Too early to celebrate for champion Bayern Munich
BERLIN – Agencea France-Presse
Jupp Heynckes said Bayern Munich will keep the champagne on ice - despite winning the German league title - as they turn their focus on the Champions League.
A 4-1 come-back win at Augsburg on April 7 handed Bayern a sixth consecutive Bundesliga title and crowned them German champions for the 28th time in the club’s proud history.
Bayern now have the Champions League in their sights as they look to finish off Sevilla in the April 11 return leg at the Allianz Arena holding a 2-1 lead in their quarter-final.
While the players partied on the pitch in Augsburg, Heynckes said the serious celebrations must wait until the season finishes.
“No - we don’t want to really celebrate, but everyone is welcome to enjoy the title,” said Heynckes, who allowed a small celebration in Bayern’s dressing room.
“For example, Frank Ribery celebrates his eighth championship, while for many others, like Niklas Suele and Sebastian Rudy, it is their first championship - that’s something very important.
“For me as a player, [the league] was always the most important title.”
Augsburg took a shock lead through an own goal by Niklas Suele, but Bayern roared back as Corentin Tolisso, James Rodriguez, Arjen Robben and Sandro Wagner all scored.
The result leaves Bayern 20 points clear with five league games left and underlined their total dominance of the Bundesliga.
Heynckes, who also steered Bayern to the 2013 treble, has turned the club’s fortunes around since his return in October for a fourth stint.
Bayern were five points adrift when his predecessor Carlos Ancelotti was sacked.
Heynckes could yet cap a fairytale return by winning the European Cup for the sixth time in Bayern’s history in the Champions League final in Kyiv on May 26.
Nevertheless, he singled out Ancelotti for praise in Bayern’s title victory.
“I want to send a greeting and congratulations to Carlo Ancelotti - he coached the team in the first seven games,” said Heynckes - ever the gentleman.
“I think he is not only a great coach but also a great person.”
Having come out of a four-year retirement to be Bayern’s head coach again, Heynckes only has a contract until the end of the season.
He has left his future open, meaning Bayern could need a new head coach next season.
However, he credited the players and his backroom staff with the title win.
“The coach is ultimately responsible for the big picture, but first and foremost, the footballers are the protagonists,” said Heynckes.
“I have a very well-functioning coaching team and everyone does their job excellently.
“That’s why I think it’s a success for everyone, not just me.”
Heynckes understands the way Bayern tick and another treble is still available with the Bavarian giants due to face Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup semi-finals on April 17.
Robben, out of contract in June, has now won the Bundesliga seven times since joining Bayern in 2009.
“It’s always nice to win the title, but to be honest: we knew it was coming, it was almost impossible for things to go wrong,” said the Dutchman.
“People from outside always say, ‘They have the best squad, they have to be champions’. But we have to do it first ourselves and nothing is given away in the Bundesliga.”