FC Bayern München coach Jupp Heynckes talks to UEFA.com about renewing optimism, "working on new challenges" and forgetting last season's UEFA Champions League final.
FC Bayern München could scarcely have had a more heart-wrenching conclusion to last season, losing on penalties to Chelsea FC in the UEFA Champions League final at their own stadium. Jupp Heynckes, though, is not a man to wallow in disappointment and already has his sights firmly fixed on 2012/13. The venerable coach speaks to UEFA.com about bouncing back, raising spirits and meeting expectations.
UEFA.com: How pleased are you with pre-season so far?
Jupp Heynckes: Things are going rather well considering conditions have not been easy. I have had my entire squad available for one week now, except the injured David Alaba and Rafinha. The lads are working hard and are focused, so there is real competition within the team. I like that, but we still have lots of work to do.
UEFA.com: How have your new signings been accepted within the club?
Heynckes: Our new players – Dante Bonfim, Mario Mandžukić, Xherdan Shaqiri, Claudio Pizarro, Tom Starke and Lukas Raeder – feel very good here. I get the feeling that they like Munich, FC Bayern and their new team.
UEFA.com: What is the mood like at the club?
Heynckes: I hope we can create a spirit of optimism within the team, the entire club and especially among the fans. We haven't won silverware for two years and that is enough. We will do everything to get that final few per cent and then see what happens.
UEFA.com: Before the Bundesliga begins, the first round of the DFB-Pokal takes place from 17 to 20 August. What do you expect from that competition?
Heynckes: Last season we managed to reach the final [where Bayern lost to Borussia Dortmund]. That has to be our goal again. However in this competition, as in the Champions League, you also depend on the draw and on your form on the day. You cannot make up for a bad day or a difficult draw in the next game.
UEFA.com: Who will win the league this term and which team could be the surprise package?
Heynckes: What do you think our fans would say if I said anyone other than FC Bayern? Of course Dortmund are favourites after winning back-to-back titles, but we accept that challenge. I can also see Schalke and Mönchengladbach challenging for the championship again.
UEFA.com: Last season you got to the UEFA Champions League final in your own stadium and lost on penalties. Could that mean heavy legs for the players or extra motivation to take that last step this time?
Heynckes: The Champions League final in Munich has gone, it has to be forgotten. We all had a long break and time to process what happened. Now we are working on new challenges. I am sure we will accept them with enthusiasm and passion.
UEFA.com: What is the minimum goal in this term's UEFA Champions League?
Heynckes: The minimum goal is to have a successful group stage and to reach the round of 16, but that should not be the end of it. Bayern belong among Europe's four strongest teams and we have to confirm that.