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Memorable Monday: A Look Back at Udo Lattek's Gigantic Contributions

Udo Lattek's death gives us an opportunity to look back at this man's astounding career, especially his contributions to FC Bayern München.

Nadine Rupp/Getty Images

In Germany, there seems to be quite a few managers who managed both Bayern and Dortmund, having success with both. The most famous example is Otmar Hitzfeld, who won the UEFA Champions League with both clubs. Hitzfeld managed Bayern twice and Dortmund once. The man we are set to discuss today not only managed Bayern twice; he also managed those bees who could not stop buzzing in our ears between 2010 and 2013 twice. He was a special coach and a friend of Franz Beckenbauer's.

In 1970, he was surprisingly handed the reigns at Bayern. He had no coaching experience at the highest level as far as club football was concerned. His only prior experience at the top level was with West Germany from 1965 to 1970. Beckenbauer came to know Lattek during this time; a recommendation from the Kaiser is all one needed back then (and perhaps, even now!) to secure the Bayern job. In his first season, Lattek won the DFB Pokal but what was more impressive was about to follow. Bayern won not one, not two, but three Bundesliga titles consecutively from 1971 to 1973. Lattek was familiar with the players he coached from the national side. He had the best of the best in Sepp Maier, the Kaiser and Gerd Müller in his side. Lattek, being the brilliant man he was, handed Paul Breitner and Uli Hoeneß their debuts as well.

All the domestic bliss resulted in Bayern becoming the first team from Germany to win the UEFA Champions League (the European Cup) in 1974. A two legged finale against Atletico Madrid saw Bayern come perilously close to losing. The first leg ended 1-1 thanks to a late Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck goal. The replay in Munich was not really a contest; Der Bomber and Hoeneß both struck twice as Bayern claimed the Cup, 5-1 on aggregate.

Unfortunately, Lattek's greatest success was followed by an utterly unceremonious departure in 1975; he was blamed for Bayern's troubles in the league midway through the season. Dettmar Cramer took over but the seeds of success had already been laid by Lattek. The European Cup was claimed again in 1975. A third would follow as well. Lattek wandered around the Bundesliga after his sacking. He head to Borussia Mönchengladbach and claimed a number of titles including the UEFA Cup. They defeated Red Star Belgrade over two legs to claim the title; more than a decade letter, Red Star beat Bayern in the semifinals of the European Cup en route to winning the title. He left Gladbach under the tutelage of none other than one of his great strikers, Jupp Heynckes, in 1979.

He head to Borussia Dortmund for a while and then to Barcelona where he gave Diego Maradona his debut. But, Lattek was not forgotten by his first love; Uli Hoeneß brought him back in 1983 (Bayern seem to have a small history of sacking successful coaches and bringing them back later) to take over from Hungarian Pal Csernai. He went on to win three more German championships between 1985 and 1987 and two German Cups. Lattek secured the Bundesliga's fourth double in history in 1986 as well. This time, Lattek had Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Klaus Augenthaler, the somewhat unlucky Löthar Matthaus and the younger Hoeneß, Dieter, starring for him. Unfortunately, Bayern could not give him the great parting gift he deserved when they lost yet another European Cup final in that decade, this time to Porto by a single goal. Bayern were said to have been the better team in that final.

Lattek was followed by, you guessed it, Jupp Heynckes when he stepped down at Bayern. He had short stints at Köln and Schalke before retiring. Dortmund brought him out of retirement shortly in 2000 to help them survive relegation. Lattek managed to save the Ruhr side from going down.

So, as you can see, our beloved club owes plenty to the man who won all three major European titles. It is sad to see him go.

Rest in Peace Udo Lattek. And thanks for everything!

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