Saturday, July 20, 2013

FC Barcelona’s next manager Jupp Heynckes

With the unsettling and tragic departure of Tito Vilanova, social networks and sports blogs have lit up with speculation about who the next Barça manager will be. The team at fcbarcelonamembers  weighs in on who might be the best man to fill the boots at our storied club.

FC Barcelona’s next manager should be Jupp Heynckes.

When Bayern Munich lost the Champions League final to Chelsea a year ago in such heartbreaking fashion, many managers might have found it difficult to motivate their squads for another go at the trophy. But Jupp Heynckes found energy in defeat, and one year later led his squad to an all-conquering campaign that included Bundesliga, domestic cup, and Champions League titles.

Now the man has the opportunity to channel the same energy into a final chapter in his career that would allow him to lead some of the best players in the world on a collision course with his former team, and to exchange places with the man who replaced him in Germany, Pep Guardiola. What serendipity!

The poetic justice of choosing Heynckes as the new Barcelona manager has incredible power, but there are many practical reasons to offer this man the job as well. First and foremost, he understands the Barcelona system: possession, passing, and intelligent pressing are the foundations of his brand of football. In fact, before the Champions League semi-final draw, he infamously noted, “I know [Barcelona] like the back of my own hand, maybe even better than my own team … I know their philosophy, their system, their tactics and all their players.”

That said, Heynckes would undoubtedly inject a fresh perspective that might be lacking from some of the other Spanish or Catalan contenders. The fact that he was able to so comprehensively dismantle Tito’s Barcelona speaks volumes about his tactical mastery of football at this level.

Another factor in Heynckes’ favor is his deep understanding of Spanish football. He has coached many seasons in La Liga, first at Athletic Bilbao in 1992, and then with unfancied Tenerife who he helped qualify for the UEFA Cup in 1995. In 1998, his Real Madrid squad won the Champions League title. Outside of Spain, Heynckes has coached in Portugal and Germany where he has won three Bundesliga and two Champions League titles. Heynckes might not be a name you’d associate with elite-level football coaches, but his trophy case must command respect.

Finally, Heynckes’ approach to football is the product of an amazing career as a player. He had a distinguished tenure as a striker for Borussia Mönchengladbach where he won a number of titles, including the UEFA Cup; he remains the third leading goalscorer in Bundesliga history with 195 goals. Playing with West Germany, he won the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup titles. Not too shabby!

So, whether you’re voting with your heart or with your head, FC Barcelona’s next manager should be Jupp Heynckes. 

Anybody disagree?