportunity of measuring themselves against the best the continent has to offer next season. “I’m confident. There’s a good atmosphere in the dressing room and at the club,” he reported.

Five-week mission

Heynckes’ five-week mission is to guide Bayern to second spot in the Bundesliga, guaranteeing a direct qualifying spot for the 2009-10 Champions League. Just under four weeks remain for the seasoned coach to lead his temporary charges to their goal. “It’s not enough time to make fundamental changes. All I can do is try and help the team with my knowledge of modern football and my expertise,” said Heynckes. The tools of his trade are meticulous work and planning before, during and after daily training.

The last few days had been “busy and stressful,” Heynckes admitted. “With the situation as it is, I had to hit the ground running.” However, he is extremely pleased with the way things have worked between himself and the players so far. “The team has made it relatively easy for me. They pick things up nice and quickly, they’re very attentive, and they’ve performed our training routines as well as possible.”