Jupp Heynckes recognised his managerial career has undergone an incredible transformation in its twilight years after winning the UEFA Champions League.
The Bayern Munich boss secured the second European Cup of his coaching years on Saturday night after beating German rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.
Conquering the continent will be the perfect send off for Heynckes, who is due to leave Bayern at the end of the season, although it remains to be seen if he retires as planned.
And the 68-year-old admits his career has had a massive change since a caretaker spell at Bayern in 2009 prior to a successful stint at Bayer Leverkusen.
Bundesliga winners Bayern could yet complete an unprecedented Treble for a German club if they win next weekend's domestic cup final and, after lifting the Champions League, Heynckes said: "It's unusual the way we played football this season. No-one could have expected that.
"My career was pretty much over four years ago. I had a couple of good years in Leverkusen with a first-class team and now since last year we've improved continually here.
"We improved a lot of things, modified a lot of things. The product we have is a team spirit like never before. The players understand each other brilliantly."
Bayern made a slow start against Dortmund but took the lead through Mario Mandzukic before Ilkay Gundogan equalised from the penalty spot.
Arjen Robben's late winner settled the contest but Heynckes admitted Bayern had struggled with the tag of favourites in the first all-German European Cup final in history.
"Both teams were under pressure," he said. "It was clear we were the favourites after playing such a great season in the Bundesliga and the favourite role was a burden for us quite clearly in the first 25 minutes."
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