Saturday 25 May 2013

Heynckes Forgotten Pedigree - Archives

In May 1998 Josef Heynckes left Real Madrid quietly, with no renewal to his contract, despite having just won the Champions League in Amsterdam weeks earlier. For a club that only had a replica in their trophy room - and having failed to win it in 32 years – the German’s poor results in La Liga cost him his job. So this week a return to Madrid in a business capacity was poignant perhaps. 

But the former German international would not have shown it and just set about unravelling Mourinho’s men - with great effect. Albeit the game was decided in the end on penalties Bayern were the better organised over 120 minutes. 

As part of the German team that won the 1972 European Champions in Belgium, and then the World Cup in 1974, Josef Heynckes has been often considered a managerial journeyman over the years. Incorrectly it seems as his pedigree shows by his achievements as player and coach. 

When in 1974 he was substituted in Hamburg by West Germany’s in world cup group match against Australia it was Bernd Holzenbein who replaced him. After which Heynckes never regained Helmut Schoen’s favour – as youth took over. 

In the now infamous final at the Old Olympic Stadium, Heynckes watched his replacement Rainer Bonhof set a record on the day, when he became Germany’s youngest ever player, in a World Cup winning final. It signalled the end of an international career.

However a record of 220 goals in the Bundesliga still places him third in the top scorers list, behind Klaus Fischer and the imitable Gerd Muller. So no slouch in his time. 

After the hectic night in Madrid, and in his third stint at Bayern, Jupp has a chance to make more amends in Munich by winning the trophy at the new Allianz Arena and equalling Jose Mourinho current achievement of winning the trophy with two different clubs. In a way, like in all Champions League stories, the sub plot to this victory is not inconsiderable, as Heynckes lost the domestic title.

Indeed high in the stands the club President Uli Hoeness would have been smiling having recognised publicly some time ago that firing Heynckes in 1991 was "his biggest mistake".
Those broken bridges will now be truly mended. 

Alongside Hoeness, another Bayern stalwart and playing colleague of Jupp's in 1972, Paul Breitner, would have been also celebrating the win over his old Spanish club. If not also reliving the past during the penalties. having been given the same task at the opposite end of the Santiago Bernabeu in the 1982 World Cup final - scoring that consolation penalty in the 83rd minute against Italy. 

Karl Heinz Rummenigge, another Bayern back room executive, struck the crossbar in the 1982 quarterfinal - having hit the most magnificent strike that left Peter Shilton stuck in his boots - only for the dreaded woodwork to deprive Germany of a chance to defeat England that July night. As part of Inter Milan "Kalle" has memories of leaving Real empty handed a number of times in European competition. For those reason it might have proved an enjoyable flight home to Munich in the early hours.

For Heynckes though it adds to a career has included spells at his alma mater Borussia Moenchengladbach, Benfica, Athletic Bilbao and most recently Schalke04 – where he reached the Inter Toto final. During his playing days from he won the World Cup, the European Championship, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and four Bundesliga titles in all - with 39 caps for his country and 14 goals. 

Saturday May 19th may provide one more opportunity to add to the list. 

Jupp Heynckes Post Match 
“It was a magical night. We had big problems in the first 15 minutes, but afterwards my team took over and dominated the match. We played a sensational match and it is a special victory. The players wanted this final so badly. I am very happy for my players and for the fans. Manuel Neuer was fantastic, he saved two penalties and steered the third one over the bar with his eyes.” 

“The team gave a great performance after the early deficit. Arjen Robben missed a big chance, but Madrid were the better team in the first 15 minutes. We improved afterwards and it was an outstanding display. We knew before that we would need one or two goals to be safe. It was a great performance at this stadium, if you take into account that Madrid won against Barcelona at the weekend. 

We did well offensively before half-time, but we weren't well organised in defence. That is very dangerous against a Madrid side with several excellent attackers. I told my team during the break that we had to improve our performance in defence. We did really well in the second half, just as we had practiced. 

“It is very important that we reached the Champions League final. We played against the Spanish champions-elect and, if you take the 120 minutes into account, we deserve to be in the final.” 

“[David] Alaba, [Luiz] Gustavo and [Holger] Badstuber did a great job today so it's really bitter [that they will miss the final through suspension]. I talked to them in the dressing room and they were obviously very sad. But Chelsea are without four regulars as well, so both teams will be weakened. I don't know our team yet, but we have alternatives.” 

“The most important thing is that we reached the final. That's outstanding, historic. Nothing else matters at the moment. I guess a glass of red wine is OK today.”

©OSM - All rights reserved - April 2012

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Wednesday 8 May 2013

Sir Alex Calls United Time

Sir Alex Ferguson will step down as Manchester United manager at the end of the season after 26 years in charge.

The Scot, 71, has won 38 trophies during his reign at Old Trafford and will now become a director and ambassador for the club.

His haul includes 13 league titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups.

"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time," Ferguson said.

Everton's David Moyes and Jose Mourinho, currently at Real Madrid, are the bookmakers' frontrunners to take over.

Ferguson believes he is leaving United in good shape, saying: "The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success."

His final game will be against West Brom and will be his 1500th in charge at United.

United co-chairman Joel Glazer hails Ferguson's dedication to United, saying: "His determination to succeed and dedication to the club have been truly remarkable."

Chief executive David Gill believes the Scot can be proud of his legacy. He said: "What he has done for this club and for the game in general will never be forgotten."

Ferguson, who will undergo hip surgery in the summer, is confident his successor will take over a club in good health after winning their 20th top-flight title 17 days ago.

"It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so," he said.

"The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level whilst the structure of the youth set-up will ensure that the long-term future of the club remains a bright one."

Ferguson praised the people he felt helped him build the club from a team that had not won a title for 26 years into one of the biggest in the world.

"I must pay tribute to my family, their love and support has been essential," he added.

"My wife Cathy has been the key figure throughout my career, providing a bedrock of both stability and encouragement. Words are not enough to express what this has meant to me.

"As for my players and staff, past and present, I would like to thank them all for a staggering level of professional conduct and dedication that has helped to deliver so many memorable triumphs. Without their contribution the history of this great club would not be as rich.

"In my early years, the backing of the board, and Sir Bobby Charlton in particular, gave me the confidence and time to build a football club, rather than just a football team.

"Over the past decade, the Glazer family have provided me with the platform to manage Manchester United to the best of my ability and I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with a talented and trustworthy Chief Executive in David Gill. I am truly grateful to all of them.

"To the fans, thank you. The support you have provided over the years has been truly humbling. It has been an honour and an enormous privilege to have had the opportunity to lead your club and I have treasured my time as manager of Manchester United."

Ferguson is the most successful manager in the history of the British game and famously won a treble in 1999.

Co-chairman Joel Glazer highlighted Ferguson's desire to continue to produce winning teams throughout his time at United.

He said: "Alex has proven time and time again what a fantastic manager he is, but he's also a wonderful person.

"His determination to succeed and dedication to the club have been truly remarkable.

"I will always cherish the wonderful memories he has given us, like that magical night in Moscow [when United won the Champions League]."

Fellow co-chairman Avie Glazer expressed how important the United board felt it was to ensure Ferguson continued working for the club despite his decision to step down as manager.

Ferguson's Man Utd trophies
Premier League: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013.
FA Cup: 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004
League Cup: 1992, 2006, 2009, 2010
Champions League: 1999, 2008
Cup Winners Cup: 1991
Fifa Club World Cup: 2008
Uefa Super Cup: 1992
Inter-Continental Cup: 1999
FA Charity/Community Shield: 1990 (shared), 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011


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Wednesday 1 May 2013

Dortmund Prove Real Deal

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In the end Real Madrid ran out of ideas, Jose Mourinho could not find a system to penetrate Borussia Dortmund and the visitors controlled the return leg in Madrid until ten minutes from time. In effect the tie was done and dusted in Dortmund a week ago with a 4-1 deficit just too much for Madrid to reverse against a German team that are well worth their place in the final. And playing a system over four matches this season that ran the Spanish team ragged – even playing away from home – with so many chances they could have been leading 0- 5 after the first half in Madrid on Tuesday night. How Robert Lewandowski did not score on two occasions still baffles. With two other magnificent point blank saves from goalkeeper Diego Lopez almost laid the foundation for a mythical comeback when Real scored the two late goals,

On a night with a rarefied atmosphere the home team set off their game plan from the kick-off and squeezed the Borussia from all sides. Indeed were unlucky not to get at least one goal for their efforts. But as the game progressed Juergen Klopp’s ebullient group of players took charge more and more, stretching Madrid on a couple occasions. They highlighted where Mourinho has failed with the Madrid project, as his team still lack coherence so typical of previous teams. 

All so evident with Inter Milan in their triple winning season in 2010, and at Chelsea in 2005. The defensive systems that characterise his natural instinct about the game as at Madrid there was no Zanetti, Lucio, Samuel and Brazilian Maicon. It showed at Champions league level when the back four has varied between Pepe and Sergio Ramos. Having lost his reliable warhorse Carvalho to ravages of age, Mourinho has been find his loyal replacement.

The added dressing room disquiet with keeper Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos has not helped wither. But such is the Mourinho way.

On the night it was Varanne who looked the most promising for the future. Although Jon Oki Mikel was more than workman like down the right flank. But by the end of the game was flat out on his feet having chased and harried all night long. His distribution at times suspect but delivering a better job than Ramos in the first leg when he was right full.

Overall Madrid lived off their luck with many chances going a begging for Dortmund with Madrid finding it hard to reach the target with only a few shots on goal as the game wore on. By half time Borussia knew it was only 45 minutes before they reached their rightful place at Wembley on May 25th. 

For Madrid it looks like a future with Mourinho who displayed his usual lack of tact in the post-match press conference, which has made him a target of certain sectors of the Spanish sports press for three years. On the positive side the Special One has stabilised the fortunes of Madrid with a La Liga title, one Copa Del Rey, and a second final in the next few week. Not forgetting three consecutive semi-finals in the Champions Leagues which the club had not achieved in ten years.

Not totally special. Not a bad run for Real Madrid. All at a cost of over 200 million Euro.

If Jose leaves though he does so without making history and winning his third Champions League title with a third club.

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