In Ottmar Hitzfeld, Switzerland possess one of the most successful club coaches in Europe. As well as appearing as a player for FC Basel (1971-75), FC Lugano (1978-80) and FC Lucerne (1980-83) in his homeland, the former striker also enjoyed a spell in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart from 1975-78.
The Lorrach-born tactician enjoyed his most successful period as a player in Basel, where he won consecutive Swiss titles in 1972 and 1973. Alongside his playing career in Switzerland, he also completed his college examinations in maths and sport.
Hitzfeld appeared for the German national team at the 1972 Men's Olympic Football Tournament, scoring in each of his side's five matches and going on to make a total of eight appearances for the amateur squad.
However, Hitzfeld's true calling came with his first managerial appointment. The level-headed coach led second division outfit FC Zug into the top tier in his first season in charge in 1983, prompting FC Aarau to entice him to the Brugglifeld Stadium, where he led the club to a runners-up finish in the league in 1985, as well as Swiss Cup glory a year later.
A highly successful stint at Grasshoppers Zurich between 1988 and 1991 saw Hitzfeld pick up no less than five trophies, including the championship in both 1990 and 1991.
Perhaps the most important step in Hitzfeld's career came with his move to Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in 1991. Having led them from the lower reaches of the table to a runners-up spot in the league in his first season at the helm, Hitzfeld took Dortmund to the UEFA Cup final a year later, eventually losing out to Italian giants Juventus. Two league titles followed in 1995 and 1996, before he masterminded the club's historic UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup triumphs in 1997.
After spending a year as sporting director at Dortmund, the 1985 Swiss Coach of the Year was offered the chance to coach Germany's most successful club, Bayern Munich. Four Bundesliga titles, two German Cups and another Champions League success followed, making him one of a few coaches, alongside Ernst Happel and Jose Mourinho, to have won Europe's premier club competition with two different teams.
Hitzfeld worked as a television pundit between 2004 and 2007, but made it clear that he would favour a return to the touchline in the near future. True to his word, the 1997 and 2001 World Coach of the Year took over at Bayern for a second time, leading the club to a domestic league and cup double before leaving for pastures new in the summer of 2008.
Following UEFA EURO 2008, Hitzfeld took over from Jakob 'Kobi' Kuhn as coach of the Swiss national team. After a few teething problems and an infamous home defeat against Luxembourg in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, Hitzfeld managed to steer his squad to the top of the group and ensure the 60-year-old's first participation at football's most prestigious event.