Heyckes puts friendship on ice

BY foxsports • November 19, 2010

Bayer Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes has no qualms about hurting one of his best friends when his side host Bayern Munich.

Bayern's president Uli Hoeness tempted his long-time friend Heynckes out of retirement to lead his side for the final five games of the 2008-09 season after firing Jurgen Klinsmann.

He was unable to convince him to stay on for the next season, but they have remained close.

That friendship will be put to one side for 90 minutes, however, as Heynckes looks to get one over his former club and friend.

"We are five points ahead of them and it would be good to keep them at that distance or even extend it," he said.

"We are in good form and are at home so I am confident that we can be successful against Bayern."

Heynckes told the Bild newspaper that telephone contact with Hoeness had broken down over the last few days, but that it "is not necessary" to speak with him before the game anyway.

Bayern have not lost to Leverkusen since 2004 and defeat tomorrow would be a case of particularly bad timing as it could leave them as much as 15 points adrift of the summit with only four games to go until the midway stage of the campaign.

The return of Franck Ribery from injury led to renewed optimism in Bavaria last weekend, but he has not really inspired his coach Louis van Gaal.

"I was not happy with Ribery and I told him that," he said after a friendly match with Unterhaching in midweek in which Van Gaal took a look at those players who have been out injured in recent weeks.

"He did not make an effort. Nobody really made an effort, but Ribery even less so.

"I arranged this game for them, not for me."

Mark van Bommel is still labouring with a knee injury and is unlikely to start while Martin Demichelis is also a doubt so Breno could make his first start of the season.

Former Bayern midfielder Michael Ballack is sidelined along with Stefan Kiessling, but Heynckes otherwise has a fully-fit squad to choose from.