Due to his outstanding performance as a coach and in his other contributions to football, the German football federation (DFB) has awarded Ottmar Hitzfeld the lifetime achievement award. The first DFB vice-president Dr Rainer Koch presented the 67-year-old with the honour in Frankfurt during the graduation ceremony for 62 coaching courses. Hitzfeld is the sixth coach to win the award after Dettmar Cramer, Udo Lattek, Gero Bisanz, Otto Rehhagel and Jupp Heynckes.
“It makes me enormously proud that I am in such esteemed company,” said Hitzfeld. “To be awarded something as big as this was something I could never have dreamed of. This honour is something really special. I am really happy about winning it. The award is a turning point for me, because if you are recognised for your life’s work, it is easier to accept that your career is over and your job is finished.”
Dr Rainer Koch said, “Ottmar Hitzfeld has had success in all of the positions he has taken and has been crucial in shaping German football. As well as his knowledge in his field we are honouring his respectability, professionalism, fair play and sportsmanship. Ottmar Hitzfeld is a big character and a role model to many people.”
Hitzfeld spent most of his playing career in Switzerland, there he won the Swiss league twice with Basel. In 1983, he hung up his boots and began his career as a coach. He moved from SC Zug to FC Aarau and then to Zurich, where he won five national titles between 1988 and 1991, including the Swiss league in 1990 and 1991. From 1991 to 1997, the 67-year-old coached Borussia Dortmund, winning the Bundesliga twice (1995, 1996) and the Champions League in 1997.
Hitzfeld returned to coaching after a year as BVB’s sporting director in 1998. In his six years at Bayern München he won four Bundesliga titles (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003), two DFB cups (2000, 2003) as well as the Champions League (2001) and Intercontinental cup (2001). His second spell at FCB was a one and a half-year stint between February 2007 and June 2008, during which he won the double in 2008. The German coach finished his career in Switzerland, his second home, as he took charge of the Swiss national team between 2008 and 2014, in which time he took part in two World Cups (2010, 2014).