5 greatest football managers of all time
A coach or manager is of paramount importance in football. The stature and clout of an elite manager exceeds that of an elite player at times because a top player is often replaceable, but a top manager might not be.
A great manager can make a big difference in a team with his innovations, training methods, and strategic changes. He can revive the fortunes of a struggling team, or take an ordinary team to greater heights. Either way, he can prove himself to be invaluable for a football team.
There have been a lot of great coach/managers in football over the decades, but only a handful of them have been able to achieve immortality. They are the ones who have won a lot of accolades, honors, and titles for the teams they have managed, and etched their names permanently in the annals of football. We would take a look at 5 such managers in this article:
#5. Ottmar Hitzfeld:
The stature and clout of Ottmar Hitzfeld can be gauged from the simple fact that he is called “Gottmar” in his homeland Germany and “Gott in German means God. Hitzfeld remains the greatest manager his country has ever produced and won every possible title at club level.
Hitzfeld was a moderately successful player for Bundesliga club VFB Stuttgart, and started pursuing a managerial career in 1983. He became the coach of Borussia Dortmund in 1991 and took the club to unprecedented heights. Dortmund reached two successive UEFA Champions League finals, and won the title in 1996-97, beating Juventus in the final.
Hitzfeld then took the charge of Bayern Munich and again took them to a couple of Champions League finals in 3 years from 1998-99 to 2000-01. They lost to Manchester United 1-2 after having conceded two goals in the injury time of the 1998-99 Champions League final. However, they made amends by beating Valencia in penalties in the 2000-01 final and winning the trophy.
Hitzfeld’s teams reached 4 Champions League finals in 5 years, which is a remarkable achievement by any standard. He also won 7 Bundesliga titles in his coaching career and started coaching the Swiss national team in 2008 and made them qualify for two successive World Cups in 2010 and 2014. Switzerland actually qualified for the 2014 World Cup without losing a match in the qualifying campaign.
The septuagenarian Hitzfeld does not coach anymore but remains one of the very few managers to have won the Champions League with two different clubs. He used to be a mathematics professor and was well-known for his tactical acumen. He is revered and respected by the football fraternity, and has inspired many footballers and managers in Germany.