The legacy of Udo Lattek: Most successful manager in Bundesliga history
Udo Lattek left this world on the 1st February, 2015 at the age of 80. He is regarded as the most successful Bundesliga coach of all times and is among the few great managers who won all three major European club competitions; and he is the only one to do so with three different teams.
Lattek holds the record for most Bundesliga titles with eight titles to his credit – six with Bayern Munich and two with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Lattek played football with SSV Marienheide, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and VfR Wipperfurth. In 1962, he joined VfL Osnabruck. There he played in his first season in the first division (the northern division of the "Oberliga"), and the remainder of his time in the second division as the club did not qualify for the new Bundesliga at its inception in 1963.
The centre forward, who was famed for his headers, scored 34 goals in 70 league matches between 1962 and 1965.
Early in 1965, Lattek was prematurely released from his contract to join the German football association DFB as coach for their youth team and besides Dettmar Crameras as one of the assistants to head coach Helmut Schön.
In this role he was part of the coaching staff which led Germany into the final of the 1966 World Cup. He took over at the helm of Bayern Munich in 1970. He led them to three consecutive league titles, a German Cup and won the first of three successive European Cups of his managerial career in 1975.
He took over Mönchengladbach for four years and again enjoyed success, with two championships and a Uefa Cup. He also led them to the 1977 European Cup final, which they lost to Liverpool. He moved to Barcelona in 1981, where he won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1982 and the Copa del Rey, thus completing his triple crown of European titles with three different teams.
He returned to Bayern in 1983 and went on to win another two league titles and two German Cups before stints at Cologne and Schalke. Lattek briefly came out of retirement in 2000 to help Borussia Dortmund avoid relegation in the last three games of the season.
Even after his managerial career was over, Lattek was never far from the game he loved.
Lattek was always known as man who always spoke his mind. He used his huge amount of experience he had garnered over the years as the coach of successful clubs in his successfull 16 years career as a commentator and football analyst on Germany’s popular Sunday morning football show Doppelpass.
The World of Football mourns his death
“Udo Lattek was not only the most successful coach in Bundesliga history,” the German Football Association president Wolfgang Niersbach said in a statement, “Udo Lattek was already during his lifetime a legend and we will miss him.”
“Udo Lattek was one of the most successful German coaches,” said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern’s chief executive. “For decades he was also one of the big personalities of the sport, nationally and internationally. We have lost one of the big men of Bayern Munich, a personal supporter and a friend.”
Franz Beckenbauer wrote on twitter : “The great Udo Lattek is dead. Rest in peace, my friend.”
"German football has not only lost one of its most successful coaches, but also one of its biggest characters," said Cologne president Werner Spinner in a statement. "He will never be forgotten here in Cologne."
FIFA president Sepp Blatter paid his respects to Lattek via Twitter. Blatter wrote: "I heard about Udo Lattek's death in deep sadness. A coaching legend is gone. My sympathy goes out to his family."
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu also tweeted: "Udo Lattek has left us. Barca is in mourning for the man who coached our team at the start of the 1980s. May he rest in peace."
"In Udo Lattek football loses one of the most successful coaches and a great personality," said Monchengladbach managing director Stephan Schippers,"His name is inextricably linked with Borussia success in the late 70s. Our sympathy goes to his family."
Lattek relied on motivation more than his team’s tactics. He rarely changed the team’s tactics in between a game and was always seen on the touchline, shouting, clapping for his players. He kept his players in discipline and made them work hard on the training ground.
He famously had a training ground spat with Diego Maradona during his time at Barcelona as the Argentine, in his opinion, did not work and practice hard enough. Lattek never dwelled on his own failures, and achieved instant success at whichever club he went.
He has been an idol for many managers and will continue to be an inspiration, remembered and quoted for many years to come. The world of football certainly lost one it’s greatest managers on the fateful day of 1st february, 2015.