Speculation rife over Heynckes′ spending plans for Bayern | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 04.04.2011
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Speculation rife over Heynckes' spending plans for Bayern

Jupp Heynckes doesn't take over as coach of Bayern Munich for more than a dozen weeks. But fans in Germany are already having fun figuring out how to spend the war chest he's been promised.

Jupp Heynckes juggles a football

Heynckes will have to juggle a number of considerations

Bayern potentate Uli Hoeness has said the incoming Heynckes will be given whatever sums are necessary to rebuild the squad that currently sits a disappointing third on the table.

The concrete figure most often mentioned in the press is 60 million euros ($85.4 millions). And after watching Bayern dodge a bullet in their 1-0 home victory over Mönchengladbach on Saturday, most fans probably think an injection of new personnel couldn't come too soon.

Next season is a special one for Bayern. The 2012 Champions League final will be held in Munich, and for reasons of pride alone, the bosses in Säbener Street want their club to at least contend for the title.

But being given a truckload of money is one thing. Spending it wisely is another. So where is the 65-year-old veteran likely to target the bucks? And what should he not be looking to change?

Manuel Neuer

Germany's number one is likely to be wearing Bayern red next season

Neuer in the net?

One thing is clear. There will be moves at the back for Bayern, probably involving the most coveted German player in football.

One particularly conspicuous reason Bayern have faltered this season is their defense. Munich have let in 34 goals thus far in the league, three more than during the entire 2009-10 campaign.

If one believes the scuttlebutt, help is already on the way. Bayern are rumored to have already agreed a deal with Schalke and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who will probably eat up a third of Heynckes' mad money.

But the real defensive weak spots have been a bit further upfield. Bayern have played a number of matches this season with converted midfielders in central defense, and left back Danijel Pranjic is below the usual Munich standard.

A number of names have been touted as reinforcements. Fabio Coentrao of Benfica Lisbon could be a good replacement for Pranjic, but his asking price, 25 million euros, is steep for a defender and he's untested in a league as big as the Bundesliga.

The safer bet might be to bring in right back Gregory van der Wiel from Ajax Amsterdam and shift Philipp Lahm back to the left. Germany national Jerome Boateng, who hasn't seen much playing time at Manchester City, is another potential option.

Heynckes will also probably invest in a central defender, as 33-year-old Daniel van Buyten is nearing the end of his career. And the new coach has to try to restore the confidence of youngster Holger Badstuber, whose self-belief has taken a knock this season under Louis van Gaal.

Arjen Robben scores

Bayern need an understudy for Robben, right

Replacements on the wing

Expect some personnel changes in the middle of the pitch as well.

Bayern are deep in defensive midfield, but Heynckes could be tempted to bring along Arturo Vidal with him from Leverkusen when he moves south this summer.

Nonetheless, Munich's chief need is for quality plan B players in case their oft-injured wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery get dinged up again. Robben's game-winner against Gladbach, which was assisted by Ribery, once again underscored the importance of these two stand-out talents.

Kaiserslautern's Ivo Ilicevic has been repeatedly mentioned as a potential substitute. But Heynckes will face the challenge of convincing players who could start for other clubs to take a secondary role in Munich.

That's assuming, of course, that Heynckes sticks with the 4-3-3 system favored by van Gaal. If he doesn't, other options – and problems - present themselves.

Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov

Heynckes might choose to bring Berbatov, left, back to Germany

Dilemmas up front

Van Gaal's system only had room for one true striker, and this season Mario Gomez finally established himself as the team's clear number one. That's left Miroslav Klose on the bench grumbling. He was thought to be on the way out.

But Heynckes has hinted that Klose might stay. And even should Germany's number forward depart, the new coach could move to bring fresh blood at forward.

The most intriguing name to crop up in this context is Dimitar Berbatov, who will have but a lone year left on his contract at Manchester United. The Bulgarian knows the Bundesliga, having played for five-and-a-half seasons at Leverkusen.

He's coming off a career year and as a speedy dribbler, he could harmonize with Gomez better than Klose.

The problem with reverting to a 4-4-2, though, is that it would entail benching one of the defensive midfielders, Thomas Müller, Robben or Ribery - none of them particularly appealing options. And it would render the future of Ivica Olic, the hard-working forward who will try to return from injury for the 2011-12 season, very murky.

And that, in a nutshell, is Heynckes' problem. He has to try to improve the disappointing Bayern team of this season while preserving the qualities of the side that was a single game from winning a triple one year ago.

Heynckes is known as a players' coach, and in building up the Leverkusen squad currently in second over the previous two years, he's been an astute judge of talent as well.

But at Bayern Munich, he faces a very different task at a club with much higher expectations. And when he spends the 60 million put at his disposal, he'll have to live with the idea that he'll probably make a few enemies as well as friends.

Author: Jefferson Chase
Editor: Nicole Goebel

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