After a strange season ridden with uncertainty, the UEFA Champions League has finally come to an end with Bayern Munich winning their sixth continental title. They were pitted against first-time finalists Paris Saint-Germain and prevailed victorious against the French champions to record their second domestic treble — their second over the last eight years.
Hans-Dieter Flick has had a monumental role to play in their historic treble win, as the German transformed how Bayern approached the game.
Perhaps the most astonishing part about Flick's tenure so far is the fact that this is his first season as head coach of Bayern, a top-flight team, in his career. His only managerial roles so far have been with Viktoria Bammental as player-manager and at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, back when they were in the fourth tier of German football.
Despite his inexperience, the German guided the Bavarians to the promised land in his first attempt at the club and kickstarting a new era at the Allianz Arena. Here, we take a look at five managers who won the UCL in their first spell as a full-time manager at a club, beginning with the most recent such occurrence.
#5 Hans-Dieter Flick | Bayern Munich
Until November 2019, this Bayern Munich side didn't look like a team that would match the heights that they eventually did, let alone do so in such explosive fashion. They were plagued with doubts over the future of then-manager Niko Kovac, who was ultimately sacked a day after an embarrassing 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Flick joined Bayern at the start of the season as an assistant to Kovac and took over the reins after the Croat's sacking, and since that moment, there has been no looking back for club or manager. The 55-year-old sparked the German champions back to life, drastically changing the way they played the game.
Flick's rendition of the same Bayern Munich squad that lost 5-1 to Frankfurt has been nothing short of breathtaking as they look stronger, sharper, and deservedly won the crown of being the best team in Europe. The Bavarians played 36 games under Flick in all competitions, winning 33 of them, losing two and drawing one. The UCL winners scored a staggering 116 goals in this period and let in just 26 goals. One of the most remarkable managerial debuts at a club across any era of football.
#4 Roberto Di Matteo | Chelsea
Italian midfielder Roberto Di Matteo plied his trade at Stamford Bridge as a player from 1996 to 2002, the longest spell at any club he endured as a player. Nine years after his six-year period and retirement at Chelsea, he returned to London as an assistant to Andre Villas-Boas, and rather poetically, took over as head coach a decade after his departure in the wake of the Portuguese's sacking.
Chelsea suddenly began to look like a team brimming with imagination and inspiration as the Blues overturned a two-goal deficit against Napoli in the UCL last 16. Chelsea lost the first-leg 3-1 and put on a show after beating the Italians 4-1 in the reverse fixture. After an incredibly dramatic win against Barcelona in the semi-finals, Di Matteo guided Chelsea to their biggest-ever achievement since the turn of the century.
The Blues were tasked with beating then-four time champions Bayern Munich in their own backyard to win their first UCL title under Roman Abramovich's ownership. An unbelievably resilient Chelsea side held on until the 83rd minute until Thomas Muller broke the deadlock, only to see it cancelled out by Didier Drogba at the other end just five minutes later. Chelsea eventually won on penalties, with Petr Cech saving two penalties. Di Matteo won the UCL and eventually left later on in 2013.