Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes hints he could stay in charge next season
MUNICH -- Bayern Munich interim coach Jupp Heynckes has not ruled out staying with the Bundesliga champions beyond next summer.
Heynckes, 72, is back for a fourth spell in charge after Carlo Ancelotti's dismissal following the Champions League defeat at Paris Saint-Germain.
Asked whether he could still be at the helm next season, Heynckes told a news conference before his side's trip to Hamburg: "I knew that I would get asked this but it's too early for such a question.
"As everyone who knows me knows when I say, I will take over on an interim basis until next summer, this is the case. Because it's a huge task. Normally it wouldn't be possible for a trainer of my age, but you are only as old as you feel.
"I have always kept myself fit and coped well with the pressure, both as a player and as a coach. Football has always been fun.
"At the moment, it's for a limited time and we will leave it like this and I will make no further comment because I have a clear agreement until next summer and nothing else."
Heynckes praised Thomas Muller's improved form after his fine display in the midweek Champions League win over Celtic, saying: "He was more and more involved in the game, not just scoring a goal but his running and sprints.
"He also tracked back well and, as a captain, set a good example. He has to be become one of our consistent performers, as he used to be.
"He was vital in that game, and he's on the way to becoming his old self again."
Muller had a difficult time under Ancelotti, enduring a 999-minute run without a goal last season, and Heynckes added: "It was very interesting when the change in trainer happened and I accepted the job.
"Players contacted me, which doesn't always happen. Thomas was with the international [Germany] side then, but he contacted me and we spoke.
"Normally he definitely would not be the sort of player to seek a conversation with the coach. He knows what to do or he always knew what to do, so I found that interesting."
Heynckes said the extent of Bayern's winter training camp in Qatar would hinge on whether they progress in the DFB Pokal against RB Leipzig next week.
He added: "If we don't win, then our final Bundesliga game [before the winter break] is on Dec. 16 or 17. I have two scenarios in my mind, one if we qualify for the next round, the other if we exit.
"Bayern has an obligation to go to Qatar but it will be done how I want it to be done. I will speak with those responsible, but it definitely will not last 10 days. We will be back home by the New Year."
Meanwhile, Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann, 30, told Sport1 he would listen to any advice from Heynckes.
Earlier this week, Heynckes urged Nagelsmann to remain at Hoffenheim for a few more years, hinting that it was inevitable he would end up at Bayern in future.
"Every person has to gain experience. I am always open to advice from anyone. Jupp Heynckes is a very experienced coach, therefore of course I will listen," Nagelsmann said.
"I have said a great deal on this subject [links with Bayern] but I have never got annoyed.
"I just find it bizarre that it is interpreted in so many different ways."
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.