Jupp Heynckes: Thomas Tuchel has 'quality' to succeed him at Bayern
Jupp Heynckes reiterated his intention to retire at the end of the season, according to Sport Bild, and talked up former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel as his successor at Bayern Munich.
Bayern appointed Heynckes, 72, as interim coach in October after Carlo Ancelotti's dismissal in the aftermath of a 3-0 defeat away to Paris Saint-Germain in the group stage of the Champions League.
Tuchel, 44, has been out of work since May after leaving Borussia Dortmund in the aftermath of a 2-1 DFB Pokal final victory over Eintracht Frankfurt. After five years in charge at Mainz, he was appointed at Dortmund in April 2015 to replace Jurgen Klopp, who left to manage Liverpool.
"Thomas Tuchel has the quality to coach Bayern." Heynckes said. "I rate Thomas Tuchel. He has continued the progression from the youth teams at Mainz. That is the stairway to success that you must take, learning the correct approach and people skills.
"Under Tuchel, Borussia Dortmund played excellent football with a good system -- all of today's modern footballing elements were there for everyone to see. Tuchel's side finished runners-up, won the DFB Pokal and played attractive football. I had fun watching BVB, that's why I respect and rate him as a very good trainer."
Despite guiding Dortmund to their first trophy in five seasons in May -- to date his only major silverware -- the club dismissed Tuchel three days later amid reports of a rift with the board's hierarchy.
It was also reported Tuchel didn't always see eye to eye with former Dortmund captain Mats Hummels -- now in his second spell at Bayern -- but Heynckes played down Tuchel's problems.
"I've had everything written about me, too," Heynckes said. "Young coaches make mistakes. My God, it happens. Of course, further down the line, Thomas will view one or two things differently, but they are trivialities. Dortmund is no longer playing such great football since Tuchel left and that's what counts."
Heynckes again stressed he would be leaving the club in the summer. When he left Bayern at the end of the 2012-13 season, he said at the time he did not intend to coach again.
"I took over because Bayern were in a difficult situation and weren't able to hire a coach they were convinced in at such short notice," Heynckes said. "Therefore, I said I would do it until the end of the season. That's a binding agreement and I am always for sticking to clear terms.
"When I took over it was rightly asked if a 72-year-old could coach a Bundesliga side. I will turn 73 in the summer and you never know how much time you have left. It was never my plan to coach again. Life doesn't just consist of work."
Because he is planning to leave the club, Heynckes said he was not overly impressed by club president Uli Hoeness' "charm offensive" to try to convince him to stay on for another season.
"I know Uli inside and out," he said. "That won't spoil our relationship, but, for example, at the time, I didn't find the fan voting [to stay as coach] very good. But that is Uli Hoeness. He is also emotional on the podium at the fan club. Nobody could foresee at the time that we would go on a run like this. I know how ambitious Uli is, and he had a dream back then, but not every dream is fulfilled."
Bayern have said they want a German-speaking coach, and Heynckes agreed with those reasons, as the club in the past have often "considered foreign coaches who had already won the Champions League or at least had won the championship with clubs like Barcelona."
He added: "The club knows what it wants, having made the experience that the German language is very difficult for a foreign coach to learn. The club's identity will be better protected with a German-speaking trainer.
"The hierarchy have realised that even if you speak English with the player, you can't go into such detail -- even if you have translation rooms like we had here when I took over as interim coach [in 2009] from Jurgen Klinsmann."
Klopp has been discussed as a potential Bayern coach in the past and Heynckes praised his work at Liverpool.
"He's doing a good job in Liverpool, where there are massive expectations and lots of critics," he said. "He has changed many things but [has] given Liverpool a clear structure and is bringing back success. Their passion and power bear his trademark."
Heynckes also praised a number of other Bundesliga coaches who are considered candidates for the job, including RB Leipzig's Ralph Hasenhuttl, Eintracht Frankfurt's Niko Kovac and Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann, who was once the favourite for the job.
"Undoubtedly, he is a massive coaching talent but he has only just turned 30 and still has lots to learn," Heynckes said.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.