BERLIN - Bayern Munich made an explosive
start to the Champions League with a 2-0 win at Spain's
Villarreal in Group A on Wednesday, but for coach Jupp Heynckes
it was equally important to see that his players were having
After almost two seasons under strict disciplinarian Louis
van Gaal, where hard work and obedience was the order of the
day, Bayern players this season are looking far more relaxed and
enjoying their football.
The timing could not have been better given that the
Champions League final is in Munich next year and Bayern are
eager to get a shot at the big prize in front of a home crowd.
"For players at such a level it is important that they have
fun, that they enjoy themselves," 66-year-old veteran coach
Heynckes told reporters.
"They need to be able to express themselves and you have to
make them feel important," Heynckes, in his third spell at
Bayern scored once in each half through Toni Kroos and
Rafinha but could have added at least another three as they
controlled possession against the Spaniards and kept a clean
sheet for the seventh straight game in all competitions.
Even despite injuries to top striker Mario Gomez and
defender Daniel van Buyten, the Bavarians kept pressing and
seemed to have lost none of their offensive spark.
Nils Petersen, who had joined in the summer from second
division Energie Cottbus, made his Champions League debut as a
second half substitute for Gomez and should have also scored his
first European goal after missing two clear chances in a span of
Among those blossoming under Heynckes is Frenchman Franck
Ribery, who set up the first goal and was a constant source of
trouble for the Spaniards.
His performances under Van Gaal had been far more erratic
and his relationship with the "Tulip general" bordering on
"Franck played an outstanding game and if you see it was not
only his offensive play that was fantastic but it was also his
defensive work that was important. Franck is a street
The coach also played down the importance of Gomez's injury
and the gap in attack it could leave if he is ruled out for some
"Ivica Olic is back in two or three weeks and we can always
play with Ribery as a striker," he said with a laugh.
"Look at Barcelona, they don't play with one centre forward.
They can all take over that role."
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