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‘I’m still ambitious’

Heynckes welcomes dawn of new generation

It may have been the eve of the restart clash with Greuther Fürth, but the opening questions at Jupp Heynckes’ scheduled press conference on Friday were – surprise, surprise – all about Pep Guardiola. “You have to congratulate Pep on choosing Bayern," said Heynckes, who knows his appointed successor personally and values him “very highly."

“What he's taking on in Munich is the best team in Europe after Barcelona, playing planned, structured, modern and successful football. He'll continue to develop the project here," Heynckes observed, describing the former Barca boss as “a smart guy" who had examined the posse of clubs chasing his services in intense detail. “And he's come to the 100 percent conclusion that Bayern offers the biggest prospect of success."

The personal decision to step down at the end of the current season had begun to “take shape” last summer, Heynckes revealed. The seasoned coach will be 68 in May, “and a club like Bayern has to think and act with an eye to the future." The coach explicitly welcomed the “new generation" at Bayern spearheaded by Guardiola, who turned 42 on Friday.

Passion and joy

Staying on as Bayern boss would only have been an option if FCB had been unable to find an “appropriate successor,” Heynckes remarked. “I said to Uli Hoeneß: If that’s the case, we can sit down and talk, but otherwise I'm stopping.” However, ‘Don Jupp’ has yet to decide whether he will give up coaching for good next July: “There are still five months until then."

Up to that point, Heynckes is determined to enjoy as much success as possible with FCB. “There's been no change at all in the way I work with the team," he said, “I do my job with joy and passion, and I'll continue to do that for the next five months. I remain very ambitious."