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Lattek sets the precedent for Benítez

Published: Friday 17 May 2013, 14.13CET
Rafael Benítez joined an exclusive company by lifting a major UEFA club trophy with a third side; UEFA.com salutes that select band's only other member, the great Udo Lattek.
by Axel Ruppert & Paul Bryan
Lattek sets the precedent for Benítez
Udo Lattek celebrates winning the 1981/82 Cup Winners' Cup with Barcelona ©Getty Images
 
 
Published: Friday 17 May 2013, 14.13CET

Lattek sets the precedent for Benítez

Rafael Benítez joined an exclusive company by lifting a major UEFA club trophy with a third side; UEFA.com salutes that select band's only other member, the great Udo Lattek.

Rafael Benítez joined an exclusive company when he led Chelsea FC to UEFA Europa League glory, becoming only the second coach to lift major European club trophies with three different sides.

The group's founder member is Udo Lattek. Now 78, the German won all three of UEFA's top club competitions with different teams – the 1973/74 European Champion Clubs' Cup with FC Bayern München, the 1978/79 UEFA Cup with VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach and the 1981/82 European Cup Winners' Cup with FC Barcelona. He also left an impression on his players. "Udo Lattek is my idol as both a manager and a person," said FIFA World Cup winner Jürgen Kohler, who played under Lattek at 1. FC Köln and Borussia Dortmund.

Despite landing eight Bundesliga titles and three German Cups during his time at Bayern and Borussia Mönchengladbach, the one-time VfL Osnabrück boss was regarded as more motivator than master tactician. "Every system and every tactical approach depends on the readiness of the players," he said. "I want mature players who I can grapple with. They were always more important to me than yes men."

"Where there is friction there is energy," was the guiding ethos of Lattek's career, and he certainly got some positive force out of Bayern. Recommended to the club by Franz Beckenbauer while he was assistant coach of West Germany, Lattek helped power them to three championships, a German Cup and the European Cup (won, 4-0, in a replay against Club Atlético de Madrid), even though his motivational methods could be unconventional. Goalkeeper Sepp Maier remembered an incident after a Bayern defeat when the team ignored a curfew and went to a nightclub, only to be tracked down by their coach. "Udo saw the seven or eight of us sitting there and said: 'Right, I'll count to 25,000 and if anyone's still here after that, there will be trouble.'"

Ousted after a shaky spell at Bayern, he showed his ability again at Gladbach, collecting two further Bundesliga crowns with a side featuring another future Bayern coach, Jupp Heynckes. His charges lost to Liverpool FC in the 1976/77 European Cup final, but made amends by picking up the UEFA Cup in 1978/79, beating FK Crvena zvezda 2-1 on aggregate in the final.

After a low-key stint at Dortmund, Barcelona hired Lattek in 1981 as a replacement for Helenio Herrera. Countryman Bernd Schuster said that Lattek made a grand entrance. "He arrived speaking perfect Spanish and made a big impression on us all," he said. His team missed out to Real Sociedad de Fútbol in the 1982 Liga title race, yet overcame R. Standard de Liège 2-1 in the Cup Winners' Cup final the same year at Camp Nou to complete Lattek's continental treble.

However, 'El Professor' left Catalonia the following February, partly due to friction with his big summer signing, the 22-year-old Diego Maradona. "My only problem was Maradona, who wasn't used to hard work," he said later. "Once, he didn't turn up on time when the team were due to leave. I had two options: wait for him and lose my authority or go without him. We decided to leave and the rest of the players applauded. Maradona eventually complained to the president and said he couldn't work with me and two weeks later I was sacked."

Lattek went on to coach Bayern again, securing three more titles and two more cups, though he would suffer further European Cup final heartache, with FC Porto prevailing in 1987. He later had brief periods at the Köln, FC Schalke 04 and Dortmund helms before retiring, summing up his combination of street smarts and psychology with the words: "I was an idiot that couldn't do anything but I was ambitious, strong and I used my elbows."

Last updated: 17/05/13 14.22CET

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