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May 31, 2012

Hoeness backs Bayern coach

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has backed Jupp Heynckes to be successful at the club and dismissed concerns over the coach's age.

Heynckes, 67, returned to Bayern, where he had been in charge between 1987 and 1991, to begin a second spell last summer.

The Bavarian club have gone two years without winning a trophy but came within a penalty shootout of winning the Champions League against Chelsea earlier this month.

Hoeness launched a strong defence of Heynckes, saying he was "no lame duck" and describing him as "a very respected and hard-working coach who always gives 100%."

He said: "From day one, people are asking: who is going to succeed Heynckes? But overall, under his guidance, the team has made the fans very happy."

When he took the job, Heynckes made it clear that it would be his final role as a coach, but Hoeness said it was not necessarily true that meant he would retire when his contract expires at the end of next season.

"I think this discussion about our coach's age is an absolute scandal," Hoeness told Welt newspaper. "There is only one argument - is he good or bad?

"Alex Ferguson is 70, and his Manchester United side were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage, and then the worst thing that can happen to him in Manchester happened with City winning the title. I have not read anywhere that Ferguson should leave.

"We should be relaxed about this issue at FC Bayern, but at the same time we must protect our people."

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