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European giants Bayern hungry for more success

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Jupp Heynckes is plotting for more than just another Bundesliga title © dpa/AFP/File / Andreas Gebert

BERLIN, Germany, Apr 9Less than 24 hours after securing a sixth successive Bundesliga title, Jupp Heynckes cut Bayern Munich’s celebrations short as they aim for a seventh Champions League semi-final appearance in nine seasons.

“We want to take everything this season that there is to take — and this team has got big ambitions,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Only Real Madrid and AC Milan have enjoyed more success on the continent than five-time European champions Bayern, who are bidding for a second treble in five years.

Thiago Alcantara’s headed winner earned Bayern a 2-1 victory at Sevilla in last week’s quarter-final first leg, leaving the Germans in control going into Wednesday’s return at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern clinched a record-extending 28th German league title on Saturday with a 4-1 thrashing of Augsburg to continue their domestic dominance that dates back to 2012.

But the following day, those not involved from the start in Augsburg — including Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller, Javi Martinez and Mats Hummels — were put through their paces on the training ground.

“It’s nice to see how everyone worked hard (at Augsburg),” said Mueller.

“This will has been with us for the whole season, we hope it will carry us a bit further.”

With the Bundesliga wrapped up, Bayern turn their focus to Europe.

Since the Bavarians lost the 2010 final to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan, only holders Real Madrid have reached the last four of the Champions League more often than Bayern.

The Spanish giants have managed it seven times in eight seasons, while Bayern have done so on six occasions.

Bayern missed out on the semi-finals a year ago, losing to Real in the quarter-finals, and in 2011 when they were knocked out in the last 16 by Inter Milan.

The 72-year-old Heynckes led Bayern to the 2013 Champions League title when Arjen Robben scored the winner in a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

Under Heynckes’ successor Pep Guardiola, Bayern were knocked out at the semi-final stage in each of his three seasons — every time at the hands of Spanish opposition.

Heynckes replaced Carlo Ancelotti in October after Bayern were crushed 3-0 away by Paris Saint-Germain in the group stage.

Franck Ribery got his hands on an eighth Bundesliga title — joining former Bayern stars Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger © dpa/AFP/File / Andreas Gebert

At the time, Bayern trailed then-leaders Dortmund by five points in Germany.

“When he took over, Jupp said that it would be difficult to make up the five points — now we have more than 20 on Dortmund,” beamed Rummenigge.

“The team and Jupp did a great job.

“What I like about this team, it goes on, on and on and is not arrogant.

“The team is already focused on Wednesday — we really want to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.”

Bayern could yet repeat their 2013 treble, as they face Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals of the German Cup later this month for a place in the May 19 showpiece.

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