Rehhagel: The force behind Greece's victory

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> In a team being hailed as kings, Otto Rehhagel is the king-maker.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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In a team being hailed as kings, Otto Rehhagel is the king-maker. When the German was hired as the coach of the Greek football team three years ago, his biggest challenge was to ensure that a team in shambles pulled together to qualify for the Euro 2004 finals. But that he actually guided Greece to the title itself is testimony enough to the coaching prowess of King Otto. Otto was responsible for transforming a bunch of indifferent players producing poor results into European champions. Considering that he often had to beg for better facilities and sometimes even a pitch for the team to train on, this was no mean feat. No joyride However, it was not all a joyride to the finals of Euro 2004. After the team suffered two losses in qualifying matches, the Greek press had written him off. But the German ploughed on and his efforts showed results as Greece finished on top of their qualifying group without conceding a single goal in their last six matches. The qualities that helped Greece to the European Championship title, an iron defence, discipline, tactics and selflessness are all hallmarks of Rehhagel, who was himself a hard to beat defender during a playing career with Kaiserslautern. But it was his emphasis on teamwork and team spirit that really won it for Greece. Successful career But success is new for the 65-year-old. He enjoyed a tough and hugely successful career in club football before taking charge of Greece in 2001. During a 14-year coaching stint with Werder Bremen, Rehhagel clinched two Bundesliga titles, two German cups and a Cup Winners' Cup trophy in 1992. He also led Kaiserslautern and Fortuna Dusseldorf to league titles and the only dark spot on his glossy CV was a two-year unhappy spell with Bayern Munich. While no other German club coach has matched his level of achievements, this is no doubt his greatest triumph.

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