Posted on Apr 16
Having led Real Madrid to the Champions League title, current Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes is hoping his insider knowledge will help the Bavarians beat the Spanish giants on Tuesday.
Bayern host Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final in Munich, with the Germans bidding to reach a final that will be hosted at their own Allianz Arena stadium on May 19.
Heynckes won the Champions League in his solitary year in charge of Madrid in the 1997-98 season, when they finished fourth in the Spanish league, but while his tips will help, he is more concerned about what his team will do.
While Jose Mourinho-coached Madrid have the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel di Maria and Karim Benzema in their attack, Bayern's boss is focused on making sure his stars Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger perform.
"I know the opponent very well. I know how they play, I know the individual players and their bench, but it all depends on how we play," said Heynckes.
"I have made several phone calls to Spain recently and there is a lot of respect for Bayern Munich.
"This year in the Champions League we have shown that we can achieve a lot and can play great games. We have our route planned for the semi-final and a great strategy that should work well.
"But we have to see how things go on the pitch. They have great players, but Bayern have them as well."
The 66-year-old has plenty of experience of Spanish football following his two spells as Athletic Bilbao coach from 1992 to 1994 and 2000 to 2003, as well as his single season in charge of Tenerife before he took the Real job.
While Bayern have never lost to Madrid at home, Heynckes has never coached a team to victory over a Spanish opponent in a two-legged European tie in four attempts, but he says Munich meet Madrid as equals and have nothing to fear.
"Real Madrid have so much talent in midfield -- they are not just about (Mesut) Ozil or Ronaldo," he said.
"In midfield, we have to be just as good as them, so that we can initiate our attacks. But Madrid have to worry about a lot of our players, so that is why it will be a very interesting game between two traditional teams at the same level.
"I think with a game like this the passion, the desire and the longing to win is very decisive."
Bayern have a flawless record in Europe at home this season, but have conceded the German title race to defending champions Borussia Dortmund.
In the wake of their 1-0 defeat at Dortmund last Wednesday and a goalless draw with Mainz, Munich now lag eight points behind Dortmund with three games left.
But Heynckes said the disappointment of defeat in Dortmund has evaporated with the prospect of facing Madrid.
"We have played brilliantly this season (in the Champions League)," he said.
"We have only lost at Manchster City (2-0 in December), where we had eight players who don't normally play.
"We are in the German Cup final and the last four of the Champions League.
"I can feel the agitation within the team. We had a small group of players available yesterday for training and you can feel the excitement building.
"We have had to put the defeat last week behind us. We have a huge target in front of us to get into the final, especially with it being held here."
Heynckes said the prospect of playing a Champions League final in Bayern's own stadium is a factor.
"It is a very big motivation for the players. When do you have the chance to play the final in your own stadium? That normally only comes along once in a lifetime," he said.
"Our fans have been fantastic. They have always got behind our team and I would say that will be the same case tomorrow (Tuesday). In those decisive moments you get the little push that can decide the game."