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Cake and congratulations

Praise and songs for birthday boy Heynckes

Huge cheers, loud applause, a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday To You’ and naturally a splendid cake formed the centrepiece as Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Matthias Sammer, the playing and coaching staff and the physios hailed Jupp Heynckes on his 68th birthday. The coach, still fit as a fiddle, needed just two puffs to blow out the requisite number of candles. Before then, Don Jupp had briefly thanked the guests for the surprise gift, and urged his men on to even greater things in the climactic final weeks of an outstanding season.

“He reminded us we still have a long way to go," David Alaba revealed at the lunchtime media conference. Heynckes himself, speaking exclusively to, spoke of “two huge tasks" remaining this term, the Champions League and DFB Cup finals: “We've not yet reached the end of our journey."

Characteristically, Heynckes was refusing to take his eyes off the remaining targets for the club merely because it was his birthday. Morning training was a customary hard-working and focused affair, with the coach calling for victory in Saturday's Bundesliga meeting with Augsburg: “We have two finals in front of us, so we need to maintain our rhythm and our form. This means we must carry on as before on Saturday."

Brakes stay on

However, the post-match programme with the presentation of the championship shield, a motorcade through Munich and the team appearance on the Town Hall balcony would be the time “to drink a Weissbier and a glass of wine, and celebrate." But there was a proviso: “We must apply the mental brakes. It's a title party, but with the brakes on." As of Sunday, the focus would turn to the Bundesliga trip to Mönchengladbach and the Champions League final, Heynckes announced.