Jupp Heynckes' presence in the Bayern Munich dugout was a welcome sight for fans on Matchday 8. - © © imago
Jupp Heynckes' presence in the Bayern Munich dugout was a welcome sight for fans on Matchday 8. - © © imago

The Jupp Heynckes effect gets Bayern Munich back on track

Long before Bayern Munich's match at home to Freiburg kicked off on Saturday, there was a moment when the noise inside the stadium cranked up to maximum volume: Jupp Heynckes' face had just appeared on the big screen shortly after the stadium announcer had revealed the starting line-ups.

"Unfortunately I was still in the changing room at the time so I didn't pick up on that," the 72-year-old said afterwards. Nevertheless, it was a telling sign of the new sense of euphoria enveloping the record Bundesliga champions in the wake of his appointment as head coach for a fourth time.

With a broad grin on his face, Heynckes climbed the steps to the pitch at the Allianz Arena 1596 days after his last match in charge – a 3-2 win over Stuttgart in the DFB Cup final to seal the treble and afford him the chance to bow out into retirement on a high. His return was a joyous one, with the Bavarians running out comfortable 5-0 victors.

Watch: Heynckes gives his thoughts on his first match since coming out of retirement

Yet even for a man of his vast experience, there were nevertheless a few butterflies in the stomach prior to kick-off. "It wouldn't have been normal if I hadn't had a certain amount of tension," he said, before revealing that those very emotions are part of his blueprint for success, helping him connect with his charges: "A coach has to be one with his team. He needs to show the players: 'I'm one of you and am just as tense as you are.'"

Heynckes will have felt the first wave of relief after just eight minutes when Bayern went ahead through a Julian Schuster own goal. Indeed, the outcome of the match rarely looked in any doubt from then on, and further efforts from Kingsley Coman, Thiago, Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich gave the veteran tactician a perfect comeback.

The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena were quick to show their appreciation, serenading the returning supremo with heartfelt chants of "Jupp, Jupp, Jupp!" This time, it did not go unnoticed. "It's nice for anyone when your work is recognised," Heynckes said. "I notice that at the stadium, at Säbener Strasse [Bayern's training complex], at the hotel, or wherever I am. Many people come up to me and say it's nice to have me back."

And yet, as triumphant as his return to the touchline was, Heynckes was characteristically keen to stay grounded: "We cannot and should not get ahead of ourselves after beating Freiburg 5-0. It's a positive start after the last few weeks."

However, in terms of what the result meant for Bayern in the Bundesliga standings, that is something of an understatement. The victory, coupled with Borussia Dortmund's first defeat of the season at home to RB Leipzig later in the evening, means the Reds are now just two points behind BVB, setting the scene nicely ahead of the next instalment of Der Klassiker on Matchday 11.

Before then, though, Heynckes insisted there is plenty of fine-tuning still to do: "I want to continue working with the team and change a few things so that we stay on the right track."

Maximilian Lotz reporting from Munich

Watch: Heynckes' treble-winning season at Bayern

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