Schweinsteiger's emotional letter to Jupp Heynckes
Jupp Heynckes was the FC Bayern coach four times – and he won four league titles, the DFB Cup, the Supercup three times and, the jewel in the crown, the Champions League. Today, 9 May 2020, one of the most successful coaches in the history of our club, 'Don Jupp', celebrates his 75th birthday. In '51', he is congratulated by Bastian Schweinsteiger, his 'right-hand man' in the historic treble win of 2013.
Do you remember when you pressed five CDs into my hands at Säbener Straße many years ago? I was supposed to load 150 songs onto your mobile. It was mainly 80s music (I love that): Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, the Beach Boys... I can now reveal: some of them ended up on my mobile. I still listen to them sometimes in the car or, like you, when doing sport. From the massage room, where I was happy to lie down after training sessions, it was the best place to see how you did your drills in the gym. We were always astonished how nimble you were. And in your somewhat advanced years, you've never stopped looking after yourself. Not just in the weights room but also mentally, above all. You've constantly kept up-to-date, put blood sweat and tears into coaching, invested so much passion – and, at the same time, I always felt that you enjoyed working with us as players and to have a team around you. You loved being a coach.
For me, the years with you were perhaps the best of my career. And not just because you switched me from the wing into central midfield. That was when we first worked together in April/May 2009 when you are with us for five games. Louis van Gaal, who took over the following season, later told me he watched those games – and he saw me as a central midfield player from that point. Above all, you succeeded in doing something that many other coaches never can: you brought all the players and the whole team on board, including coach drivers, kit men and staff. I don't know anybody who ever said a bad word about you. Every morning, you walked through the Performance Centre, shook everybody's hand and said good morning. Conversations with you were always very open. You always spoke to the players who were on the bench – and they understood that. Because you were honest with them. You were a great player and had huge experience as a coach. That gave you an incredible sense of what they were all thinking. And you always knew exactly what needed to be done. I really value the conversations with you about tactics, the next opponents or just about life. Talking to each other after the Champions League final in 2012 helped me a lot in coming to terms with it. Of course, losing the final at home was also painful for you but you identified a chance to make something of it. 'If we manage to get so far again and then succeed in putting in five percent more effort, we'll win it' – you got that over to me relatively early and that motivated me very much for the following season.
The way you took us to Wembley was marvellous. You took account of the smallest details. We gave 120 percent in every training session – and we had to. You prompted and demanded that. There was an incredible team spirit and desire. In that season, everybody played in attack and everybody defended at the back. With players like Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben, you made it clear the fans would applaud even more if they tracked back and won the ball.
Ahead of the final at Wembley, you gave another of your big speeches. After that we got up with goose bumps and we wanted to get out straight away and play. We were sure: This is the day when we win the thing. And that's what happened. A week later, we sealed the treble by winning the DFB Cup. The celebrations in Berlin afterwards were the best ever at Bayern. We organised the venue and you turned up at some point. There was huge applause and then we saw you on the dance floor. Unforgettable! That sense of rhythm in your hips! Now we understood why you spent so much time in the gym.
Dear Jupp, I consider myself very fortunate, not only in getting to know you as an exceptional coach, but also being able to have a wonderful human being as a friend. I've learned a lot from you. You set us an example with openness, team spirit, honesty and work ethic. Sometimes I miss these values in football. Once, just before the treble, you invited us all to your farm, in your oasis of comfort, 'Casa de la Gatos'. We were able to see you as a human being, totally genuine. 'Can do' was the order of the day. They were incredibly beautiful times.
On your 75th birthday, I wish you, above all, health and also that your hips remain flexible. A big reunion – also with the rest of the 2013 team – is long overdue. So, coach, as soon as you read this: We should definitely dance again! I'm looking forward to it.
The best moments from Jupp Heynckes' career: We bring you a summary of the most important places and moments for 'Don Jupp' on his 75th birthday...