Believe Uli Hoeness, and Bayern’s last three coaches are a little like the good, the bad and the ugly of German football.
Like any club president, Hoeness keeps a close eye on finances and this week he revealed how the good, Jupp Heynckes, is keeping down costs.
“He has a flip chart with five marker pens, which cost €2.50 each. He draws the opponent’s formation on the chart and says a few things about it,” Hoeness explained to regional newspaper Donaukurier.
Far from their image, Bayern are in fact racking up points on a shoestring budget. ”We are winning games with Heynckes for €12.50,” Hoeness calculated.
It’s not clear whether Hoeness is a fan of Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, but he seems to portray former coach Juergen Klinsmann in the bad Lee Van Cleef role.
“With Klinsmann, we had Powerpoint presentations and spent thousands of euros on computers so that he could show the players in epic proportions how we wanted to play. We spent lots of money with Klinsmann for little success. A coach is not young or old, he is just good or bad.”
The man who coached Bayern between Klinsmann and Heynckes won’t win any beauty contests, but Louis van Gaal’s communication with players that casts him as the ugly man of the trio.
“That van Gaal was a catastrophe in terms of human relations is another matter,” Hoeness opined. “But as an expert, he was top class. That’s why he was not a mistake. Klinsmann was.”
But both coaches had the same fate.
Klinsmann was sacked in April 2009 after an ill-fated nine months in charge, while Dutchman van Gaal was shown the door after a little less than two years in Bavaria, despite winning the German league and cup double and leading the club to the Champions League final in 2010.
Hoeness’ analysis is well-timed, even if overly frank. This is a pivotal week in Bayern’s bid to win the title, and Hoeness knows it.
Bayern have been unable to contain their rage since losing 2-1 at Hannover on Sunday, a result that ended a 13-match unbeaten streak. In-form Mohammed Abdellaoue converted a hotly-contested penalty in the 23rd minute to end Manuel Neuer’s run of more than 12 hours without conceding a Bundesliga goal.
But the real controversy kicked in later in the first half when Jerome Boateng was shown a red card for fighting, after a theatrical dive by Hannover’s Sergio Pinto. All that came during a melee that would not have been out of place during the rugby world cup final, played the same day.
Bayern’s afternoon got worse when Christian Pander’s deflected shot bounced past Neuer.
Heynckes accused referee Manuel Graefe of ” taking revenge” against his team. ”Two different degrees of punishment were used. The referee was the protagonist today,” he said.
Club officials went further.
”One minute Pinto pretends to be injured and the next he is on his feet and running about like a weasel,” Hoeness claimed. ”Pinto is an actor. He should be in Hollywood, not on the pitch.”
Added Bayern Chief Executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: ”It’s indecent. I would go quickly to church for a confession tonight if I were him.”
If Bayern can beat Nuremberg on Saturday, their defeat at Hannover should prove a mere footnote to a successful season. But if they lose at home to their Bavarian rivals for the first time in almost 20 years, Borussia Dortmund will be smelling blood.
Juergen Klopp’s team have cut the gap to Bayern from eight points to a mere three. Suddenly the title race is back on.
‘The way it looks Dortmund are our strongest rivals,” Heynckes confirmed this week. ”They have a very good team which will be in contention.”
The hosts should be far too strong for Nuremberg, but need to keep focused because their neighbours, who used to boss German football back in the 1920s, often bristle at Bayern’s haughtiness.
“Nurnberg are only so strong because they loan players from Bayern Munich,” van Gaal scoffed before the clubs met last year.
It may have been a joke, but didn’t sound funny to Nuremberg, who were ahead of Bayern in the league at the time, and only had one player on loan from Bayern.
Any more slip ups and Bayern’s season could quickly turn from good to bad.
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The Bundesliga is back on Eurosport 2 on Friday. To kick off the weekend, Robin Dutt takes his Leverkusen side to Freiburg on Friday (20:30). It’s Stuttgart v Dortmund on Saturday (15:30) and then Mainz v Bremen (18:30). Between those matches, we’ll show you extended highlights of Bayern’s match against Nuremberg. There’s lots more live action on Sunday with Cologne v Augsburg (15:30) and Hamburg v Kaiserslautern (17:30). As a special treat we’ve also second division action with Duisberg hosting 1860 Munich (13:30). Highlights of all matches at 19:30. Coverage in north and east Europe.