Foreign Managers of Bayern Munich

Posted on 17 Jan, 2013, by in Soccer

While Pep Guardiola isn’t the first foreign manager to take the position at Bayern Munich, he is the first person from Spain, in a league that isn’t filled with instances of Spanish players and head coaches taking on jobs, especially not as big as that of the biggest club in the Bundesliga.

But looking deeper into the history books and Bayern Munich’s records since they entered the Bundesliga in 1965, Guardiola is actually the ninth person not from Germany to take the position, and the third since 2009, with Jupp Heynckes still at job, serving as the bridge between the Louis van Gaal era (which ended with another Dutch as caretaker) and the Guardiola era that begins in July 2013.

The Croatian Beginning

Zlatko Čajkovski was the first Bayern Munich head coach, taking it into the Bundesliga era. A Croatian (Yugoslavian then) born footballer, who played in two World Cups for Yugoslavia (1950 & 1954), even scoring a couple of goals. After a playing career with HASK, Partizan, FC Koln and Hapoel Haifa (Israel), he took up managing, and became the Bayern Munich head coach in 1963.

He spent 1096 days at the position, never winning a league title (leaving in 1968) but did lead the team to two German Cups and their first European trophy, the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1967, beating Rangers 1-0 in the final with a goal from Franz Roth.

Čajkovski was replaced by another Croatian and former captain of the Yugoslavian national side in the 1958 World Cup, Branko Zebec. Zebec didn’t hold on to the job long – 621 days between 1968 and 1970, but he did win the team’s first Bundesliga title (1969) with a squad built around the young Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller, managing the first double in Bundesliga history. A bad period in the second season, including a falling off with certain key players, led to his firing.

The Hungarian Period

After nine years of two German head coaches, Hungarian Gyula Lóránt took over the position. One of the Mighty Magyars, Lorant was near the end of his coaching career when he came to Bayern, and didn’t really manage them to great success. His first half season ended with a 12th place finish. The next year, he left in February, replaced by another Hungarian, Pál Csernai.

Csernai did play for the Hungarian national team twice in 1955, but wasn’t with the kind of playing career pedigree his predeccessor had. However, he stayed with the club for 4 years between 1979 and 1983, leading them to the Bundesliga titles in 1980 and 1981 with the help of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Paul Breitner, followed by two seasons of finishing behind Hamburg which led to his sacking.

Søren Lerby – The Danish midfielder was a big star for Ajax, PSV and Bayern Munich during the 1970’s and 80’s winning a total of nine league titles with the three clubs. Jupp Heynckes was sacked in the middle of the 1991-1992 season, something Bayern Munich chiefs declare they regret to this day, pandering to a hostile press, and chose Lerby as his successor. Lerby didn’t even last half a season, leading the team to 4 wins in the 15 matches he was in charge. Bayern Munich finished 10th that season.

Giovanni Trapattoni

One of the most accomplished managers in Italian and European football, who won everything there is to win during his Juventus tenure from 1976 to 1986, including league titles and all three different European competitions had two split tenures at Bayern Munich: The first int the 1994-1995 season, finishing a very disappointing 6th, but then he returned 12 months later, this time lasting two years at the job, winning the Bundesliga in 1997 and the German Cup in 1998.

Louis van Gaal

For some reason, the 2008-2009 season is remembered as a complete disaster, but Bayern Munich, finishing second behind Wolfsburg that year, were only two points away from winning the league title. Still, it’s a big black spot on the career of Jurgen Kilnsmann, who was replaced by Jupp Heynckes (who else) for the last month of the season.

Van Gaal, fresh off winning a league title with AZ, became the first foreign manager for Bayern Munich in 11 years. He led the team to the double in 2010, enjoying the talents of Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery with the emerging Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger. He also led the team to the Champions League final for the first time since 2001, losing to Inter.

The next season was a lot less happier. Bayern finished in the third place, 10 points behind champions Dortmund. Van Gaal’s discipline clashed too often with some of Bayern’s star players, and he was sacked a month before the end of the season. Another Dutchman, Andries Jonker, Van Gaal’s assistant at the time, completed the season.