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Boss’s perfect record

Heynckes, master of the Champions League

Borussia Dortmund face Bayern in London on 25 May in the final of this year’s Champions League, the first time two German teams have reached the final of the most prestigious club tournament in the world. Jürgen Klopp finds himself in the Champions League final for the first time, while Bayern's head coach Jupp Heynckes will be overseeing his third Champions League final.

Even though several coaches have been in multiple Champions League finals (Alex Ferguson, José Mourinho, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Carlo Ancelotti), the record of the 68-year-old Heynckes is probably one of a kind: It is only the third time the former world-class striker has aimed for Champions League glory, and on all three occasions, he has guided his team to the final.

“Normally I wouldn’t say it’s special,” Heynckes observed in the build-up to the Dortmund clash. “But I can’t deny it’s actually something extraordinary. We’re all looking forward to the final,” Heynckes continued. In 1997/98, he won the trophy at the first attempt with Real Madrid, but despite the Spaniards’ victory over Juventus, he was obliged to leave the club straight afterwards.

Penalty drama

Coincidentally, Real beat then defending champions Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final. In the first leg at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, the game was delayed by over an hour, because one set of goalposts collapsed and a new goal frame had to be fetched from Madrid's training ground. Real won the game 2-0 and qualified for the final after a 0-0 draw in the return leg.

Fourteen years later, in his second start in the Champions League, Heynckes made the final again, this time with FC Bayern. In the second leg of the semi, Heynckes’ men beat Real Madrid on penalties, with Bastian Schweinsteiger scoring the decisive spot-kick and handing Bayern a shot at winning the trophy on their home ground. Unfortunately, Bayern lost to Chelsea on penalties, denying Heynckes a second Champions League title.

However, he hopes to remedy this in London on Saturday, as 68-year-old’s third Champions League campaign has again brought an appearance in the final. With a victory against Borussia Dortmund, he could become the third coach to win the competition with two different clubs. Only Hitzfeld (with Bayern and Dortmund) and Mourinho (FC Porto and Inter Milan) have achieved the feat to date.