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Ottmar Hitzfeld
Gender Male
Ethnic German
Job German Football Coach
Desc It’s a title bestowed upon you that is achieved through no less than total dedication, loyalty and a burning desire to give your heart and soul to the cause. Ottmar Hitzfeld earned legendary status, not once, but twice, with the two biggest clubs in German football. Firstly at Borussia Dortmund and then Bayern Munch, the man’s supreme marshalling of his troops ultimately meant he obliterated all the competition on a march towards the upper echelons of German football. Brushing aside those in his way, he won everything with Die Borussen, before eventually repeating the feat in Bavaria. On a one-way trajectory towards Bundesliga royalty, Hitzfeld now stands in a league of his own


Club as Coach Borussia Dortmund
  Bayern Munich

2015 10 11 Retrieve

[Legendary coach Ottmar Hitzfeld on turning down the chance to take charge at the Santiago Bernabeu] I turned down the chance to take charge of Real Madrid after we had won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund in 1997. I lost a fair bit of sleep over that decision. But in the end I thought ‘I will get fired before I even get the chance to learn Spanish’

2016 04 28 Retrieve

[Ottmar Hitzfeld slams Pep Guardiola over Thomas Muller drop] Muller is for Bayern what Messi is for Barcelona

2016 04 30 Retrieve

[Ottmar Hitzfeld says Mats Hummels move logical] To me, this would be a logical transfer - especially for Mats and Bayern. It would be a great acquisition for those in Munich. He can win trophies consistently, not only the Bundesliga, but he’ll have the chance to get the Champions League every year. Bayern would be attractive for Mats because he can play alongside Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer is in goal behind them

For BVB, it’s extremely bitter, because another top performer is leaving the team. Hummels was not simply a captain, he’s a leader, a role model, the head of the team

2017 01 17 Interview

[q: Ottmar Hitzfeld, do you think FC Bayern will run away with the title or will it be a tight race at the top?] Bayern play four of their next five league games away from home, while Leipzig play three of their next four at home, so I think it will still be tight for another few weeks. But Bayern will stay top of the league because overall they simply have more quality. Carlo Ancelotti experimented a lot in the first half of the season but he’ll know his favoured formation now. I’m convinced Bayern will only get better from now on

[q: ill Leipzig continue to cause a sensation?] I think Leipzig are the only side that can challenge Bayern this season, as the others are just too far off the pace now. I don’t think Leipzig will ‘do a Hoffenheim’ and fall away [TSG were top of the table at the halfway mark in 2008/09 but ended up finishing seventh] because this Leipzig team is very stable and solid. Experience plays a big part and it will be interesting to see how they react if they lose two or three games, but they have those home matches coming up so that should help them find their rhythm quickly

[q: Can Dortmund still finish above Leipzig?] I think BVB definitely have enough to finish in the automatic Champions League qualifying places, and that has to be their aim, but they’ve not met their expectations so far this season. They’ve had injuries but the squad is big enough to compensate for that - they’ve simply lost games and dropped points unnecessarily. I think they’re the only side that can challenge Leipzig [for second place]

[q: Hertha Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt and Hoffenheim have all surprised us this season. Which team do you think has the best chance of finishing in the top four?] All three of them have played to their limits this season and I don’t think they’ll all be able to play so consistently well over the second half of the season. However, if I had to pick one, I’d say Frankfurt. They have a strong team, good variation in attack and it seems a more relaxed environment than at the other two clubs. Niko Kovac is also doing tremendous work as coach

[q: Can the traditionally bigger clubs like Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Schalke, Wolfsburg and Gladbach still qualify for the Champions League?] All of those clubs are under massive pressure after a weak Hinrunde, so if they suffer any setbacks, it will be very hard to compete for the European places. They can’t really afford to lose games, and I think it will be hard for them to produce top performances. But if I were to pick one of them, it would be Leverkusen. Again, the climate there seems to be calmer and more relaxed, which isn’t always the case for Schalke, while Gladbach and Wolfsburg are too far behind now

2017 01 19 Retrieve

[Ottmar Hitzfeld on replacing Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery] Bayern are already preparing for the future, but Robben and Ribery are guaranteed starters when they are fit. You cannot replace players like them from one day to the other. They are not only top players, but are also on another level

So the strategy should be to slowly build up the players behind them. Players like Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman are already playing regularly. They will have to step it up a notch. They were brought in to grow at Bayern. But you cannot expect them to just be at the same level as Robben and Ribery right away. Both are world-class attackers. They always have a solution on the pitch and their desire to keep going is impressive. Talent alone is not enough to become a world-class player. Bayern should be proud to have them on their books

2017 02 13 Retrieve

[Ottmar Hitzfeld on Arsene Wenger] I admire Arsene Wenger. I have nothing but huge respect for a coach which exposes himself to this amount of pressure at a top club for so many years on a daily basis, rebuilding the team every year. I could imagine that he will go on after this season. He’s still on fire. His biggest goal still is winning the Champions League. And I would like to see that happen to him

[Ottmar Hitzfeld on Thomas Tuchel] Borussia Dortmund managed to win their group ahead of Champions League holders Real Madrid. Tuchel’s tactics convinced me totally of his ability during these games. The match in Madrid was beautiful, and made his mark in Europe. He has the potential to be one of world’s best coaches one day

[Bayern vs Arsenal in the Champions League] The gap is not huge anymore, but Bayern is still the favourite as they have the better substance in players, the better bench. But Arsenal has stabilised. Bayern must not concede in the first match at home, what will be very difficult against Arsenal’s fast players. Their counter attacks are very hazardous for Bayern

2017 05 03 Retrieve

[Ottmar Hitzfeld says Bayern don’t need big-money signings at the momment] I do not believe that a major change will take place at Bayern. In attack they have a superstar in Lewandowski. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are getting older but are still at the absolute top level. If you buy world-class attacking players you only get someone who is going to make a fuss

2017 08 05 Retrieve

[Ottmar Hitzfeld speaks about the importance of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the club] He is the most important player at Borussia Dortmund. You could replace any player, but not Aubameyang! He makes up 20 per cent of Borussia Dortmund. He is omnipresent, he is a top striker, he creates chances out of impossible situations, he can also do things on his own, and is not only dependent on his team-mates

2017 09 26 Retrieve

[Ottmar Hitzfeld urges Bayern Munich to stick with Ancelotti amid mounting pressure] They have had bad results and at Bayern every game is going to be analysed and reported about. Ancelotti has kept calm. This shows his experience. He knows that we cannot be in top form on the first, second, third matchday, that would not be good, because when they then come to the important games in the Champions League, in about eight weeks’ time or next year then, it is not ideal to be in early [good] form

Ancelotti is a practitioner. He knows what is important, and he is also a trainer who rotates a lot, giving many players a chance to gather game practice and he knows how to use the [resources]. So, therefore, Ancelotti is a very good coach for me

The most important thing is always the Bundesliga and they have managed to win it with a clear lead. In the Champions League [last season] they were also a bit unlucky with Real Madrid

[Although Bayern trail Dortmund in the league after six matches, Hitzfeld expects a sixth successive Bundesliga title to end up in the trophy cabinet at Allianz Arena] Ancelotti will most likely again be German champion this year. And in the Champions League the hope is big, of course, to reach more than the quarter-finals. And I would say, to be in the semi-finals with Bayern, among the best four teams in the Champions League or in Europe, then the task has been fulfilled. This is a top value, Guardiola has always done that, and even [though] there was a bit of criticism about not reaching the finals… Ancelotti is still on a good [path]

2019 04 06 Retrieve

[Ottmar Hitzfeld offers a flattering comparison between the England youngster and the Bayern Munich star] [Jadon Sancho] is a gifted player, very fast, technically perfect, he always has a trick up his sleeves. He reminds me of the young Franck Ribery, who was also very tricky and going for goal as a young player. Sancho is like that and he also has the speed to make a name for himself in international football

2019 06 03 Retrieve

[Former Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld feels their ‘outstanding’ young players give them a chance of glory at the Nations League Finals] Switzerland have outstanding young players. They have very good players with foreign roots who are all perfect football players. They have a good set up with Fabian Schar, Yann Sommer, Granit Xhaka, Haris Seferovic, or Xherdan Shaqiri. And Breel Embolo is on his way. They have great talents. Switzerland can do a great job in the coming years. Now, against Portugal, the chances are 50-50. They have played against Portugal many times and won some games, lost sometimes. They know how to beat Portugal. With the potential that Switzerland currently possesses, a victory in Portugal is also possible.

I think you have to count England among the favourites, because they just pulled up outstanding players from the junior teams. And the young players who play in the Premier League, despite the many foreigners, they are already very good. But that is also a disadvantage for the young English players, that so much money has flowed to England and you have signed only foreign top stars. But if you make the step then you have a really strong team and are on your way back to the top of the world

2019 08 16 Retrieve

[Ottmar Hitzfeld says Pep Guardiola and Leroy Sane should have been clear over the Manchester City’s star’s future while Bayern Munich were trying to arrange a transfer] I did not find it correct from Sane that he did not announce himself, neither to Bayern nor to Manchester City. I would not have done it, but if your club is about to sign such a big deal, you can not play your player in a rather insignificant game

[Hitzfeld now feels that Bayern should distance themselves from a player who may not return to full fitness again this season] A player with this injury is injured half a year and then takes half a year to get back

2019 10 10 Retrieve

[Thomas Muller has been heavily linked with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal in the past, but former Bayern Munich boss Ottmar Hitzfeld cannot see a world-class talent leaving the German giants] Thomas Muller at another club is hard to imagine for me. He is an absolute identification figure for Bayern. He has played there since he was small and has matured into a world-class player, has won many titles. But in the end it is his decision if he wants to do something else. You have to respect that

[Hitzfeld handed a combative performer Bastian Schweinsteiger his debut as an 18-year-old and has said of a man who went on to conquer the world] That was the time when I thought I could throw the boy in. We had already seen in the training games what a high level and what a great talent he had. Nevertheless, it is a long way from there. As a coach, I experienced many talents who then fell by the wayside

Bastian was one of the best German footballers of all time. He has shaped German football with his unbelievable intelligence for more than a decade as a symbolic figure. For me as a coach, it was not difficult to shape him, because his great talent was already there. Bastian was born as a footballer, you do not have to do much, just lead. That’s why I’m glad he enjoyed the career he has. It was a privilege to work with him, because such a player is a gift for every coach

2019 10 16 Retrieve

[Ottmar Hitzfeld has backed Bastian Schweinsteiger to one day step into the dugout and become a highly successful coach] I think he can become a very good teacher and coach. He has evolved, he is resistant to pressure and he’s good at getting his message across. As a player, Bastian was world class. He always had a great deal of tactical understanding and was always very eager to talk. I think it would be nice if he was involved at Bayern

[Hitzfeld lamented Schweinsteiger’s retirement from the game, having given him his debut with Bayern in 2002] Football without Bastian Schweinsteiger is hard to imagine for me. He was an institution at Bayern and with the national team. I’ve got wonderful memories of my time with Bastian at Bayern

2020 05 26 Retrieve

[former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich boss Ottmar Hitzfeld says Haaland can be like Lewandowski, but he’s not there yet] I think Haaland can become like Lewandowski, but he’s not ready yet. Nevertheless, it was of course a superb transfer from Dortmund in the winter, because Haaland is already a special player. He is incredibly mature for his age, has great qualities and is ice cold in front of goal because, despite his size, he is extremely quick.

[on Gerd Muller’s all-time record for a single campaign and Lewandowski] I think he can do it. He has the necessary class and excellent team-mates at Bayern to help him achieve this goal. The numbers speak a clear language. Lewandowski plays a significant role in the success of Bayern.

David Alaba has convinced me as the new head of the defence, while Joshua Kimmich plays inconspicuously but very efficiently. And of course you have to mention Thomas Muller. He is in top shape again and extremely important for the team because he creates space and scores crucial goals

[Hitzfeld is also pleased to see Hansi Flick impressing in a prominent coaching post] I appreciate him very much because he is a meticulous worker, a very good tactician and, above all, has excellent leadership. In the first leg against Dortmund, he got Bayern back on track with the 4-0 home win. That was extremely important for him in order to gain a foothold in the new role. Hansi Flick has changed the mood in the team and the club. As a result, he has the necessary backing that you need in Munich. I trust him that he can shape an era at Bayern, but of course you have to win titles

[A heavyweight contest will take place behind closed doors, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with Hitzfeld saying of that situation] That is certainly an advantage for Bayern Munich. You can generally see in the Bundesliga that the referees are not influenced by the mood and benefit the teams that have more quality. In a cauldron, in particular, mental strength often determines the outcome of the game. That is now completely eliminated