Victory for the German champions would set the bar high for Pep Guardiola after the veteran coach felt he was forced out
Jupp Heynckes was irritated and who could blame him? Midway through the season, Bayern Munich had announced the manager's time would be up in the summer; that he would be replaced by the younger, better-looking and more talented Pep Guardiola, the very mention of whose name these days feels as though it needs to be prefaced by a drumroll. It certainly did on 16 January, when Bayern basked in their stunning coup.
Heynckes's time in the game at large would also be up. After 50 years as a world-class, World Cup-winning West Germany striker and a pretty successful manager, the club said he would be retiring, which has become the thing to do in football this year.
The 68-year-old was not cool about that aspect of the announcement. Bayern wanted to show he was not being pushed aside for Guardiola, the previously all-conquering Barcelona coach; that he was departing on his terms and at the end of his two-year contract. It was natural and organic. Heynckes, though, did not think it was Bayern's place to confirm officially what had been percolating in his thoughts for several months.
What has happened since has given rise to two clear impressions. First, Heynckes is determined to bow out in a blaze of unprecedented glory. And second, he wants to make it fiendishly difficult for anybody, even Guardiola, to follow him. The Catalan may yet be primed to step into the impossible job.
The notion will gather momentum if Heynckes can lead Bayern to victory in Saturday's all-German Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley and then beat Stuttgart in the domestic cup final next Saturday. The Bundesliga title has long been secured; Bayern finished 25 points ahead of Dortmund in second. Bayern have never done the treble.
It has been a breathtaking season for the club, in which they have rolled over opponents with the force of a juggernaut. Their league record bears printing in full and it demands a moment of awed reflection: P34 W29 D4 L1 GF98 GA18 PTS 91. Since the Guardiola announcement, they have been practically flawless.
In 25 matches in all competitions, the only blots have been the 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal in the Champions League last 16 second-leg (they progressed on the away goals rule) and the 1-1 league draw at Dortmund on 4 May.
Heynckes's finest hour, or hours, came in the 7-0 aggregate battering of Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final and the related shattering of the Guardiola-inspired mystique. His focus is now trained on Dortmund but the chance to shout his last hurrah in one or two faces makes for an intriguing sub-plot.
From the outside looking in, it would appear that Heynckes has the ability to make life wonderful and a little awkward for Bayern.
Heynckes wonders whether he has had the credit that he deserves this season and he has sought, on a couple of occasions, to talk himself up, which is out of character but motivated, perhaps, by an element of frustration.
He said recently that none of the club's higher-ups knew who Javi Martínez was when the midfielder signed last summer for €37m. "Franz Beckenbauer [the honorary president] thought we were talking about a coffee brand," Heynckes said, while there has been friction with the club president, Uli Hoeness, and the sporting director, Matthias Sammer, who was appointed above him last summer.
There has been so much to like about Heynckes this season, particularly the even-handed treatment and rotation of a squad containing huge personalities and which has the capacity to be difficult. If there is not wholesale devotion towards him in the dressing room, there is admiration and respect.
Heynckes has made tactical tweaks from last season, promoting greater organisation and more aggressive pressing, and they have helped the club to recover from what was a disastrous period. Runners-up in the league, cup and Champions League added up to failure.
It was the unacceptable hat-trick that set in motion the managerial succession. In came Sammer and the wooing of Guardiola began, which Heynckes came to be aware of. But Bayern would make the same decisions again and they do not feel remotely discomfited by the prospect of having to wave off the manager who made history. They would simply luxuriate in the collective achievement and believe that they could be better still under Guardiola.
Will Heynckes really walk away from the game? When he won the Champions League in 1998, at the end of his one season in charge of Real Madrid, he was sacked, despite it being the Spanish club's first such triumph in 32 years.
Heynckes's managerial career is pockmarked by shotgun dismissals, including the one in 1991, after the first of his three spells at Bayern.
This is a man who always seems to have one last point to prove. He says that he has offers. Real have been in touch. It is more than likely, though, that he will step down with the dignity that is so readily associated with him. The European Cup would be quite the sign-off.