Bayern Munich: 5 Teams Jupp Heynckes Could Coach Next Season
While Bayern Munich fans wait with bated breath for the arrival of Pep Guardiola, there is a forgotten man in Die Roten's Spanish coup: Jupp Heynckes.
In his third stint with Bayern, the 67-year-old has the famous German side twenty points clear in the Bundesliga, on course for their 16th DFB Pokal, and are a hot favorite for this season's Champions League.
For his impressive efforts, he has been replaced by a younger and more fashionable model.
Heynckes has pooh-poohed the idea of retiring, which has led to speculation on his next position. Here are five clubs the former striker could head to in the summer.
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Interim Schalke manager Jens Keller is not expected to have a future in the role beyond this season, with the Gelsenkirchen club apparently looking for a coach with a greater deal of experience.
German newspaper Bild believes Schalke have targeted Heynckes (source in German), who was in charge for the side's disappointing 2003/04 season. Bild admits there has been no contact between the two parties, but reasons that he will be attracted by the fact that his home in Mönchengladbach is just 60 miles from the Veltins-Arena.
Bayern Chairman Uli Hoeness, however, has laughed off the Schalke link, insisting that it sounded like an "April Fool's joke" (which seems a little unlikely in February!).
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Athletic Club—one of only three founding La Liga teams to have never been relegated—have enjoyed unexpected success in recent years, particularly in 2011-12, when they were runners-up in the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Cup.
This season, however, they have been flirting dangerously close to the relegation zone they have avoided since 1929. Furthermore, much-respected coach Marcelo Bielsa appears to have a strained relationship with the board after nearly walking out last summer.
With a new stadium and a new era without the likes of Fernando Llorente ahead next season, perhaps Los Leones could welcome back Heynckes for a third time.
In 1993-94, he led the Basque side to fifth place and UEFA Cup qualification and would surely be welcomed back based upon his recent success in Bavaria.
Heynckes was born in Gladbach and spent the majority of his playing career with Die Fohlen. In fact, he was Bundesliga's top scorer for the team in 1974 and 1975.
After finishing his playing career with the club, he stayed on and managed them for eight years, winning four Bundesliga titles, a German Cup and a UEFA Cup in the process. He also took charge in the 2006/07 season, but quit after fourteen winless matches.
The 67-year-old refers to Borussia Mönchengladbach as "my club" (via ESPNFC.com) and recently admitted he was offered a role as vice president. He turned it down saying he is not yet ready to "become a functionary."
However, Lucien Favre is popular in Mönchengladbach right now, having surpassed all expectations with a fourth-place finish last season. One would imagine he would only be replaced if he was lured elsewhere.
If you have somehow managed to avoid the coaching debacle at Chelsea this season (lucky you!), then you may not be aware that Rafa Benitez is the much-detested "interim manager," with very few prospects of gainful employment in southwest London next season.
Few can predict the wont of owner Roman Abramovich, but The Express is among those linking the potentially vacant Chelsea job with Jupp Heynckes, based on a tip from Blues legend Gianluca Vialli.
However, with the likes of Jose Mourinho, Fabio Capello and Manuel Pellegrini in the running, Heynckes and his unproven record in England may not feature highly on the wish list.
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After relieving manager Robin Dutt of his duties last April, Bayer Leverkusen appointed Sascha Lewandowski and former Liverpool favourite Sami Hyypia as caretaker coach and manager respectively, giving each equal power.
The unusual arrangement has led to much success this season, with Leverkusen chasing Borussia Dortmund's tail in third place.
Despite the successful arrangement, the German press has speculated about Heynckes returning to the side he managed from 2009-10 for two seasons, and left after contract extension disputes with chairman Wolfgang Holzhäuser.
Heynckes' assistant coach Peter Hermann looks likely to return to Bayer in the summer, but so far Holzhäuser has insisted Sami Hyypia will remain manager.