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National boss or TV

Hitzfeld: I’ll never coach at club level again

Fired up as never before and determined to launch a successful assault on three trophies, Bayern boss Ottmar Hitzfeld has entered the home straight of his long and illustrious career as a club supremo. “As a coach, you want to hit all the targets you set yourself,” Hitzfeld stated on Friday at Bayern’s Marbella training camp, insisting once again he was desperate to leave Germany’s most successful club in the summer with three more trophies to add to his extensive collection, “although for that to happen, everything will have to go perfectly, and we’ll need the rub of the green too.“

A week after Bayern announced the appointment of Jürgen Klinsmann to succeed the General in July, Hitzfeld appeared relaxed but buzzing with ambition as he enjoyed the Andalusian sun. Since announcing his decision to move on at the end of term, he had been “perhaps even more focused,” he said. “I want to leave on a high,” the 59-year-old confirmed.

National coach or TV expert

The General also announced he would leave club football for good at the end of the season. “I don’t know whether I’ll ever take a coaching job again,” Hitzfeld declared, “and definitely never again at club level.” However, he would be prepared to consider coaching a national team, “where I’d have far fewer matches.”

One much-touted option would be to succeed Jakob “Köbi“ Kuhn, who is to step down from the Switzerland helm after this summer’s Euro 2008, but Hitzfeld denied any contact with the Swiss association at this stage. The only certainty was his desire to settle his future direction by the end of March: “I need to decide for myself whether I want to carry on or not.“ An alternative would be a return to his previous position as a TV expert.

Better than ever before

Until then, Hitzfeld has pledged his entire energies to Bayern as the Reds set off in pursuit of trophies in the second half of term. “I’m feeling better than ever before,” Hitzfeld smiled in answer to a reporter’s question as to his general state of mind. With his own finishing line in sight, his work had become “easier to plan. My aim is to hand on a functioning team.“

With two weeks to go until the Bundesliga restart fixture away to Hansa Rostock, Hitzfeld described this season’s team rebuilding as “one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced as a coach.“ His hope for his remaining time in Munich was “to repay the club for the faith they’ve shown in me.“