VILLARREAL - A first appearance in
the Champions League since guiding Real Madrid to their 1998
European Cup triumph has failed to fire the imagination of
veteran Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes.
The 66-year-old led Real to their seventh European crown in
his first season at the Bernabeu, with a 1-0 final win over
Juventus 13 years ago, but has not returned to the continent's
top club competition since.
He avoided a potential banana-skin by steering Bayern past
FC Zurich in the play-offs last month, and opens his Group A
campaign with a trip to Spanish side Villarreal on Wednesday.
"I can't get worked up about it. I've experienced everything
in European competition as a player and a coach," Heynckes, a
World Cup and European championship winner as a player with West
Germany, told reporters at the Madrigal on Tuesday.
"My approach is professional and unemotional.
"The games against Zurich were definitely an appetiser."
Heynckes returned for a third stint as Bayern coach in July
and has to shoulder the added burden of expectation with this
year's Champions League final being played at Bayern's Allianz
Arena next May.
After a shock opening day defeat in the league, Bayern have
been in impressive form registering six straight wins in all
competitions, scoring 19 goals and conceding none.
Villarreal may not have the profile of Bayern, Manchester
City or Napoli, their Group A rivals, but they have an
impressive record from only two previous Champions League
In their 2005/06 debut they went all the way to the
semi-finals and two years ago they fell in the quarter-finals,
both times to Arsenal.
In contrast to laid back Heynckes, Villarreal coach Juan
Carlos Garrido was clearly excited at the prospect of his first
venture into the Champions League.
"We know we have been picked in a very difficult group with
teams who are currently the best in the world," he told
"This is the Champions League and if you want to achieve
something you have to fight hard. We have absolute belief in our
possibilities and playing against Bayern is a massive
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