After leaving the German FA for his new coaching position, Jimmy Hogan once again had the challenge of teaching a new group of pupils his footballing philosophy. Over the years, he had seen how eager the Germans were to take in all that he could teach. Later on, Hogan would describe Germany as the most-industrious country he had ever worked in.
When arriving at Dresdner SC in 1928, Hogan was impressed by the fact that club was actually willing to make considerable investments to develop its infrastructure and facilities. There were staff members taking themselves off aspects like cleaning the players boots. All the Germans asked him to do was to teach the game.
During his time in Germany, Hogan found that German players were much more eager to learn than their British counterparts. He had met a few so called ‘cannons’ who thought that there was nothing left for them to learn, though that was rather the exception than the rule, the Englishman noted. Alongside Hogan, the talented striker Richard Hofmann joined the team and he and the other pupils were soon taught Hogan’s free-flowing tactics.
Trapping and passing the ball were key to Hogan’s training sessions wherever he went. At Dresdner SC, it was no different. Over the years, the well-travelled coach had compiled a total of eleven exercises that allowed players to trap and pass the ball in all different sorts of manners. Mastering the technique and passing the ball with precision were the basic ingredients any player should understand, according to Hogan. Teams that could keep the ball on the ground and pass it along with precision in order to keep possession were always more likely to win a match than their opponents, according to the coach.
During Hogan’s first season at the club, he worked wonders with new star striker Hofmann. He also found a talented 17-year-old who he thought had a lot of untapped potential. The youngster was 1,9 meters tall, but his technique was sublime, and the keen kid also learned how to play football with both feet. On top of that, the newbie impressed his coach by showing off his good football brain by picking passes that could unravel the best of defences.
The player’s name was Helmut Schön.
Alongside the two star players in the making, Hogan had one-time German international left winger Rudolf Berthold, two-time international striker Richard Gedlich, talented midfield German international Georg Köhler, and Kurt Stössel who at times played upfront in the Englishman’s 2-3-5 formation.
In Hogan’s first year at the club, Dresdner SC didn’t drop a single point in the Gauliga Saxony and won the central German championship. The team qualified for the final of the German championships, which back then was played between regional champions in a cup modeus. The first-round draw sent DSC to Munich where they had to take on FC Bayern München. Back then, the Bavarians where coached by Kálmán Konrád, one of Hogan’s former pupils at MTK Budapest. Unfortunately for Hogan, the pupil turned master on that day, and Dresdner SC were eliminated in the first round with a whopping 3-0 defeat.
The 1929/30 season started much like the previous season, with DSC crushing their opposition in Saxony. Once again, Hogan’s side were undefeated, but this time around they drew three matches. Defending the central German championship didn’t prove to be too difficult for the team, and the team managed to keep its brilliant form during the knockout stages of the German championship as well.
VfB Königsberg were sent packing after an incredible 8-1 loss to Hogan’s squad in the first round. Two weeks later, DSC faced defender title-holder SpVgg Fürth in the second-most exciting game of the German championship that year. In the end, the boys around Hofmann and Schön managed to pull off a 5-4 win after extra time. In the semifinal, DSC faced the 1912 champion Holstein Kiel in Duisburg and after keeping the former champs at bay during the first half, Hogan’s team collapsed in the second and lost 2-0. The team from Schleswig Holstein went on to lose the final against Hertha BSC, 5-4.
Dresdner SC established themselves as the force of central-German football the next season by winning both the Gauliga Saxony and the central German championship for the third year in a row. However, Hogan’s final season at the club was not crowned with a German championship. VfB Königsberg were again the first round opponents, and again the result was a 8-1 thrashing at the feet of DSC. In the next round, the team were once again up against Holstein Kiel. In the first half, it seemed like they had learned their lesson from last year’s defeat, as the teams went into the dressing room with Hogan’s side up 3-1. In the second half, however, DSC once again collapsed and lost the match 3-4.
Hogan’s Work in Dresden
After his three-year stint in Dresden, Hogan was bid farewell with the club only having good things to say about their coach. In 1931, the political climate was changing rapidly in Germany, and Hogan felt it was best to leave (more about that in the next part of the series). Despite not winning the German championship, it felt like DSC had accomplished a lot during the time he spent there. The club had expanded its member base from 1,000 to 1,750 members. At the time Hogan started, the club had five grounds and 14 teams, when he left there were nine ground and a whopping 43 teams. Helmut Schön would later say that Hogan’s stint at the club lay the foundation of the successes the team celebrated during the Nazi era.
In this series of articles we are going to take a closer look at the impact English coach Jimmy Hogan had while was working in Germany. Many coaches have made a name for themselves and have been mentioned among the greats of all time. Hogan’s name could be part of that discussion, but is almost never mentioned. The stories and anecdotes we have collected from Hogan’s time spent improving German football may convince you that just maybe this coach deserves a mention in that debate. Stay tuned for part four.
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