Udo Lattek

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Udo Lattek
Coach, Football player
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Udo Lattek (16 January 1935 – 1 February 2015) was a German football player, coach, and TV pundit.

With 14 major titles, Lattek is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game, and the most successful coach with German teams, especially Bayern Munich. He further won important trophies with Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Barcelona. Further to that he coached Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04 and 1. FC Köln. Alongside the Italian Giovanni Trapattoni he is the only coach to have won all three major European club titles, and he is the only one to do so with three different teams.

Lattek was born in Bosemb, East Prussia, German Reich. Whilst Lattek was preparing for a career as a teacher, he played football with SSV Marienheide, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and VfR Wipperfürth. In 1962, he joined VfL Osnabrück. There he played in his first season in the first division (the northern division of the "Oberliga"), and the remainder of his time in the second division as the club did not qualify for the new Bundesliga at its inception 1963. The centre forward, who was famed for his headers, scored between 1962 and 1965 34 goals in 70 league matches.

Early 1965, Lattek was prematurely released from his contract to join the German football association DFB as coach for their youth team and, beside Dettmar Cramer as one of the assistants to head coach Helmut Schön. In this role he was also part of the coaching staff which led Germany into the final of the 1966 World Cup.


Bayern Munich

In March 1970, Lattek took over the reigns of Bayern Munich as successor of the Croatian Branko Zebec. He was recommended to the club by their star Franz Beckenbauer, but his appointment was controversial as he had no coaching experience with a club. Besides Beckenbauer Bayern had the striker legend Gerd Müller and the superb goal keeper Sepp Maier amongst their ranks. Lattek complemented the team with the young talents of Paul Breitner and Uli Hoeneß and formed the global top team of its era. Until 1975, he led the club to a win in the national cup competition and three consecutive championships, a first in German football history. The highlight of this time was the win of the European Champions Cup in 1974 in the finals against Atlético Madrid (1–1, 4–0) – the first triumph for a German team in this tournament.

Six players from this Bayern side were also part of the German team that won with Germany the World Cup in the same year and the European Championship in 1972. Motivational shortcomings were a natural outcome. A dry spell in the domestic league in the 1974–75 season saw Lattek's tenure terminated prematurely and Bayern replaced him with Dettmar Cramer, who was also recommended to the club by Beckenbauer. "I told the president Wilhelm Neudecker 'we need some changes'. 'That's right, you are sacked' he replied", Lattek recalls this episode.

Borussia Mönchengladbach

At the beginning of the 1975–76 season, Lattek became the successor of Hennes Weisweiler at league rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he stayed until 1979. In this period he added two more German championships and the 1979 UEFA Cup – won against Red Star Belgrade (1–1, 1–0) – to his record. A third consecutive championship for him and a record fourth consecutive championship for the club eluded Mönchengladbach only due to having conceded three goals too many. 1. FC Köln under Latteks predecessor Hennes Weisweiler were the beneficiaries.

In 1977, the club reached the European Champions Cup final against Liverpool F.C. which was lost 1–3 in Rome. As Liverpool declined to participate in the ensuing matches for the Intercontinental Cup, Borussia as finalists were given an opportunity of playing in their stead against South American champions Boca Juniors in the finals of this competition. After a respectable 2–2 away, regretfully the club abused the return match as a warm up for the 1978–79 season and lost in Karlsruhe quite unspectacularly with 0–3.

Borussia Dortmund

By the end of that season, Lattek quit Mönchengladbach and spent two undistinguished years with Borussia Dortmund. In Mönchengladbach he was followed by the legendary striker Jupp Heynckes (226 goals in 375 league matches / 51 goals in 64 European competition matches). Heynckes – besides the diminutive, but great Danish forward Allan Simonsen, Berti Vogts, Rainer Bonhof, Uli Stielike and Herbert Wimmer – was also one of the great players that accompanied Lattek through his years with Mönchengladbach.

FC Barcelona

In 1981, he was appointed successor to Helenio Herrera at Spanish club FC Barcelona. He led the club to the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1982 where Barcelona defeated Standard Liège in the final 2–1. He is the only coach to lead three clubs to three "major" European trophies. Barcelona's probably most distinguished players in this era were Migueli, Alexanco, Rexach, Asensi, Quini, the German Bernd Schuster and the old acquaintance from Mönchengladbach days, Dane Allan Simonsen. In the second season, Diego Maradona, then just 22 years of age, was signed up for a record transfer fee. Nevertheless, perceived lack of success on the domestic scene saw him being replaced at the end of the 1982–83 season by the World Cup winning Argentine coach César Luis Menotti, who was also hoped to be better able to bring out the best in Maradona.

Return to Bayern Munich

Lattek got his next engagement from his former player Uli Hoeneß, who was by then in charge as commercial manager with his old side Bayern Munich. There existed a vacancy after the exit of the Hungarian coach Pal Csernai. In the next years he won two more national cups and another championship hattrick with the club – the 'Double" in 1986 was only the fourth in German football history. The ultimate farewell gift was denied to him, when Bayern lost the 1987 European Champions Cup final against FC Porto with 1–2. Great players of his second stint with Bayern were amongst others Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Lothar Matthäus, Klaus Augenthaler, striker Dieter Hoeneß, the delightful Danish midfielder Søren Lerby and the Belgian goal keeping legend Jean-Marie Pfaff. As it was with Borussia Mönchengladbach, his former player Jupp Heynckes followed him as coach here, too.

Cologne and Schalke

After these hea days, Lattek retired for a few years. In 1991 he joined 1. FC Köln as Sporting Director and was head coach for one match as coach, where he achieved a home draw against Bayern. The rest of the season he spent with the club as technical manager. 1992 he returned once more to the dugout and led Schalke 04 through the first half of the season. Incidentally, there he drew his last match in Munich with 1–1 against Bayern.

Return to Borussia Dortmund

Lattek officially retired and took up a role as TV commentator and newspaper columnist with the national broadsheet "Die Welt" and the bi-weekly sports magazine "kicker". Were it not for the 1997 Champions League winners Borussia Dortmund reaching panic mode by the end of the 1999–2000 season as they found themselves in free fall and only one point removed from the relegation ranks five match days before the end of the season, the story could have ended here. For what is rumored to be a most generous lump sum, some say 250,000 Euros, the then 65-year old Lattek let himself be reactivated as saviour. His magic did the job once more. Two wins, two draws and only one defeat – against Bayern Munich – were enough to keep the club in the league. His last match was dignified by a 3–0 away triumph against Hertha BSC in front of a crowd of 75,000. At Dortmund he left a working base for his successor Matthias Sammer, who two years later, at the age of 34, became the youngest coach ever to lead a team in Germany to championship honours.

Later life

Lattek retied winning 14 trophies. He lived in a nursing home in Cologne, remained renowned for his continuous fondness of beer ("all great coaches have enjoyed a drink"). In 2012, Lattek suffered a stroke. Lattek, who had Parkinson's disease and Dementia, died on 1 February 2015. On the news of his death, Franz Beckenbauer tweeted: "Sad news: The great Udo Lattek is dead. Rest in peace, my friend."


Source: wikipedia.org

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