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Football: Champions League final coaches profiles

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

With Borussia Dortmund taking on Bayern Munich at Wembley in Saturday's Champions League final, AFP sports looks at the two coaches who have steered them to a first all-German European cup final.

JURGEN KLOPP (Borussia Dortmund)

Having coached Mainz 05 straight after retiring in 2001, the 45-year-old cut his managerial teeth by getting them into the Bundesliga before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2008 after Bayern Munich opted for former Germany trainer Jurgen Klinsmann instead. With his unkempt appearance, quick wit and laid-back personality, Klopp was better known as a TV pundit in Germany before leading Dortmund to back-to-back league titles, including the 2012 league and cup double, with an impressive counter-pressing system. It's a simple concept: when not in possession, Dortmund's fleet-footed attackers put pressure on the opposition's defence to win the ball back and any mistakes often result in a goal. Klopp's system has served Borussia well, leading to record profits of 34.3 million euros ($44.5 million) announced last November. His team lived up to Klopp's nickname for them of 'Monsters of mentality' for their never-say-die spirit after scoring two goals in 70 seconds in the dying stages to beat Malaga 3-2 in their home quarter-final. A passionate character, Klopp admitted he shut himself briefly away after hearing star midfielder Mario Goetze would join Bayern Munich next season. But he later put on a dignified face by pointing out to the press that Dortmund had done a similar thing to Moenchengladbach the season before when they signed Germany's Marco Reus for a fixed sum. Likewise, amid reports that striker Robert Lewandowski is set to leave Dortmund at the end of the season, Klopp's reassurances calmed supporters nerves. "Other mothers have other beautiful sons who can also play football. I'll let you know if we should be nervous. Relax." While his English is not perfect, it is certainly good enough to work in the Premier League, having been linked to top clubs Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, and the rumours will only intensify if he wins Saturday's final. For now, he is happy to see out his contract until 2016 and finish the job he has started at Dortmund.

"For me, this is the most interesting football project in the world," he said.

"In three or four years' time, if someone wants me, we can speak. But, for now, this is the best place for me."

JUPP HEYCKNES (Bayern Munich)

A World Cup winner in 1974 and a European Champion in 1972 with West Germany, Heynckes finished his playing career as the third-highest scorer in Bundesliga history with 220 goals in 369 league games, the majority of which were with his native Borussia Moenchengladbach. He moved into coaching in 1979 at 'Gladbach, but despite winning the 1998 Champions League title during his single season at Real Madrid, he has enjoyed only limited success as a coach -- until this season. At 68, he is in his third stint as Bayern coach, after leading the Bavarians to back-to-back titles in 1988-89 and 1989-90, then returned to help steer Bayern to a Champions League place when Jurgen Klinsmann was sacked in 2009. After Bayern lost last season's Champions League final to Chelsea on penalties in their own stadium and, finishing runners-up to Dortmund in both the league and cup, Heynckes was under pressure to deliver silverware in his final season. With the additions of Brazil defender Dante and Croatia's Mario Mandzukic, Bayern swept aside all rivals in the Bundesliga, taking the title by an incredible 25-point margin, while setting or equalling 25 league records. Heynckes will bow out after the German Cup final against VfB Stuttgart on June 1 with his team bidding to become the first German team to win the treble of European, league and cup titles. Heynckes will be replaced by ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola next month, but with his side having dropped just 11 points all season in the Bundesliga, it is hard to see what improvements the Spaniard can make. France wing Franck Ribery has said Heynckes' guiding influence helped him refind his game this season after struggling under previous totalitarian boss Louis van Gaal, while captain Philipp Lahm has said Heynckes works "like a man 30 years younger". Suggestions Heynckes approached Guardiola for tips on how to beat Barcelona in the semi-final were strongly rebuked: "Please respect me and my work. I've never consulted anyone or asked for advice. I do not need anyone to study an opponent." Likewise, Heynckes was not amused when Bayern announced in January that he would retire from football at the end of the season when his contract expires. But having said he is "too old to coach overseas and there are no more goals left in the Bundesliga after coaching a team like Bayern", retirement seems like his most likely option. However, should he ever get bored of life on his farm in Schwalmtal, near Moenchengladbach, where his sheepdog Cando is the boss, Heynckes will not find himself short of offers.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130523/football-champions-league-final-coaches-profiles