Rehhagel Otto life and biography

Rehhagel Otto picture, image, poster

Rehhagel Otto biography

Date of birth : 1938-08-09
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Essen, Germany
Nationality : German
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-05-06
Credited as : Football coach manager, World Cup, King Otto

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Otto Rehhagel (born 9 August 1938 in Essen) is a German football coach and former football player. With Helmut Schön, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Udo Lattek and Hennes Weisweiler, he is one of the most successful German managers ever. He is currently manager of the Greece national football team, having led them to the European Championship title in 2004.

Rehhagel is the only person who, as player and as manager, has participated in over 1000 Bundesliga-matches. This also explains his nickname Kind der Bundesliga (child of the Bundesliga). In the Bundesliga, he holds the records for the most victories (387), most draws (205), most losses (228), and his teams have scored the most goals (1473) and conceded more (1142) than any others.

Rehhagel began his playing career with local club TuS Helene Altenessen in 1952 before moving to Rot-Weiss Essen (1960–63), after the start of the Bundesliga for Hertha BSC (1963–65), and until 1972 for Kaiserslautern. He played 201 games in the Bundesliga. As a player, Rehhagel was known as a tough-as-nails defender.

Managerial career

He first became a coach in 1974 with Kickers Offenbach, but failed to make an immediate impact. Most famously, with Borussia Dortmund, he suffered a historical, record-setting 12-0 loss after which the tabloids called him Otto Torhagel ("Tor" means goal in German, and "Hagel" means a hailstorm).

Werder Bremen

After several short assignments including Arminia Bielefeld and Fortuna Düsseldorf he worked for Werder Bremen from 1981 to 1995. During these fourteen years, Rehhagel transformed Werder from a small minnow into a powerhouse, dazzling spectators with powerful up-tempo play and a smothering defence. During this spell, Werder Bremen established themselves as one of the main teams in the Bundesliga, overtaking hated rivals Hamburg as the top club in the north and sparking an intense feud with Bayern Munich. In the mid-eighties, Rehhagel often fell just short of success and had a string of second places and Cup Final losses. In that time, his nickname was Otto II or Vizeadmiral ("Vice Admiral"). After this unfortunate period, Rehhagel led them to two German championships, in 1988 and 1993 and two German Cup victories, as well as one win in the Cup Winners' Cup. In this period, Rehhagel produced a host of international stars, such as Rudi Völler, Karlheinz Riedle, Dieter Eilts, Marco Bode, Mario Basler, Hany Ramzy, Andreas Herzog and Rune Bratseth. His Werder Bremen team of 1988 was until recently the squad which conceded the fewest goals ever in the Bundesliga (22), this record was surpassed by Bayern Munich in the 2007–08 season with 21 goals. His stint with Werder Bremen (14 years Bundesliga) is the second longest consecutive occupation as a manager ever in the Bundesliga. It was only recently surpassed by Volker Finke of Freiburg (15 years - 10 Bundesliga, 5 second Division).

Bayern Munich

After fourteen golden years, Rehhagel left Bremen to coach Bayern Munich in the 1995–96 season. After a disappointing, but financially lucrative year (only sixth place in the Bundesliga, but semi-finals in the Champions League), Bayern spent a lot of money, buying Jürgen Klinsmann, Andreas Herzog, Rehhagel and others, and it was widely expected that Munich would steamroller the opposition. However, from Day 1, Rehhagel clashed with the team and the team environment. His single-minded and occasionally eccentric ways did not mesh at all with Bayern, who quickly felt that Rehhagel was at heart a country bumpkin that had no clue about how to behave in the glitzy Munich environment. Moreover, Rehhagel's old-fashioned tactics and patronizing of the players caused major antipathy in the Bayern team, especially from Klinsmann, who never missed an opportunity to take shots at Rehhagel. The team disintegrated in the second half of the season. Rehhagel was famously ousted three weeks before they were to play in the final of the 1996 UEFA Cup, after a disappointing end to their league campaign. His position was taken by Franz Beckenbauer who led the team to victory in the cup.

1. FC Kaiserslautern

After this, Otto Rehhagel coached Kaiserslautern between 1996 and 2000, which had just been relegated after a catastrophic season. He injected new energy into the team which led to FCK's comfortable promotion back to the Bundesliga. Prior to the season, FCK was seen as a dark horse for a place in the UEFA Cup, but Rehhagel's team simply steamrollered the opposition. With sparkling offence and sheer never-ending energy (half a dozen games were won in injury time), Kaiserslautern won a sensational German championship in 1998, by now the first win by a promoted team. Rehhagel coached FCK to some less spectacular, but very decent results, but heavy internal conflicts and a massive smear campaign against him caused him to leave.

Greek national squad

In 2001 Rehhagel became the coach of the Greek national team. The team qualified directly for Euro 2004, ahead of Spain and Ukraine. Ranked 100-1 outsiders, they sensationally defeated Portugal (the hosts), France (the holders) and the Czech Republic (favourites for many) on the way to the final where they defeated Portugal again to lift the cup. Rehhagel, who was seen as the man most responsible for the team's success, became the first foreign coach ever to win a European Championship. Despite not having a star-studded line-up, the Greek team won the championship, conceding no goals in the knock-out stage.

Rehhagel adopted a defensive approach in playing his Greek side, using energetic midfielders to wear down the opponents and the policy of defending in numbers to numb the opposition's attacks. When charged with boring play, he said, "No one should forget that a coach adapts the tactics to the characteristics of the available players." Interestingly, his time at Werder Bremen is remembered for the flashy and spectacularly attacking football the team favoured.

After Rudi Völler resigned as Germany coach in the wake of that country's first-round exit in Euro 2004, Rehhagel was considered by many to be a strong candidate for his homeland's job. He had the support of the public, despite being considered a maverick by the footballing establishment. After three other candidates removed themselves from consideration, Rehhagel received an offer to take over as Germany coach, which he officially turned down on 10 July.

In their qualifying group for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the Greek side failed to make the grade, finishing fourth in a tough group which saw Ukraine advance as group winner and Turkey go on to the play-off. The team returned to success though by qualifying for Euro 2008, ending the qualifying stage with the highest points total of any team and ensuring they would be able to defend their title. On 30 March 2008 Otto extended his contract with Greece until 2010.

For the qualifying group and having finished second in Group Two behind Switzerland, Coach Rehhagel and the National Team met Ukraine in a two-legged play-off and won 1-0 in Donetsk after a 0-0 draw in Athens, with Dimitrios Salpigidis getting the winner. The success against Ukraine has allowed the Greek Squad to compete in the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be held in South Africa and has solidified the position of Otto Rehhagel as one of the most important people in the history of Greek Sport.

Personal life

He is married to Beate Rehhagel. Beate is also remarkable in her own light, because she acts as a sort of player scout for her husband. They have one child, Jens Rehhagel, who has played football at semi-professional level.

In Greece, he is occasionally called King Otto (βασιλιάς Όθων), probably in allusion to King Otto of Greece, however he already had this nickname during his coaching career in Germany. As a wordplay referring to Herakles, son of Zeus, he has been nicknamed "Rehakles" as well. Rehhagel himself likes to call himself Kind der Bundesliga ("Child of the Bundesliga").

Famous players associated with Rehhagel include Klaus Allofs, Mario Basler, Marco Bode, Rune Bratseth, Manfred Burgsmüller, Angelos Charisteas, Traianos Dellas, Dieter Eilts, Andreas Herzog, Marian Hristov, Miroslav Klose, Olaf Marschall, Hany Ramzy, Karl-Heinz Riedle, Wynton Rufer, Thomas Schaaf, Ciriaco Sforza, Rudi Völler, Theodoros Zagorakis, Andreas Brehme and Michael Ballack.

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