Has Jupp's return gone to plan?
We sat down with @michelmunger from bayerncentral.com to take a look at how Bayern have got on since we last spoke when Ancelotti had just been sacked...
How has Jupp done since taking over from Ancelotti?
Michel: In one word: stellar. Heynckes' task was to stabilize the team as a caretaker and he has over delivered by making FCB runaway Bundesliga champions once more. Many fans and pundits wondered if the veteran still had the mind and physical health to handle coaching duties and it seems that he hasn't missed a beat. The team has a shot at winning the league, the DFB-Pokal and, if lucky, perhaps the Champions League.
Bayern seemed in turmoil when we last spoke, now they look capable of challenging for the CL, how would you rate their chances?
Michel: You probably know as well as I do that the Champions League is an elusive title. You need great timing, a peaking squad and some luck to get the trophy with big ears. Having drawn Sevilla, Bayern have a reasonably good chance to advance to the semis. If they gather momentum, they have a chance. However, they need to sort out the defensive fragility that has plagued the team since the beginning of the season.
How has James Rodriguez adapted? Are we starting to see the best of James?
Michel: It says a lot when Carlo Ancelotti haters admit that the James signing was a great decision made by the Italian coach. James took off in style when Jupp Heynckes returned to the fold, but he has done so in a surprising way. When he joined the Reds, most observers expected him to be a traditional playmaker, or no.10 in football jargon, but he now plays as a central midfielder. His passing, runs, attacking instincts and set-piece skills satisfy. He plays well enough for any Bayern fan to wonder how Real Madrid couldn't find a way to use him.
Bayern swept Dortmund aside recently, how have Bayern managed to recover from their early season turmoil?
Michel: It's all about the Jupp Heynckes methods if you ask me. He is one of those rare coaches who can adapt a team's tactics to any opponent. A few European giants lost to an Heynckes Bayern that defended more than it attacked in his last two stints. That flexibility stands out as one of his biggest assets. At the same time, Heynckes also excels at coaching individuals to make them better, or to make them bounce back. Look at Sven Ulreich, for example. When Manuel Neuer picked up a second major foot injury within a year, Ulreich was a shaky backup. Heynckes restored his confidence, everyone now calls him "Sven the Wall" and we all agree that the club can afford to take its time before making Neuer return to the squad. That is no small feat.
Kimmich has had mixed reviews this season, what do you make of the player?
Michel: Kimmich has big shoes to fill when Philipp Lahm retired and it's normal for him to experience growing pains. Not everybody can become FC Bayern's and Germany's starter at right-back in the same year, playing almost all the time for club and country. Kimmich has already showed great attacking skills but he has to work on the defensive side of things. I am sure that if we have this conversation in a year, we will talk about improvements.
With Goretzka seemingly joining next season, where do you see him fitting in?
Michel: I would expect him to be a part of the rotation in central midfield, perhaps at the expense of the inconsistent Arturo Vidal. He is also an option in attacking midfield, although I would rather see him in the middle, in his natural position.
And finally, what are your predictions for the remainder of the season? UCL chances?
Michel: I firmly believe in winning a double. The DFB-Pokal is certainly within reach because no other team in Germany seems to have what it takes to beat Bayern. Is a treble possible? Perhaps, but it depends on momentum and luck.