Ger­many be­comes the epi­cen­tre for lead­ing coaches

Euro 2000 low set in mo­tion the na­tion’s fresh phi­los­o­phy English coun­ter­parts be­gin to show signs of fol­low­ing suit

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport | Football - By Jeremy Wil­son

Over the next 48 hours, three Ger­man man­agers will take charge of a Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nal. It is three more than the to­tal num­ber of English coaches to have over­seen even one Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nal since the tour­na­ment was re­named 28 years ago.

The reign­ing Cham­pi­ons League and Premier League-win­ning man­ager is, of course, also Ger­man. No English­man has achieved ei­ther feat since those com­pe­ti­tions were re­branded in 1992. In­deed, you re­spec­tively have to go all the way back to Joe Fa­gan in 1983-84 and Howard Wilkin­son in 1991-92 for the pre­vi­ous English coach to have won ei­ther the Euro­pean Cup or old First Divi­sion.

It is an ex­tra­or­di­nary con­trast and, as Ju­lian Nagels­mann, Thomas Tuchel and Hans-Di­eter Flick pre­pare for the big­gest matches of their man­age­rial ca­reers, one that poses awk­ward ques­tions. Not just in terms of English coach education, but also some of the in­di­rect im­pacts of cre­at­ing the world’s rich­est and most global league.

Ger­many’s foot­ball sys­tem was over­hauled af­ter the nadir of the 2000 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship and has since fol­lowed a sim­ple mantra: If we want to have the best play­ers, we need the best coaches.

Huge in­vest­ments were made in education and a con­di­tion of Bun­desliga en­try was that ev­ery club’s academy must have at least two coaches ed­u­cated to the top Uefa Pro Li­cence qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

By 2013, there were 21,731 Ger­man coaches with the B Li­cence, 5,633 with the A Li­cence and 1,305 who had achieved the Pro Li­cence. The gap in num­bers with Eng­land (re­spec­tively 9,548, 1,190 and 205) was ev­i­dent, but widened no­tice­ably at the most elite level.

All Ger­man man­agers must still achieve the equiv­a­lent of the Pro Li­cence – known as the Fuss­bal­lLehrer (Foot­ball teacher) – to work in any of their three pro­fes­sional leagues and the only place that can be ob­tained is at the Hennes Weisweiler Academy. Only 25 peo­ple are an­nu­ally se­lected for this course and they must hold their A Li­cence, be­long to a DFB club and have at least a year of train­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The Pro Li­cence takes a fur­ther 11 months of largely prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion and, while Uefa stip­u­lates a course of at least 240 hours, the Ger­man model pro­vides around 800. It was the path fol­lowed by Tuchel, Nagels­mann, Flick and Jur­gen Klopp and, ac­cord­ing to Oliver Bier­hoff, who is now the na­tional team di­rec­tor, this sea­son’s man­age­rial re­sults rep­re­sent a “won­der­ful mo­ment for Ger­man foot­ball”.

It is the first time in Cham­pi­ons League his­tory that three coaches from the same na­tion have reached the last four and, when you study their re­spec­tive jour­neys, one con­stant is the ex­tent to which they served a lengthy ap­pren­tice­ship across mul­ti­ple lev­els.

Hav­ing ben­e­fited from such var­ied ex­pe­ri­ence, an­other strik­ing fea­ture is how ma­jor Bun­desliga clubs have placed such faith in them. Ac­cord­ing to Harry Red­knapp, the English man­ager with the best Cham­pi­ons League record, it is that op­por­tu­nity which has been so lack­ing for his do­mes­tic col­leagues. Red­knapp’s Tot­ten­ham beat both In­ter and AC Mi­lan, be­fore los­ing in a 2011 quar­ter-fi­nal to Real Madrid, but he re­mains one of only six English man­agers (with Frank Lam­pard, Gary Neville, Ray Har­ford, Sir Bobby Rob­son and Craig Shake­speare) to over­see a Cham­pi­ons League game. “Peo­ple can cite lack of ex­pe­ri­ence, but it’s a vi­cious cy­cle,” says Red­knapp. “I don’t know how you get your chance for one of the big clubs if you are a man­ager like Sean Dy­che or Steve Bruce, who has con­sis­tently de­liv­ered.” Hav­ing man­aged at most lev­els of the pyra­mid, Red­knapp says peo­ple would be sur­prised at how lit­tle re­sults would change if you swapped the man­agers of the big­gest Premier League clubs with those at the bot­tom. “Put Sean Dy­che in at Manch­ester City and see if he can’t win the league,” he says.

The wider is­sue has vexed the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, but there is con­fi­dence that op­tions, op­por­tu­ni­ties and education have im­proved. Gareth South­gate has be­come a fig­ure­head for English coaches and the var­i­ous age-group teams have achieved success over re­cent years.

Ed­die Howe re­mains highly re­garded by the FA, who are also en­thused by the ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing gath­ered in high-pro­file en­vi­ron­ments by Lam­pard and Steven Ger­rard. These are green shoots of hope, al­beit over­shad­owed by the dugouts this week in Lisbon.

Ap­proval: Oliver Bier­hoff, Ger­many’s team di­rec­tor, praised his coun­try­men

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