It wasn't quite the celebration they wanted, but Bayern Munich fans lined the city's streets to wave goodbye to the retiring Jupp Heynckes on Sunday. Amid the farewells, there was talk of next season's transfer plans.
A visitor to Munich who missed Saturday's thrilling German Cup final could be forgiven for thinking that Bayern and not Eintracht Frankfurt had been victorious in Berlin.
About 15,000 fans of the German champions lined the streets of the Bavarian capital on Sunday to say goodbye to coach Jupp Heynckes once again, with the 73-year-old coach to retire after being tempted back for one last crack at the Bayern job last October.
“The lads have worked superbly all year,” Heynckes said. “It was quite easy for me. The players showed me so much respect. We worked together so harmoniously. We all came together.”
The three-time Bayern boss thanked the club's supporters outside the city hall and lifted the Bundesliga's shield to great acclaim. There was little escaping the fact that his successor Niko Kovac had spoilt the party somewhat but Heynckes said he still considered his final season in the dugout a success.
Just the one for Jupp in final season
"If you are clear German champions, if you are a few centimeters away in the Champions League final and in the DFB Cup final, then I'm not going to let anything bad to be said about this outstanding season," he said.
The night before, Bayern's keeper Sven Ulreich had admitted to a sense of disappointment at not securing a second German Cup title for Heynckes, the first coming in the famous treble season of 2012-13.
"We all wanted a different game to wish him farewell and end with a trophy. He’s the greatest coach Germany has ever seen,” Ulreich said.
Center back Mats Hummels was equally downbeat: "I thought we'd only do that [celebrate on Sunday] if we won the cup. I'll be honest, I don't need that after losing a final."
Heynckes' trophy haul as a boss makes Ulreich's claim a legitimate one. As well as four Bundesliga titles, a UEFA Cup and a World Cup as a player with Borussia Mönchengladbach and West Germany, Heynckes has picked up four Bundesligas, two Champions League titles and several other cups in his time with Bayern and Real Madrid but said the time is right to call it a day.
“I’m not 45 or 50. I understand my own strengths. At 73, you don’t know how long you’ve got left. I’d like to enjoy my life again starting next week,” he said.
Kovac tasked with improving existing players
Bayern's thoughts now turn to Kovac, who returns to the club where he played between 2001 and 2003. But, it seems he won't be presented with a ready-made superstar for his first season in charge.
Bayern president Uli Hoeness said on Sunday that he expects Kovac to work harder on "making our players better" and isn't expecting a major outlay in the close season.
"We need a player or two who can do a great job in important games and not when playing against the weakest opponents, and that's what we need to work on," Hoeness said.