World Football

Top ten most successful German managers of all time

Sachin BhatSachin Bhat

May 6 2021

These master tacticians have accomplished many great things with clubs and country.

Germany has perennially been a hotbed of football. The country has witnessed enormous success with its national sides. Many of its clubs too have reigned supreme in the world’s biggest competitions.

Much of this success is down to generations of talented footballers. But a lot of German managers too have played their part in the making too. Some of them whom have even enjoyed tremendous success abroad.

Talking of the best German players of all-time, the likes of Gerd Muller, Franz Beckenbauer, Miroslav Klose, etc., are some of the names which immediately spring to mind. But who are the best German managers?

Here are the 10 names which stake a very good claim to that:

10. Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp carved a niche in management with Mainz and Borussia Dortmund before joining Liverpool

He may not have seen a successful playing career. But Jurgen Klopp has etched his name amongst the best managers of modern times. Influenced by legendary coaches like Arrigo Sachi and Wolfgang Frank, he’s taken the art of gegenpressing to a new level with Liverpool.

Klopp guided them back to Premier League and Champions League glory. He also led them to their first-ever Club World Cup title. He’s built on from his success at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund. With the latter he’s won numerous domestic titles and even carried them into a Champions League final. 

9. Joachim Loew

After some few trophy-laden spells with Stuttgart, Austria Wien, and Tirol Innsbruck, Joachim Loew moved on to manage the German national team. He was initially the assistant coach to Jurgen Klinsmann for two years, but took over the helm in 2006.

Since then, he’s turned the Die Mannschaft into a global reckoning force, winning the 2014 World Cup too. A few more years later, Loew also guided the side to 2017 Confederations Cup, their first in history. But now, following a series of poor results, he’s set to step down, with the upcoming European Championship being his last international outing with Germany. He will go down as one of the best modern German managers.

8. Jupp Heynckes

Jupp Heynckes spent most of his managing career in the Bundesliga, most successfully with Bayern Munich, where he won seven titles across four stints, including four league trophies and one European cup.

In 2013, he became the first German coach to win the continental treble of Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal Cup, and the Champions League, his second after winning the 1998 edition with Real Madrid. Heynckes retired after that, but came back for a fourth time in 2017 after Carlo Ancelotti was dismissed.

He managed 1,265 matches in all competitions, including 668 in the Bundesliga, where the 71-year old enjoyed 51.35% win success. 

7. Franz Beckenbauer

Beckenbauer won the FIFA World Cup both as a player and a manager

Better known for his accomplishments as a player, Franz Beckenbauer earned the nickname Der Kaiser (‘The Emperor’), for his elegant style and leadership on the field. He is also one of the greatest German managers of all time.

He shares the distinction of winning the World Cup as both a player and a manager with the Brazilian legend Mario Zagallo but has also guided clubs like Marseille and Bayern Munich to league titles. 

6. Otto Rehhagel

Otto Rehhagel shot to fame after guiding the Greece national side to an unlikely European Championship in 2004, which remained the greatest accomplishment of his glittering managerial career which spanned 40 years!

The other 10 sides that he coached were all Bundesliga clubs, including Bayern Munich, but enjoyed the most success with Werder Bremen, where he lifted 11 titles, including two league and European titles.

Rehhagel was known to build his teams on defensive solidity, preferring robustness and height over footballing abilities.

5. Udo Lattek

The late Udo Lattek was one of the most successful managers of the 70s and 80s. He was the only coach alongside Giovanni Trapattoni to win three major European titles – the European Cup, the UEFA Cup, and the Cup Winners’ Cup, but the only one to do so with three different sides.

Stints with Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach also yielded several domestic titles, including eight in the Bundesliga, another record that stands to this day.

4. Dettmar Cramer

Widely known as the ‘football professor’ for his attention to detail, Dettmar Cramer didn’t lift many trophies in his managerial career. But he was renowned for his influence in Japanese football and transforming the fortunes of the sport in the country.

Even though he never managed their national side, Cramer’s philosophies and leadership helped Japan’s national side upset Argentina in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He later set up coaching infractures in the country for general development which has since allowed many players and managers to work from. 

3. Ottmar Hitzfeld

Hitzfeld finished his playing career in Switzerland, where he also cut his teeth as a manager, soon after hanging up his boots. He won two league titles there while playing for Basel. He then lifted two more with Grasshopper as their head coach.

Ottmar Hitzfield led both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund to Champions League glory

His success with the Zurich side landed Ottmar a job at Borussia Dortmund. Then he got the the top job at Bayern Munich. He won a combined 19 titles with the Klassiker sides. Most importantly though, he led both teams to Champions League glory. 

2. Helmut Schon

Much like Joechim Loew, Helmut Schon is also known for his success with the national side, then West Germany. His exceptional career of 14 years with them yielded the 1972 Euro Cup and 1974 World Cup too.

Schon recieved the FIFA Order of Merit in 1984 for his accomplishments with the side, which also reached the finals of the 1966 World Cup and 1976 Euros.

1. Hennes Weisweiler

The fact that Cologne have a training academy after his name tells you everything you need to know about Weisweiler’s influence on German football. Besides managing a fleet of clubs, he has also trained several coaches from around the world, including Jupp Hyenckes . 

Weisweiler’s accomplishments also include 11 titles with eight West German clubs. They include sides like Borussia Monchengladbach and FC Koln. He also managed Barcelona for one season. 

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