Saturday, May 30, 2009

Europe's Overlooked Managerial Star

Following Chelsea's FA Cup win over Everton, the New York Times asked if outgoing Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink is the best manager in the world. While his name, along with those of Jose Mourinho, Alex Fegruson and Carlo Ancelotti often dominate the headlines, Europe's most underrated manager plies his trade in Germany.

The surprising Bundesliga title captured by Wolfsburg this season is another mark on the impressive resume of Felix Magath. With three titles in five years, Magath now heads to Schalke, where he may be the coach that finally turns the perennial contenders into league champs. Magath previously captured league/cup doubles in his first two seasons with Bayern Munich (2005 and 2006), but in typically impatient Bayern fashion, he was fired after a slow start to his third campaign. In 2003 he lead Stuttgart to a second-place finish, their best mark in 11 years.

Is Magath the best in the world? Not quite. But he has earned his place among the discussion of Europe's elite managers. When Franz Beckenbauer recommends you for knighthood, you must be doing something impressive.

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