Created on 2018-05-11 at 15:15 PM by Redaktion
Jupp Heynckes left the podium to applause. On Friday afternoon the Bayern head coach answered questions from media representatives at the FC Bayern media centre for one last time. On the eve of his final home match in the Bayern dugout against VfB Stuttgart (Live in English from 15.30 CEST on our exclusive fcbayern.com ticker) he thanked the journalists for a positive and constructive partnership over the last eight months. The applause he received was not a matter of course but an expression of genuine respect.
When Heynckes sits down in the Allianz Arena dugout on Saturday a unique Bundesliga career will come to an end. The meeting with the Swabians will be Heynckes' 1038th Bundesliga match, 669 of them as a coach, 369 as a player in Germany's top flight. His last match means he will surpass Otto Rehhagel, the previous record holder on 1037 Bundesliga matches.
Needless to say, Heynckes aims to leave the Bundesliga with a victory: "We want to finish with a win and turn in a good display for the spectators," declared the 73-year-old. The coach is looking forward to the atmosphere and the championship celebrations after the match. "It'll be a joyous festival and not daily routine tomorrow." However, Heynckes added with a smile: "I can do without the beer shower."
"Every day I was very glad to come to the Säbener Strasse because we have a very good atmosphere. Not only in the dressing room, but also among the coaching staff."
However, a difficult match awaits the Bavarians before the celebrations. Heynckes issued a warning before the 100th edition of the southern derby, as the promoted side still have a chance to qualify for European competition. VfB will "come to Munich to clinch a Europa League spot," said Heynckes: "We'll face rivals who haven't yet written off the season." The Swabians need a win away to Munich and help from other teams to qualify.
But Bayern too have ambitious goals for Saturday, not least to keep up the rhythm and enjoy a successful dress rehearsal for the cup final on 19 May. "After being eliminated from the Champions League, the cup is our big goal," stressed Heynckes, who is without Jérôme Boateng, Arjen Robben, Juan Bernat, Arturo Vidal, David Alaba, Kingsley Coman and Manuel Neuer on Saturday.
Stuttgart duo banned
All Stuttgart's players are fit, but head coach Tayfun Korkut is without Santiago Ascacibar and Dennis Aogo, who miss the game with one-match bans. "We'll approach the task with modesty and respect," said the 44-year-old, who knows his team are in good shape. "We've gained confidence from our many positive results over the last few weeks." A look at the table proves him right: the Swabians have taken 31 points after the winter break, which means they are the second best team after Bayern (43 points) in the second half of the season.