Honorable Mentions have to go out before we start in earnest, and there are quite a few who deserve a tip of the hat. From players such as Ribery and Robben to Neuer and Boateng, from the World’s Best player – Phillip Lahm to Bayern’s engine – Bastian Schweinsteiger; everything that was accomplished was due to the coming together of so many pieces to the often confusing puzzle.
Still, it’s not just players that should bask in the limelight as even those who work from behind the scenes were extremely instrumental in guaranteeing what would be a record year for Bayern. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, as the front man of the top of the food chain band that comprises of Uli Hoeness and (formerly) Karl Hopfner, was one of the greatest ambassadors of not only the club but even of football in General.
Matthias Sammer was brought in to add more steel than what (the oft under-appreciated) Christian Nerlinger could give, and it was truly remarkable how well he executed his job. Not only did he serve as the perfect connection between the board and the team, not only did he help in improving the youth team (on a small degree), but he brought in a vicious grit to a team that was packed in talent. Even games won were not safe from Sammer’s criticism, as he demanded perfection. Looking back, it’s hard to say that his wishes did not become reality.
The last honorable mention will of course fall to the newest member of FC Bayern Muenchen’s coaching team, a certain Spaniard (or Catalan depending on your point of view) who goes by the name of Josep “Pep” Guardiola. A true perfectionist as well, it’s taken a bit of time for the bulldozer to gain top speed, but once achieved, there seemed to be absolutely no stopping the beast that he created. It’s hard to imagine any team suffering around 12 injuries in the space of 6 months and still topping the Bundesliga, CL Group, progressing in the Pokal, winning the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, all while winning virtually every game and losing 1 single game (a match that happens prior to the start of the Bundesliga and has a drinks break every 35 minutes is not counted as anything more than a “glorified friendly”).
Now, to the winner of the 2013 FC Bayern Muenchen Man of The Year, as though there can be any surprise whatsoever at this stage. He has never lost a 2 legged knockout match in the Champions League as a coach. He has reached the final on 3 out 3 occasions. He’s won it twice with two different teams. He was the reason why Bayern finally pushed on and achieved their destiny.
The 2013 Bayern Man of The Year can be none other than: Josef “Jupp” Heynckes.
It started a long time ago when Louis Van Gaal entered the Bayern ranks and finally provided an identity to a club which was, according to even Lahm, lost. The possession based 4-2-3-1 football came from the mind of the erratic genius Dutchman.
Nevertheless, it took Heynckes to perfect the gift of Van Gaal. Bayern became a vicious beast and slowly established themselves as one of the top 3 or 4 teams in Europe as early as 2012. However, with a squad that did not have the required depth to withstand a grueling season that attempted to conquer 3 competitions, Bayern fell apart at the finishing line – ending the year with the achievement of “The Nightmare Treble”.
Not to be outdone, Jupp Heynckes spent his holidays – listing transfer targets and devising tweaks in his playing system to become unstoppable, and in fairness, he got exactly what he wanted.
With the signings of Mandzukic, Shaqiri and the monstrous Javi Martinez, Bayern finally had the depth that was required. The only thing left was the play, which at times in 2011-12 tended to be a little too predictable.
Heynckes began to give even more freedom to his attackers, allowing for switching of positions, but never compromising on defensive solidity; Bayern were absolutely ruthless and rampant.
Bayern won the treble in emphatic manner. The league was sewn up in record time (along with a host of 24 records broken, including highest goal difference and least goals conceded), the Pokal was won in somewhat dramatic circumstances but still getting one over the team that thrashed them in the previous year’s final.
The Champions League was the sweetest triumph of them all. Apart from 2 games of great under-performance by the entire squad (i.e Bate and Arsenal), there was no stopping a team that seemed to be obsessed with getting their name back on The European Cup. Victory eventually came against the team who prior to the beginning of the campaign had secured 5 straight victories against Bayern. It was a perfect conclusion.
Game(s) of the Year: As a testament to the brilliance of Jupp Heynckes, we’d like to take you back to what was in all honesty, the greatest performance by a Bayern team ever in the UEFA Champions League. While most will consider the 2 legs against Barcelona as worth winners of such an accolade, the truth is entirely different.
The Barcelona games were fabulous performances and the score-line is not exaggerated, but that was Bayern’s most effective performance in the Champions League, not the greatest.
The honor of the greatest has to fall to the 2 matches against Juventus in the Quarter-finals where Bayern dispatched their opponents by a score of 2 goals to nil on both occasions. Imperious would be understating the nature of Bayern’s game on those two nights, especially the one in Turin.
Jupp Heynckes stated prior to the game that he “had gone to bed with The Old Lady” and knew exactly what was needed to be done to achieve perfection. Without a shadow of a doubt, he wasn’t joking as Bayern bossed both games in a manner that made the Italian Champions look, quite frankly, bad.
So as it is almost time to end this article and to bid farewell to the glorious season that was 2012-13 and take a breather from what is seeming to be another incredible run in 2013-14, we’d once again like to congratulate our 2013 FC Bayern Man of The Year: Josef “Jupp” Heynckes.
Thank you Jupp, for absolutely everything.