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Hennes Weisweiler
Personal information
Full name Hans Weisweiler
Date of birth December 5, 1919(1919-12-05)
Place of birth    Erftstadt-Lechenich, Germany
Date of death    July 5, 1983 (aged 63)
Place of death    Zürich, Switzerland
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
1948-1952 1. FC Köln    
Teams managed
1. FC Köln
Viktoria Köln
Borussia Mönchengladbach
FC Barcelona
1. FC Köln
New York Cosmos

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Hans ("Hennes") Weisweiler (December 5, 1919 in Erftstadt-Lechenich near Cologne, Germany – July 5, 1983 in Zürich, Switzerland) was a German football (soccer) player and coach.

With 11 titles, 8 thereof with German clubs, he is one of the most successful coaches of all time. But his influence went well beyond. At the German Sports Academy in Cologne he was between 1957 and 1970 responsible for the training of hundreds of coaches from all over the world. In 2005 the training centre for coaches there was named in his honour Hennes-Weisweiler-Academy.

His work will remain most closely associated with the fortunes of Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 1960s and 70s and 1. FC Köln in the 1950s and the second half of the 1970s. He is also famous for having unearthed the talents of many outstanding football players, such as Günter Netzer, Berti Vogts, Jupp Heynckes, Rainer Bonhof, Allan Simonsen, Uli Stielike, and many more.


From Player to Coach in Cologne

After 1. FC Köln was founded in 1948 Hennes Weisweiler featured in the first ever line up of the club. After the club was promoted in 1949 into the western division of the then five ways split West-German first division (Oberliga), he was given the role of player manager. In this position, which he held until 1952 he played himself still 62 times in the league.

In 1955 he returned to the club for another three years as head coach, but left in 1958 to join local rivals Viktoria Köln, which also played in the Oberliga, but the club remained in the shadow of the 1. FC. After the foundation of the Bundesliga in 1963 Viktoria played in the second German division and with place four achieved its best ever ranking in the last year of Weisweiler's reign of the club.

Years in Mönchengladbach

In 1964 he takes over as manager with Borussia Mönchengladbach. The club still held relatively fresh memories from its one and only major title, the win in the German cup of 1960, but found itself after the inception of the Bundesliga in the second division where it finished just 8th in the previous year.

But he finds a team with some exciting local talent, such as the 19 year old Günter Netzer and Jupp Heynckes. Also Bernd Rupp and Herbert Laumen were notable and should at a later stage also feature in the national team. Inside a year Borussia ends on top of the league and gains promotion to the Bundesliga.

With the beginning of the new season another remarkable 19 year old was to join the team: Berti Vogts. But the first years in the Bundesliga remain learning years. Despite the later addition of another talented man named Herbert Wimmer Borussia only achieves the 13th and 8th places in the league. In its third year the club grabs for the first time the attention of a wider audience and finishes third, despite losing Heynckes to Hannover 96. The team, by now famed for their attacking style, manages to repeat this success in the following year. At the beginning of the 1969-70 they are even widely tipped as being the holders Bayern Munich's main rival for the Championship, even more so as the defense could be strengthened, e.g., with international Ludwig Müller, and the attack reinforced with the addition of Danish international Ulrik Le Fevre. Most important however was that the talents like Horst Köppel, himself a Borussia coach in decades to come, have reached sufficient maturity to hold their own on the highest level. Decisive was also Weisweiler's ability to find and add further gifted young players seemingly at will. This "youth culture" eventually gave Borussia the nickname they still carry today: the Foals.

Indeed, by the end of the year the team was champion for the first time and another twelve months later the club from the small town became the first side in Bundesliga history to defend the title. With a 4-1 away win in Frankfurt the Borussia could fend of a late Bayern challenge on the last matchday.

Their first European Champions Cup participation ended in the second round when after two 1-1 draws with Everton Borussia lacked the necessary luck in the penalty shoot-out. This was unfortunate. Their second challenge ended in heartbreak. This time Helenio Herrera's catenaccio specialists Inter Milan came to visit the Bökelberg stadium. After 90 minutes an unstoppable Borussia had wiped them off 7-1! But!!! During the course of the match Inter's Roberto Boninsegna was allegedly hit by an empty soft drink can and had himself spectacularly stretcherd off. Note, that there was no real evidence of this fact apart from an empty drink can being presented to the referee and some accompanying words from Inter officials. Anyway, the UEFA annulled the match and had it repeated after the return match on neutral ground in Berlin. Inter won the return match against a Borussia seemingly shocked by this decision with 4-2 and managed to defend a 0-0 in the Berlin match.

Also in the Bundesliga it was not the year of the Foals. Only three days after the initial triumph against Inter they defeated the surprise team of the season and vice-champion in the making, Schalke 04, dashingly with 7-0, but Bayern Munich got the title and Borussia ended up third. Before the season Borussia had to let Dietrich, Horst Köppel and Herbert Laumen go and thus all parts of the team were crucially weakened, as new talents such Rainer Bonhof and Dietmar Danner were not yet in a position to fill the gaps.

The 1972-73 season saw a further restructuring of the team. This time experienced players such as Ulrik Le Fevre left the club. New to the team were two young Danish forwards: Henning Jensen and Allan Simonsen. Whilst the first one made an immediate impact, the 19 year old diminutive lightweight Simonsen was immediately regarded a dud by everyone who had an opportunity to see him in one of his rare appearances. Weiserweiler's expressions of belief in the player where met with general disbelief. Only five years later Simonsen should be Europe's Player of the Year and history regards him these days as the greatest player ever from Denmark.

However, the season was overshadowed by the first great conflict of Weisweiler with his star. Günter Netzer was alongside his club mates Herbert Wimmer and Jupp Heynckes part of the stunning German side that won the 1972 European Football Championship in Belgium, and many thought he was this tournaments most glamorous player. Essentially, in Weisweiler's teams, if there was a star it was supposed to be him. The conflict ended in divorce and a few weeks before the end of the season Netzer's departure to Real Madrid was announced. There was still one important match to go: the cup final in Düsseldorf, not just against anyone, but Weisweiler's original club 1. FC Köln. The atmosphere was highly emotionally charged. The coach left Netzer on the bench. Nevertheless, the match evolved into probably the greatest of all German cup finals. Despite a temperature of 35° both teams played fully devoted to attack, but on both sides the keepers, Borussia's Wolfgang Kleff and Cologne's Gerhard Welz performed absolute world class, the latter even saving a penalty by Heynckes in the second half. In the short break before extra time Netzer stepped on the field and approached the exhausted Kulik and told him that his match is over and put himself into the team. When the referee restarted the match Netzer, in his first possession of the ball, scored the stunning, unforgettable winner for Borussia after a give and go with Bonhof. Thus ended one of football's great associations - the sour end of it probably also being a factor why Borrussia only ended up fifth in the league that season.

Interpersonal issues out of the way, Hennes Weisweiler had more time again for teambuilding. This paid off when a consolidated Borussia ended the 1973-74 season second. Again, Weisweiler managed to infuse new talent into his side, Uli Stielike being probably the most remarkable in this phase. He ended up later in Netzer's footsteps at Real Madrid.

The new found harmony also helped Weisweiler to a formidable farewell season. With 86 goals, never before and never again achieved by the club, the team cruised to the championship. To boot, Borussia got also their first international title when after a disappointing 0-0 draw at home FC Twente from Enschede was wiped off 5-1 in the second leg of the UEFA Cup final. Thus ended an exciting eleven years of Hennes Weisweiler in Mönchengladbach, a time in which he undelibly engraved the club in German and even European football history, a time in which Borussia Mönchengladbach spilled out first class talents in an unrivalled fashion.

Career overview

Career as Player
Period Club Successes
1948-1952¹ 1. FC Köln Oberliga West: 62 matches
Division II: 37 matches / 10 goals
1949: promotion to Oberliga (Div. I)
¹ from 1949 as Player-Manager
Career as Coach
Period Club Titles
1949-1952¹ 1. FC Köln
1955–1958 1. FC Köln
1958–1964 Viktoria Köln
1964–1975 Borussia Mönchengladbach Championship: 1970, 71, 75
German Cup:1973
UEFA Cup: 1975
1975–1976 FC Barcelona
1976–1980 1. FC Köln Championship:1978
German Cup: 1977, 78
1980–1981 New York Cosmos
1982–1983 Grasshopper-Club Zürich Championship: 1983
Cup: 1983
¹ as Player-Manager

See also


External links

Preceded by
Wiel Coerver
Winning Coach

Succeeded by
Bob Paisley


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