BERLIN. When Bayern Munich take on Borussia Dortmund in the first all-German Champions League final on Saturday, it will not only be a clash of footballing cultures but also a showdown of two different coaching styles.
Bayern’s Jupp Heynckes, 68 and at the twilight of his career, is chasing a second Champions League crown and unprecedented treble for a German club in what looks to be his last professional season with Pep Guardiola taking over in July.
Heynckes’ side ran away with the German title this term and in Europe have recovered superbly from the bitter disappointment of losing last year’s final to Chelsea at their home ground.
Nicknamed Osram after the German lightbulb manufacturer for the way his face reddens when agitated, Heynckes otherwise rarely displays his emotions unlike Dortmund boss Juergen Klopp, whose volcanic explosions on the sidelines are common.
The 45-year-old could not be more different in both origin and his approach to the game.
The fair-haired Klopp, who spent most of his playing days at Mainz 05 in the second division, is at the start of what could be a glittering coaching career.
While Heynckes is probably signing off from the game, Klopp is only just making his name on the world stage having created a young and exciting outfit despite financial restrictions at Dortmund since their near bankruptcy in 2005.
What he may lack in international experience he makes up for in exuberance and a smart tactical game plan is reflected in Dortmund’s offensive style of play which helped them to the Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.
Heynckes, a member of Germany’s all-conquering national team of the 1970s, is a product of a philosophy based on discipline, hard work and a constant strive for excellence.
A world-class striker who won the 1972 European Championship and the World Cup two years later with Bayern president Uli Hoeness, Heynckes was schooled as a coach at his home club of Borussia Moenchengladbach, where he also enjoyed huge success as a player.
He joined Bayern Munich in 1987, coaching them to two consecutive league titles in his first spell at the club.
After leaving Bayern, Heynckes went on to spend nearly a decade in Spain where he also enjoyed a 1998 Champions League victory with Real Madrid.
His third stint at Bayern, after a brief spell in 2009, could prove to be his most successful with his team also in the German Cup final against VfB Stuttgart on June 1.
Heynckes, a master in managing big-name players, also excelled in rotation this season with a bigger squad after several buys last year boosted his options considerably.
New signings Dante, a central defender, holding midfielder Javi Martinez and striker Mario Mandzukic all grabbed starting spots instantly while established players such as Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez were kept hungry and often on the bench as they constantly had to prove their worth.
His insistence on every player having to defend and pressing the opponent early on - something that was badly lacking under his predecessor Louis van Gaal - paid off handsomely this season with Bayern conceding only 18 goals in the 34-game Bundesliga campaign to set a league record.
“We are so tuned to success like I have never seen it in any other team before,” said Heynckes. “I have great respect for Dortmund and what they have achieved. But this season we beat them in the German Cup and the (domestic) Super Cup and we drew twice in the league. These results are indicative.”
Dortmund’s defensive operation may be less effective than that of Bayern with Mats Hummels and fellow central defender Neven Subotic often taking risks.
But their speed on the counter-attack, almost legendary in the Bundesliga after only a few seasons, has seen “BVB” pull themselves out of seemingly impossible situations.
Their sensational two goals in stoppage time in their tight victory over Malaga in the Champions League quarter-finals were merely proof that Klopp has long instilled a winning mentality in his young team.
Their 4-1 demolition of nine-time champions Real Madrid en route to a 4-3 aggregate win in the last four confirmed their status as one of Europe’s most in-form teams.
Klopp is close to his players, an almost brotherly figure, with the ability to locate fresh talent and compensate for the loss of key names to bigger clubs.
With the departures of Nuri Sahin and Shinji Kagawa in recent seasons, Klopp brought in the then little-known Ilkay Gundogan, who went on to become a Germany international, and the gifted Marco Reus.
Along with top striker Robert Lewandowski, Klopp boasts Reus and Kevin Grosskreutz in the forward positions with Gundogan, Sven Bender and Jakub Blaszczykowski a constant threat from the second line of attack. Bayern-bound Mario Goetze is injured.
Media-savvy, humorous and emotional, Klopp is exactly the opposite of Heynckes’ old-school rigidity.
Klopp, who took over in 2008 and also won the 2012 German Cup, looks little like other top professional managers in Europe.
Wembley awaits for two very different characters.