Saturday, 02/04/2011 @ 15:30 (GMT+2) << Time changed in Europe last weekend!
Press conference (Thursday)
Opening Statement Heynckes: Kaiserlautern has not lost any of the last 4 games. They are known for playing in front of their fans to the limit from the 1st to the last minute. Not only that, our opponent is also capable of playing a good ball given the talented players in their team. But Bayer Leverkusen has made progress in the last weeks/months, we are not just a team which plays great football. We have improved both physically and mentally and learned to play against these kind of opponent. My team has been very focused in the training sessions during the 2 weeks break. I am confident that we will see a performance which will enable us to grab the 3 points in play.
Question: Are you happy that finally the speculations on your future have ceased. How did your team react to your decision to coach Bayern Munich next season?
Heynckes: Rudi Völler and Wolfgang Holzhäuser knew some weeks before that I would not extend my contract here. It was good to let the team play those 4 matches (Villarreal-Mainz-Villarreal-Schalke) without knowing my decision. Unfortunately we were eliminated in the Europa League, but against Mainz and Schalke we achieved two important victories in the league. If you look at the reactions of my players in the press you can imagine that it was not easy for them. In these two years we have build a great relationship, it’s understandable that some were disappointed or surprised. That’s why it was best to wait and announce my decision at the beginning of this 2 weeks break. My players and staff had now sufficient time to process this news and will shift their full concentration to the next games.
Question: You said that you will focus on Bayer Leverkusen till the season ends and not answer any question on Bayern Munich. Reading only the newspapers however it seems that you are already coach at Bayern. How do you manage this situation?
Heynckes: You have to know the person Jupp Heynckes, his character and the values he defends. I will not only focus 100% on Bayer Leverkusen, the emotional link towards the club will also not change. Till the end of the season I will burn for Bayer 04. I want to reach with my team the direct qualification for the Champions League. We will achieve this because my team is strong and willing to reach this goal. If you look back to March 1987 when I was coaching Mönchengladbach I also announced that I would leave to Bayern. There were still 10 games ahead of us, we won them all. Of course, you could say that the players were happy that I was leaving. But it has more to do that they felt that nothing had changed. The training sessions and my motivation continued to be as intensive as before. With Bayer it will be the same, however I can’t promise 7 wins. What I can promise that I will try everything possible to bring Leverkusen into the Champions League.
Question: How is Arturo Vidal? He was just running today…
Heynckes: Vidal and Kadlec played two games with their national team. Yesterday both were recovering in the wellness area and today they had a light training session. Both will join the team in the training session tomorrow. All others players have trained to the full extent today. Only M.Friedrich and Gonzalo Castro (knee problem) are injured. Castro is feeling fine but the doctors have said that he should take it easy till next week. He should be again available when we meet St.Pauli.
Hyypiä has often been a question mark this season, according to the german media it’s also not sure whether he will add another year. The Finnish player will take a decision at the end of the season. It is possible that he will become a stand-by player or retire from active football. Being a stand-by player involves him doing an apprenticeship at Bayer for the coaching license, train regularly and play when there is really a need for it because of injuries. In case of retiring he could also decide switching Leverkusen for Finland or Liverpool to do his coaching license there.
Line-up Kaiserslautern (from Kicker):
Ballack will have to pay an 8.000 EUR fine for his “Scheiss FC Cologne” after the Schalke match.
A good article on Heynckes and his conflict of interest: Link
Leverkusen have signed centre-back Ömer Toprak from SC Freiburg for the next season: Link