Soccer

Bayern coach Heynckes leaves future open

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MUNICH (AP)

Veteran coach Jupp Heynckes bid a teary-eyed farewell from Bayern Munich after a historic season on Tuesday and said he has no plans to take over another team next season.

Heynckes said he needed a break after going to the ''limit'' in an eventful season in which he led Bayern to an unprecedented treble - the Bundesliga championship, the German Cup and the Champions League.

Heynckes confirmed that he had been approached by clubs outside Germany, including ''rich clubs where money plays no role.'' But the 68-year-old coach said he had no interest in another club at the moment - although he stopped short of saying he was retiring.

''I am telling you, I will first take a vacation,'' Heynckes said, adding that he did not want to use the word ''final'' when it comes to his career.

He said one of the offers he had received was from a club ''above others'' but did not name it.

Heynckes had been linked with Real Madrid, a former club he had also led to the Champions League title. He will be replaced by former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola at Bayern. Madrid coach Jose Mourinho left to return to Chelsea.

Flanked by club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and the embattled president Uli Hoeness, Heynckes said he'd realized that at his age he needed more time to recover.

Rummenigge, who said Bayern was ''eternally grateful'' to Heynckes, said the outgoing coach had earned his vacation ''more than anyone else.''

Tuesday's news conference was eagerly anticipated in Germany because Heynckes had said after his team won the German Cup on Saturday by beating Stuttgart 3-2 that he would announce a decision over his future at the occasion. But Heynckes left it vague at the end, after he and the two club officials heaped praised on each other.

Hoeness also could be forced out of the club after coming under a tax evasion probe and admitting that he held an undeclared Swiss bank account.

Heynckes leaves with a legacy that will be hard to match even for Guardiola, who will need a perfect season in his debut.

Heynckes' third stint as Bayern coach began with a frustrating season when the team failed to win a trophy and lost the Champions League final at home to Chelsea. But this season was the best in the club's history.

Bayern won the championship with six matches to spare, just one of the multitude of records it set in the domestic season with just one league loss. Then came the 2-1 win over Bundesliga rival Borussia Dortmund - which finished 25 points behind Bayern - in the Champions League final and the German Cup victory that completed the treble.

Hoeness won the Champions League with Real Madrid in 1998, which did not spare him from getting sacked.

He also won the Bundesliga titles with Bayern in 1989 and 1990.

As player, he was a 1974 World Cup winner with West Germany and 1972 European champion, and 1975 UEFA Cup winner with Borussia Moenchengladbach. He also won four Bundesliga titles as a striker for Moenchengladbach in the 1970s.



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