clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Memorable Monday: From Guardiola to Cajkovski, every foreign manager at Bayern Munich

Foreign Managers have crept into the Bundesliga without too much chaos. Bayern is under a foreign manager currently as well. Pep Guardiola's predecessors from outside of Germany suffered much tougher times than him as head coach of one of the world's best clubs.

Johannes Simon/Getty Images

When Bayern arrived on the Bundesliga stage in 1965, a defender renowned for his fitness looked over the side. Zlatko Cajkovski, having studied under Hennes Weisweiler in Köln, was the head coach. Weisweiler's teaching clearly worked as the Yugoslavian, a fine defender in his playing days, led Bayern to their first ever European trophy, the Cup Winner's Cup, against Rangers. Having delivered two German Cups as well, Cajkovski's time came to an end in 1968. Bayern had not won a Bundesliga title yet.

The reins were given to another Yugoslav, a star of the World Cup in 1954, Branislav Zebec. Zebec did not fully buy into his predecessor and former team mate, Cajkovski's offensive style of play. Bayern became a team that could withstand pressure and that could win without flair. The results were seen in the first season when Zebec delivered not only the Bundesliga title but also the German Cup.

The feat was even more remarkable when considering the fact that Zebec used only 13 members of his squad to achieve the first ever double in Bayern's history. Unfortunately for Zebec (not so for Bayern as Udo Lattek was his successor), tensions grew in the side when the Bavarians were sent packing by St.Etienne (Bayern would get their revenge not too long after in the grandest of fashions) in the first round of the European Cup in the following season.

Zebec decided not to extend his contract. He was due to leave in July 1970. Bayern, though, having tasted success would not withstand a trophy-less season. In March, following two defeats and a draw in a spell of three matches which ultimately decided the title race against them, Zebec's contract was prematurely terminated. For the next seven and a half years, Bayern relied on German coaches as they made their way to the top of the food chain of German football.

Udo Lattek's replacement midway through the 1977-1978 season was a World War II fighter by the name of Gyula Lorant from Hungary. In 1949, when Hungary became a communist state, Lorant attempted to flee the country to play for a rival national side formed by a former colleague. He was caught by Hungarian authorities and detained. At the request of the Hungarian coach, Lorant was released and became a star for his country. As far as his Bayern reign is concerned, he did not win any trophies and was eventually let go in the middle of the 1978-79 season.

His successor was yet another Hungarian, Pal Csernai. Csernai managed Bayern from the first half of 1979 to mid 1983. His leadership brought Bayern two Bundesliga titles, one German Cup and a defensive system which used both zonal and man marking. Csernai's period as head coach was unfortunately also marked by a European Cup defeat in 1982 at the hands of Aston Villa. This left the team and manager demoralized and perhaps led to the end of his role as coach in May 1983.

Foreign leadership, even short term ones, did not return to Bayern until the October of 1991. Having let go of Jupp Heynckes, the team needed a new manager. They turned to a former midfielder for help. In 1983, when Soren Lerby came to Bayern, he was expected to replace Paul Breitner. While that expectation never materialized, Lerby went on to win two Bundesliga titles and one German Cup. He also scored 22 goals for the club. He managed only one team in his career. The Danish coach looked after Bayern until March 1992.

In July 1994, after boss Franz Beckenbauer (insert your version of a grin here) stepped down, Italian Giovanni Trapattoni became Bayern's first Italian head coach. The first part of a fractious relationship ended in neither comedy nor tragedy as Trapattoni departed Bayern at the end of the season. He would return once again after caretaker boss Beckenbauer (insert yet another grin here) stepped down in 1996. This time, the Italian did deliver - a German Cup, a Bundesliga and a League Cup were his gifts to a club which literally "finished" him. Thomas Strunz, Mehmet Scholl and Mario Basler eventually all managed to get on his last nerve collectively; Trapattoni left at the end of the 1997-1998 season.

The next time Bayern would hire a foreigner would be to revamp a dying side. Louis Van Gaal took over in 2009 from caretaker Jupp Heynckes (please grin as widely as you can) and changed a Bayern side which had grown rather tiresome following multiple coaching changes and lack of success at the European level. He revamped the team; a new Bayern emerged, a Bayern which would have been the first to win a treble in German football history had they won the UEFA Champions League final in 2010. They achieved yet another double that season.

Van Gaal's changes stayed but he left; his relationship with the club grew worse by the day as his dictatorial style stopped achieving the desired results unitl Bayern parted ways with him in April of 2011. The next Dutchman in Bayern's history took over; Andries Jonker stepped in as caretaker and guided the club to a Champions League place. It did not take long for Die Roten to hire another foreigner after Jonker left.

Following its most successful season in history, the club handed the reigns to Spaniard Pep Guardiola. Guardiola is already the most successful foreign coach, having put four trophies in the bag. He has changed Bayern's style of play, making them more flexible than ever. They are comfortable in various formations. Now, if Herr Guardiola delivers a Champions League trophy, he will definitely become the most revered foreign coach in Bayern's illustrious history (if he is not already so).

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bavarian Football Works Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Bayern Munich news from Bavarian Football Works