Euro 2012 qual. - Who's better: Capello or Hitzfeld?

Mon, 06 Sep 15:42:00 2010

England's European Championship qualifier with Switzerland will see two of the most highly decorated and experienced coaches around go head to head when Fabio Capello pits his wits against Ottmar Hitzfeld.

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Here, we look at how the two men match up.


Despite being at the top of the European game for almost two decades, Tuesday's meeting will be only the third between the two men, with their first two coming just over three years ago. Those games saw Hitzfeld's Bayern Munich come out on top in a classic Champions League last-16 clash with Capello's Real Madrid, the Germans winning on away goals after turning around a 3-2 defeat at the Bernabeu with a 2-1 victory in Munich. Real's exit undoubtedly played a part in Capello's departure that summer.


Hitzfeld comes out on top with 17 major trophies to Capello's nine - which would have been 11 were Juventus not stripped of their 2005 and 2006 Serie A successes. However, five of Hitzfeld's trophies were won in Switzerland, while Capello has only ever managed in the big leagues of Italy and Spain, winning multiple titles in both countries. Both men have tasted Champions League glory, Capello with AC Milan in 1994 and Hitzfeld with Borussia Dortmund three years later and Bayern Munich in 2001. That makes him one of only three men to have won the competition with two different clubs.


Capello's first real failure arguably came at this summer's World Cup, with his reputation virtually unblemished before then. His CV does include two one-year stints at Real Madrid but his departure on both occasions followed title successes in the Primera Division. Capello's Champions League record since his 1994 win could be one question mark. Hitzfeld enjoyed an almost unbroken run of success until his failure to win the 2004 Bundesliga saw him leave Bayern. Not getting Switzerland out of their World Cup group after they beat Spain in their opening match is probably another failure.


Both men are renowned for a pragmatic approach, which served them well in their own countries where such tactics are valued. Capello found it more difficult to win round the Spanish public while at Real, and questions have been asked about his flexibility since the World Cup. Hitzfeld ultimately proved the only coach capable of producing a tactical masterplan to beat Spain in South Africa and he also has a history of upsetting teams that appear to be better on paper, both at Dortmund and Bayern.

PA Sport

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