Former Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal has hailed the turnaround inspired by Jupp Heynckes and told Sport Bild he can win the Treble this season.
Van Gaal, 66, coached Bayern from 2009 until 2011, winning the Bundesliga in his debut season and reaching the 2010 Champions League final.
He was dismissed in April 2011 after a disappointing run of results, with Heynckes replacing him as head coach and guiding Bayern to the Treble in 2013.
“It’s unbelievable what Jupp is doing again,” Van Gaal said. “The management team of [CEO Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge and [president Uli] Hoeness did the right thing and put faith in his experience.”
Heynckes, 72, took over as interim coach until the end of this season following the dismissal of Carlo Ancelotti.
Since beginning a fourth term in October, he has led Bayern to 22 wins in 24 games but is expected to leave at the end of the campaign.
“I don’t see any young German trainer like [Julian] Nagelsmann and [Thomas] Tuchel in this role. Bayern is a top club which isn’t easy to manage,” Van Gaal said.
“Heynckes has showed everybody again what he is capable of. He can win the Bundesliga, the German Cup and even the Champions League.
“He hasn’t lost his qualities from the Treble-winning season just because he has got older.”
Van Gaal said a strained relationship with Hoeness had been a stumbling block during his time in Germany.
“Hoeness and I had a massive argument,” he said. “Hoeness wanted [Philipp] Lahm to continue to play on the left, but history has proved me right.
“Lahm won the Champions League and a World Cup at right-back.”
Thomas Muller has said Van Gaal “had the biggest influence” on his career, but the coach said he had been criticised for picking the inexperienced player and claimed Hoeness told his wife: “Your husband has chosen the wrong team again.”
“It was the same with David Alaba,” he said. “His mistake in the final minute caused Nuremberg’s equaliser and also led to my dismissal. Today, Alaba is one of the greatest talents Bayern possess.”
Van Gaal also said there had been differences with Hoeness over his “golden rule” that the team is more important than the individual.
“Uli Hoeness has a special relationship with certain players, talking regularly to them and fighting their cause, like [Franck] Ribery, for example, who according to Herr Hoeness must always play,” he said.
“That’s not good for a coach, in my opinion. The team is the most important thing and not an individual player. Hoeness and I differ in this respect.”
Asked whether he would like to coach Bayern again, Van Gaal said: “I’ve always come back — at Barcelona, with the Netherlands national team, Ajax Amsterdam, AZ Alkmaar.
“But Bayern? I don’t think so. As long as Uli Hoeness is at the club, I will not work there again.”
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.