The official (unsurprising) announcement that current Bayer Leverkusen Jupp Heynckes will take over the reins from lame-duck coach Louis van Gaal in June at Bayern Munich came today. Earlier in the week, SC Freiburg coach Robin Dutt was appointed to take over for Heynckes at Leverkusen this summer as Heynckes, 65, had failed to renew his contract, making it obvious that he was either retiring or taking the Bayern job. Also this week, Eintracht Frankfurt dismissed Michael Skibbe, who had coached Frankfurt to one of their best Hinrundes in ages. After a poor start to 2011 in which Eintracht Frankfurt achieved their first victory on MatchDay 27, Skibbe has been replaced immediately by Christoph Daum.
Heynckes was born in Monchengladbach, and began his outstanding playing career with Borussia Monchengladbach in 1963. Heynckes ranks 3rd in all-time goals scored in the Bundesliga, behind Gerd Mueller and Klaus Fischer, in his career with Gladbach and Hannover 96. Heynckes also played internationally in 39 matches for West Germany, scoring 14 goals.
Heynckes began his coaching career in 1979 with Gladbach, and returned to coach them in 2006. Heynckes also has coached at Bayern Munich on two separate occasions, first in 1987 and again in 2009, taking over for dismissed coach Jurgen Klinsmann to finish the season before van Gaal was hired. Heynckes has also been the head man at Spanish clubs Real Madrid, Atletico Bilbao, and CD Tenerife, in Portugal with Benfica, and in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt and Schalke before coming to Leverkusen to begin the 2009-2010 season. Leverkusen are currently in 2nd place in the Bundesliga table, seven points behind the exciting Borussia Dortmund leaders.
Robin Dutt, 46, who takes over for Heynckes at Leverkusen after the season, has a much less glamorous CV than his predecessor. Both in his playing and managing career, Dutt has been associated with “smaller” German clubs. Dutt began his current position at SC Freiburg in 2007 after coaching Stuttgarter Kickers for four seasons. Dutt led Freiburg to a 5th place finish in 2. Bundesliga his first year before leading them to the top of 2. Bundesliga the next season and promotion into the Bundesliga top tier.
Freiburg survived their first season at the top, finishing 14th in the table, and in the first half of the current campaign were on the verge of a European spot, finishing 6th before the winter break. Freiburg’s fortunes have slipped somewhat in 2011 but they still remain in the top half of the table, currently in the 8th position.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s second half slip has been much more dramatic than Freiburg’s. Eintracht fans were quite happy with the team’s Hinrunde performance, as they suprisingly finished the Hinrunde in 7th place and entered winter break on a high after beating Borussia Dortmund. Eintracht Frankfurt’s form in 2011 has been awful, however, as the team was held goalless until their 8th game of the new year and winless until their 9th. Skibbe,45, who became the youngest head coach in Bundesliga history when he took over the reins at Borussia Dortmund in 1998, also coached Turkish club Galatasaray to the Turkish Cup title and had a stint at Bayer Leverkusen.
Skibbe’s replacement, Christoph Daum, is a 57 year-old native of Zwickau, East Germany. Daum began his coaching career in 1988 with FC Koln, and has also coached German clubs Vfb Stuttgart and Bayer Leverkusen, along with Turkish clubs Besiktas and Fenerbahce, Austrian club FK Austria Wien and a second stint in Cologne. His Stuttgart clubs won 56 of the 128 games he managed there, while at Leverkusen Daum won 90 of 183 matches. In his two stints at FC Koln, Daum’s clubs won a total of 114 contests out of 247 played under his direction.
Daum carries a certain amount of baggage with him as he takes over at Eintracht Frankfurt. His infamous denial/admittance of his cocaine use when he was considered for the head coaching position of the German national team is one example, and his remarks in May, 2008 on a televised documentary about homosexuality when he implied that homosexuals were pedophiles is another. Although it is perhaps unfair to condemn an individual based on remarks and behavior (as I would presume that we’ve all said/done things that we regret in retrospect), the appointment of Daum seems a questionable one. To his credit, Daum did apologize for his remarks in a roundtable meeting with a gay/lesbian fan club, but his remarks garnered enough publicity then and the controversy was re-kindled recently with the announcement by Swedish footballer Anton Hysen that he was gay.
Hopefully the coaching carousel has come to a stop for awhile, and we can all catch our breaths, but with the SC Freiburg position open following the season the carousel won’t stop for long.