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Contract until 2010

Hitzfeld unveiled as Switzerland coach

Bayern boss Ottmar Hitzfeld is aiming to lead Bayern to a triple triumph in the Bundesliga, UEFA Cup and German Cup before guiding Switzerland to a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the 59-year-old told a news conference called by the Swiss Football Association (SFV) on Monday, where the General was officially unveiled as successor to Jakob “Köbi” Kuhn.

Hitzfeld has signed up for the Swiss role for an initial two-year period, with the possibility of a longer partnership. “I actually thought I’d ended my coaching career four years ago, but Bayern approached me and I accepted. And now the SFV have come along and I’ve agreed to two more years. Who knows what might happen in 2010,“ Hitzfeld commented.

No assistant role for Henke

In his new job, Hitzfeld will be supported by current assistant coach Michel Pont, the news conference heard. “I would have liked to take my assistant of many years Michael Henke with me to Switzerland,“ Hitzfeld remarked, but the issue of communication made Pont the only realistic choice.

“Neither Michael nor I speak French. There’s a lot of pressure when you address the players before or during a match, so full understanding is important. After talking to Köbi Kuhn about it, it became clear Michel Pont was the right man,“ Hitzfeld explained.

Gearing up for Anderlecht

Hitzfeld’s new deal explicitly lays out the extent to which he may pursue other commercial activities, SFV President Ralph Zloczower revealed. The coach will continue to work as an expert summariser for German TV station Premiere. “I’ll analyse 10 to 15 Champions League and Bundesliga matches each season. In doing that, I always discover tactical nuances, which will be useful in my job as national coach,“ Hitzfeld observed.

Before then, the General has big plans for his remaining months at the Bayern helm. On Monday, the Bavarians began preparations for the challenging UEFA Cup Round of 16 trip to Belgian champions RSC Anderlecht on Thursday, with Lucio currently the only doubt for the match.

Wait-and-see with Lucio

The Brazil defender is battling to be fit in time for the clash at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium. “We’ll have to wait and see what happens,“ Hitzfeld remarked before departing for Zurich after morning training with Bayern, warning his men not to underestimate opponents with long years of Champions League experience.

“Anderlecht are definitely stronger than Aberdeen. They’re physically strong and very experienced, well-organised in defence, and capable of counter-attacking at speed. We’ll need to be as solid and disciplined as we were against Schalke.“