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SL's Top Managers: 8- 'Der General'

9. Ottmar Hitzfeld, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich

Lothar Matthaus played under managers like Jupp Heynckes, Franz Beckenbauer, Giovanni Trapattoni and Otto Rehhagel during his stellar career. And so the notoriously mean-spirited German World Cup winning skipper’s praise is not to be taken lightly.

And Matthaus says that Ottmar Hitzfeld is “by the far the best manager of my football life.”

64-year-old German Hitzfeld is currently manager of the Swiss national team, who he led to a shock victory over eventual champions Spain during the group stage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

It was in Switzerland where ‘der General’ made his name as a manager after a distinguished playing career as a striker.

He won a cup title with tiny Aarau in 1985, before ending the six-year trophy drought of local giants Grasshoppers.

From there, Hitzfeld embarked upon an insanely successful career in German club football, which would see him become the third most winning manager of all-time, with a stunning 25 trophies to his name.

In 1991, Hitzfeld took the reins at Borussia Dortmund, and led them to their first Bundesliga title in three decades, halting the Bayern Munich crushing machine. He then led them to another league crown, as well as to their first and only Champions League title, when they beat Juventus in the final in 1997.

It is simply true to say that the current swashbuckling Dortmund side could never have made it to the top of European club football without Hitzfeld’s contribution.

From Dortmund, Hitzfeld naturally moved to Bayern Munich. There he won the Bundesliga title every season from 1998 to 2004, establishing arguably the most glittering era in the Bavarian club’s golden history.

He also won the Champions League once with Bayern in 2001, making him one of only four managers to win the trophy with two different teams.

Twice voted World Coach of the Year, Hitzfeld was also recently elected the best coach Bayern have ever had, as well as the greatest Bundesliga manager of all-time.

Hitzfeld’s trophy collecting may have ceased in 2001, and his stint as Switzerland coach may lack a certain spark. But his legendary place in German club football, and his eye-popping trophy cabinet, mean that 'der General' takes his place in eighth spot on SL’s list of all-time great football managers.

10- Munoz; 9- Clough; 8- Hitzfeld

 

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