Bayern Munich's Jupp Heynckes learned his Spanish lessons, guiding Real Madrid to the Champions League title in 1998.
La Liga is not commonly thought of as having much influence on the German Bundesliga . But Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has applied Spanish soccer lessons to his curriculum after spending time in La Liga.
Heynckes, who guides Bayern Munich against Arsenal in the Champions League Tuesday, coached Athletic Bilbao, Tenerife and Real Madrid from 1992-2003.
In fact, Heynckes guided Real Madrid to the 1998 Champions League title, taking a 1-0 victory over Juventus in Amsterdam .
But Heynckes spent only one season at Real Madrid, making his strongest stamp on Athletic Bilbao from ’92-94 and 2002-03.
Heynckes gave debuts to players such as Aritz Aduriz, Julen Guerrero and Aitor Karanka at Athletic. And he maintained contacts at the club in bringing Javi Martinez to Bayern Munich on a 40 million euro transfer last year.
Martinez, 24, a defensive midfielder, has been a part-time starter for Bayern Munich this season. Bayern indicated its commitment to Martinez by signing him to a five-year contract, and he is expected to be given a prominent role by Pep Guardiola next season.
Heynckes’ first coaching positions were in the Bundesliga with Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayern Munich from 1978-91. Then, he moved to Spain for most of the ‘90s.
And Heynckes’ influence is still felt in La Liga.
Karanka was 18 years old when Heynckes placed him in the starting lineup at Athletic. Then, when Heynckes was hired at Real Madrid for the 1997-98 season, he sent for Karanka, who performed for the Merengues through 2002 and is currently the top assistant coach to Jose Mourinho.
Aduriz was 21 when Heynckes named him to the starting lineup with Athletic – 11 years later Aduriz is Athletic’s leading scorer with 12 goals.
Then there was Guerrero. In 1992, Guerrero made his La Liga debut as an 18-year-old midfielder with Athletic Bilbao. Two years later, Guerrero was playing for Spain in the World Cup.
By the 1997-98 season, Guerrero would be haunting Heynckes, sparking Athletic to a second-place finish – ahead of Heynckes’ Real Madrid. Heynckes moved on after the Champions Cup win and, two years later, one of his assistants (Vicente Del Bosque), would be named head coach of Real Madrid. Del Bosque would guide Real Madrid to the 2002 Champions League title, but the Merengues have not returned to the final since, falling in the 2012 semifinals on penalty kicks to Heynckes' Bayern Munich.
Heynckes was 58 years old in his last season at Athletic, having groomed assistant Ernesto Valverde , currently head coach of Valencia, but showed he had several good years left.
Heynckes plans to retire after the season, to be replaced by Guardiola. And he seems set to go out on top, at least in the Bundesliga, as Bayern Munich has a 15-point lead. Heynckes will be a tough act to follow, especially if he can get to another Champions League final.