Featured Matches
Previous
Arsenal
Besiktas
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Napoli
ESPNDeportes 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
Aston Villa
Leyton Orient
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sunderland
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Stoke City
Portsmouth
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Arsenal
Besiktas
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Napoli
ESPNDeportes 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
Ludogorets Razgrad
Steaua Bucuresti
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Malmo FF
SV Salzburg
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Aston Villa
Leyton Orient
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sunderland
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bradford City
Leeds United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Stoke City
Portsmouth
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
DC United
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
León
Herediano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Municipal
Pachuca
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cobresal
General Díaz
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Trujillanos
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Libertad
Nacional Potosí
11:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
River Plate
Universidad Católica
11:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
Deportivo La Guaira
2:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Barcelona
2:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Atletico Rafaela
Newell's Old Boys
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rosario Central
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
River Plate
Defensa y Justicia
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Boca Juniors
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
U.A.N.L
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Celaya
ESPNDeportes 12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Chiapas
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Mineros de Zacatecas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Correcaminos
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
UNAM
Mérida
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Zacatepec
Guadalajara
ESPNDeportes 2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
América RN
Atletico Paranaense
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Santa Rita
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Botafogo
Ceará
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bragantino
Corinthians
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
Flamengo
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Palmeiras
Atlético MG
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
LDU Quito
Deportivo Quito
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Seoul
Pohang Steelers
0
0
FT-Pens
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0FC Seoul win 3-0 on penalties
Game Details
Guangzhou Evergrande
Western Sydney Wanderers
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Amazulu
Bloem Celtic
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Mamelodi Sundowns
Orlando Pirates
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Pretoria Univ
Free State Stars
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Silver Stars
Kaizer Chiefs
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
SuperSport United
Mpumalanga Black Aces
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Saprissa
Santos
Postp
Game Details
Carmelita
Club Sport Uruguay
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cartagines
Perez Zeledon
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Antigua
Marquense
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Petapa
Coatepeque
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vida
Marathon
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next
Aug 6, 2013

Greatest Managers, No. 13: Hitzfeld

"So, you grew up as a Dortmund fan?" Ottmar Hitzfeld said to me by way of starting a conversation to while away the time.

Ottmar Hitzfeld celebrates his Champions League win with Bayern in 2001
Hitzfeld celebrates Bayern's 2000-01 Champions League triumph

"I never missed a game," I replied. "I always stood on the terraces with my scarf. Then we got a new coach nobody had ever heard of. That was in 1991."

Hitzfeld smiled but didn't say anything. We were standing in the backstage area of a television studio in Munich, waiting for our cue to come on the show and talk about that evening's Champions League action.

"He was signed from Switzerland, so everybody assumed he was Swiss," I continued. "In only his fifth Bundesliga game in charge, we lost 5-2 at Schalke ... 5-2! I was so incensed I swore to never again wear my scarf. And I haven't."

"I had no idea how important the derby is," Hitzfeld said, throwing his hands in the air. "I had lived in Switzerland for more than 20 years, I knew nothing about Dortmund. Nobody told me that this was the game you mustn't lose."

"Well," I replied, "I guess it's safe to say that you more than made up for it."

As nonchalant as I hoped to sound, trying my best not to appear starstruck, it was a great moment for me. Hitzfeld has achieved the rare distinction of being loved -- no, revered -- at two big clubs, and rival clubs at that. But I guess his stature is still a tad higher with Dortmund fans as compared to Bayern supporters.

 

After all, Bayern have had many men who brought them silverware, including the biggest trophy in club football, but everyone from Dortmund knows that the club wouldn't be where it is today without Ottmar Hitzfeld. Put differently, in that backstage room I met a real-life patron saint.

When Hitzfeld joined Dortmund in 1991, the club hadn't lifted the championship since 1963, since before the Bundesliga was formed, and hadn't had any success in Europe since 1966. When he left seven years later, Dortmund had won back-to-back Bundesliga titles plus the Champions League and belonged to the elite few teams that play in Europe year in, year out. How he did that is still a bit of a mystery.

He was not noted as a strategist or a tactical guru. What he brought to the job was, above all, unmatched man-management skill. That's exactly why Bayern signed him in 1998, because they needed someone who could deal with all those pampered superstars and drama queens. They hoped he could, and he did.

At Bayern, he became only the second man to win the European Cup or the Champions League with two different clubs. Until then, only Ernst Happel had done it, though now Jose Mourinho and Jupp Heynckes have joined the club. He also won the Bundesliga a couple of times, completing an unusual grand slam -- winning domestic trophies with four clubs in a row (he'd won the Swiss cup with Aarau and the Swiss league with Grasshoppers before the Dortmund job brought him back to his native Germany).

Now add to all this the fact that that he had taken tiny SC Zug from the Swiss second division to the top flight in his very first season as a coach, 1983-84, and you have that rarest of specimens, a coach who has success -- and is fondly remembered -- wherever he works.

Of course I had no way of knowing this in 1991, when I discarded my scarf in protest against this new coach called ... "I am Ottmar," Hitzfeld said and extended his hand. I shook it heartily and then we went to face the cameras.

ESPN FC’s Top 20 Greatest Managers was determined by a polling process of over 20 regular columnists, contributors and editors at ESPN FC.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.