Created on 08-01-2008 at 00:00 AM
Ottmar Hitzfeld has already guided Bayern to eight domestic and European trophies, but the current crop of stars is determined to ensure he does not finish his second spell at the helm without adding to that collection. “We all want him to go out with a flourish, taking a couple of winners’ medals with him,” Germany hitman Miroslav Klose declared on Tuesday.
“We want to bid the coach a fine farewell. He doesn’t deserve to move on without another trophy,” agreed Bastian Schweinsteiger. The 23-year-old broke into the senior squad under Hitzfeld in the 2002-3 campaign. “It’s a shame he’s decided to give up. Ottmar Hitzfeld is a good fit with the club, and his record speaks for itself,” the player continued.
Hitzfeld departure a motivating factor
Klose rejected suggestions the team might be distracted from the task at hand by Hitzfeld’s impending departure: “After all, we’re all in the same boat.” Schweinsteiger even felt Monday’s official announcement could prove a motivating factor for the remainder of the campaign: “It makes you determined to do even better.“
Hamit Altintop similarly felt the early decision would have little impact on the dressing room. “We’re playing for ourselves and not just for the coach,” advised the Turkey international, “we all have to keep working at our jobs. We earn a decent crust here, so you’ve got to expect every single one of us to go out and work hard on the pitch.“
Uli Hoeneß is convinced that Hitzfeld will continue to wield authority in the dressing room. “We believe Ottmar is the best man to manage the team. We have a first-class coach for the rest of this season,” the general manager insisted on Monday. Hitzfeld himself reckoned “I’ll continue to harmonise and work productively with the team.“
Schweinsteiger urged his team-mates to put the inevitable debate over Hitzfeld’s successor to the back of their minds. “We need to combine our energies in mid-season training and then give it everything we’ve got in pursuit of success in the second half of the season.“ The goal was to recapture the team’s scintillating early-season form, “but keep it going for longer this time.“ Should the stars succeed, Ottmar Hitzfeld is all but certain to increase his personal trophy tally from the current eight.