BAYERN MUNICH VS BORUSSIA DORTMUND
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL: 2013
Coach Jupp Heynckes didn’t want to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season. The team was forcing him out and he decided he would retire. In January of 2013, they announced they’d signed Pep Guardiola to be their next coach, and he would take over in July, 2013. Bayern’s president said, “We had the chance to get Pep Guardiola now, and who knows when that would have been possible again.”
Jupp was 67 years-old. The oldest coach in the Bundesliga. In three different spells as the manager of Bayern, he’d won them Bundesliga titles, DFL-Supercups, 200 games, and had only lost them 53. After Munich fired Jurgen Klinsmann, in April of ’09, and the team was in trouble, Jupp stepped in as a one month caretaker for the club. He took the reigns to finish out the season. The team won 4 games and drew 1. They qualified for the Champions League, came in 2nd in the Bundesliga.
The first time they fired him, in 1991, their general manager had gone on to say that was “the biggest mistake of my career”.
And now they were doing it again.
On May 18, 2013, Jupp, a man who knew he was fired in 43 days, coached his last Bundesliga game. He cried in his press conference while saying goodbye to everyone. He was talking for a few minutes, then his face turned red, and he just started to cry. The journalists in the room all applauded.
A week later, he was at Wembley Stadium in England, managing what would be his last game, a Champions League Final against fellow German side, domestic rival, more like little brother — Borussia Dortmund.
The 75th minute, 1-1: Bastian Schweinsteiger tries to start a counter-attack for Bayern. He passes the ball across the width of the field to the team’s best attacker — one of the best in the world — the Dutch Rabbit, Arjen Robben. Robben is waiting for the ball at the touchline, getting ready to zip down it. He is the man you want running an attack. He is fast. He can dribble by players. He can pass. He scores.
Schweinsteiger’s pass reaches him. It’s two touches, he’s getting the coal red in his stove, when Dortmund’s Marcel Schmelzer, a guy who, given all of their recent clashes, has seen Robben run at him probably a hundred times, easily picks up the Dutch Rabbit, despite his quick hops, and pokes the ball away from him.
Neither team can get past the other. They know each other too well.
Maybe that’s why they’re getting rid of Jupp. He’s out of new tricks.
But what’s wrong with an old trick? One that’s done right.
You've seen a coin pulled from an ear a thousand times, but when someone does it right, it still looks like magic.
The 87th minute, 1-1: Philipp Lahm, Bayern’s captain, works the ball down to the endline, where he cuts a cross back, along the ground, towards the top of the penalty box. Thomas Muller is first to it, but either Schweinsteiger yells something or him and Muller have the shining, because Muller dummies — he acts like he’ll shoot, but he lets the ball roll by. The shot sets up nicely for Schweinsteiger. He lines it up like he's John Henry knocking in steel. He rips the shot, but, even then, Muller’s trickery, Schweinsteiger’s power, they aren’t enough. Dortmund is up to it. Their goalkeeper, Roman Weidenfeller, knocks the shot clear.
The 89th minute, 1-1: Jerome Boateng stands over a free-kick he’s about to take for Bayern. He’s just inside his own half. Time is running out. A goal is needed. Boateng takes a few steps back and readies himself to execute -- The Boot.
This is the oldest trick in the game.
Just boot it.
Now, would a Pep Guardiola team boot the ball? As a tactician, Pep is usually more refined than that. More patient and precise. He’s a disciplinarian, so as his player, you wouldn’t want to defy his strategy. You’d rather go down with the ship than cross Pep, and you don’t want to be the fool who didn’t listen to the man everyone calls a genius.
But Jupp will let you boot it.
Realize, he’s sending the ball down to three world-class attackers. It’s not just the Dutch Rabbit. It’s Muller. It’s the Frenchman, Franck Ribery.
The long pass loops over the midfield. It’s dropping on Dortmund’s last line of defense, who are tired and entrenched.
Ribery is there. Muller is lurking. The Dutch Rabbit has a good scent for the ball.
It's the game-winner.
And we see, it is true. The old guys did know what they were talking about.
Sometimes you gotta just fucking boot it*.
*Hope you're enjoying retirement, Jupp.