Zinedine Zidane and Jupp Heynckes were on opposite sides — and in differing roles — when they met in the 1998 Champions League final. The contrast between the pair is still stark as the German plots a route to the final.
The current bosses of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have each lifted the Champions League trophy twice in their coaching career. But they're separated by 36 years of managerial experience and contrasting ideology and method.
With one infamous exception in 2006, Zidane is renowned for his composed manner and hands-off management style. In his press conference on Monday, he was quick to shrug off suggestions that his side will need to improve to defend their 2-1 advantage in the Bernabeu on Tuesday.+
"One important thing is that we don't have to change," he said in his pregame press conference on Monday. "We just have to keep focused and determined."
The Frenchman's relaxed approach to such a critical occassion chimed with his skipper Sergio Ramos, who laughed his way through his own media appointment moments earlier. It all added up to a sense that Madrid consider themselves favorites, as well they might with two away goals and an opponent beset with injuries.
The role of underdog is not one Bayern Munich are overly familiar with, or entirely comfortable in. But Heynckes, who won one of his two Champions League titles with the Spanish giants in 1998, sounded as if he'd been paying attention to visiting coaches to the Allianz Arena, as he praised his old employers.
"I have to say that tomorrow we are going to face a very tough opponent. We will put on a great fight, we have grown over the months and have a very important goal we want to achieve."
Lip service maybe, but the words rang a little truer than they have when Bayern are facing Augsburg or Mainz, for example. Heynckes knows Bayern, like Real, don't settle for valiant defeats.
The veteran boss was in bullish mood, refusing to let the growing injury list become an excuse and quick to point out his side's impressive goalscoring record this term. He also backed Robert Lewandowski to recapture his form after some criticism in recent weeks but stopped short of ruling out a starting role for Sandro Wagner, perhaps even alongside the Polish frontman.
Read more: Wagner ready to make his mark in Madrid
And unlike Zidane, who was on the losing Juventus side in that 1998 final, Heynckes expects something different from his men, who will be without Arjen Robben, Jerome Boateng and several other first teamers.
"Not changing anything is incorrect in my opinion," the 72-year-old said. "We have to find some balance, some inner peace. We need to be aware of what we need to do at every moment ... and we have to manage the game, that's the art of a great team."
As Heynckes would no doubt accept, great teams are not forged in press conferences, or even by winning domestic titles in a weak league, they are made by games like Tuesday's.
While Zidane could come under pressure should he fail to make it a hat trick of titles, for Heynckes, anything other than an unlikely comeback will mark the end of his career as a Champions League boss. He won't leave anything to chance.