Jupp Heynckes: The German Master Tactician’s All-Time Best XI

Jupp Heynckes is number 32 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next seven weeks. You can find Jack Spedding’s career overview he​re.

During his near 40 year managerial career which consisted of 1,265 games, Jupp Heynckes coached some of the greatest players that European football has ever seen.

His style meant that the team was often the star rather than individual players, but his legacy will be remembered as someone who got the absolute best out of already brilliant players, with German icon Franz Beckenbeur stating that Heynckes’ treble winning side of 2013 was “Bayern’s greatest team.”

He is the only German to win the treble, mainly thanks to building a hugely solid defence with everyone giving their all to give Bayern an unmatched desire to conquer all before them.

This team be in the 74-year-old’s most used formation of 4-2-3-1, and will focus primarily on that side, as well as his other Champions League winning team Real Madrid, who he led to victory in 1998.

Goalkeepers and Defenders

Philipp Lahm

Manuel Neuer (GK) – His powers may have waned slightly in recent years, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that the World Cup winner is one of the great goalkeepers of his generation. His ‘sweeper keeper’ tendencies changed the way goalkeeping will be looked at forever, and he was a huge figure in that treble winning side.

Philipp Lahm (RB) – Arguably the greatest right-back of the 21st century. Lahm was instrumental as a captain and as a world class footballer as he helped lead Bayern to that historic feat, as well as becoming a World Cup winning skipper a year later. His influence on any side he played in should not be underestimated.

Fernando Hierro (CB) – The Spaniard played over 400 times for Madrid and was a key part of the defence that helped deliver Los Blancos first European Cup for 32 years. An intimidating player and one of Spain’s great defenders.

Jerome Boateng (CB) – Another World Cup winner, Boateng’s pace would bail Bayern out on the rare occasion that they would get caught out. A superb all-round defender who’s calmness on the ball would frustrate the opposition no end.

Roberto Carlos (LB) – Spoiled for choice at left back with the likes of Andreas Brehme and David Alaba also playing under Heynckes, but the Brazilian was a special player. His ability going forward was incredible and he was one of the first names on the team sheet during Madrid’s European Cup winning season.


Arjen Robben

Lothar Matthaus (CDM) – He may have only played under Heynckes for one season, but the German was an incredible player. One of the great defensive minds to ever play the game, Matthaus was a brilliant midfield general. 

Bastian Schweinsteiger (CDM) – One of Bayern Munich’s greatest sons, the World Cup winner had every trait you could want in a central midfielder, and Heynckes was always quick to recognise just how good he was.

Arjen Robben (RM) – Three things are certain in life: death, taxes and Arjen Robben cutting in on his left foot and shooting. It was always predictable, and yet no one seemed able to stop it. The Dutchman was sensational during that historic season, which was capped off when he scored the winner against Dortmund in the Champions League final at Wembley.

Clarence Seedorf (LM) – Possibly harsh on Franck Ribery this, but just on pure enjoyment level to watch, the Madrid legend gets the nod. His skill and trickery was always a nightmare for defenders to cope with, but his elegance and intelligence put him among Heynckes’ elite players.


Robert Lewandowski

Raul (SS) – Largely considered one of Spain’s and Real Madrid’s greatest ever players, Raul was so much more than a striker who liked to scored goals. His flair and linkup play with pretty much any striker he played with made him a beloved icon at the Bernabeu.

Robert Lewandowski (ST) – The sheer relentless rate at which Lewandowski scores goals is the reason he gets the nod up top. He only played for less than a season under Heynckes, but he bagged an incredible 29 goals in 30 Bundesliga matches in that time. His finishing ability and knowledge of where to be at the right time, make him one of the best number nine’s of the decade.

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