Berlin, March 20 (IANS): Felix Magath has provided another chapter of unusual coaching to his standout career.
Due to a positive Covid-19 test just days into his rescue mission at struggling side Hertha BSC, the former Bayern Munich and Fulham manager had to self-quarantine in a hotel. Nonetheless, he managed to clinch a surprising 3-0 win over one of the Bundesliga’s star clubs, TSG Hoffenheim.
Magath cemented his reputation as one of football’s most gifted motivators, no matter how difficult the situation.
The 68-year-old could be what you would call an older generation still aware of the times without mobile phones and modern communication tools such as video calls. On the morning of match day, the three-time German champion used a fairly standard method of dialing multiple times to speak to multiple players.
Two hours before the game kicked off, he made a video call to spark his new team’s motivation.
At half-time, the former German international coach again appeared on a screen in the team’s dressing room to give further instructions.
The Berlin club’s goalkeeping coach Andreas Menger was seen wearing earplugs during the 90 minutes, apparently receiving instructions from Magath’s hotel room.
Menger spoke to Hertha assistant coach Mark Fotheringham several times after listening to the head coach’s orders.
Hertha player Marco Richter has reported a turning point for the team after Magath was named the successor to former coach Tayfun Korkut.
“There was a click in our heads after the coaching change. Mr. Magath took our heads with his comments and actions,” the forward said.
Fans at the Berlin Arena seemed to sense the new spirit and developed an enthusiasm not seen in a long time.
Magath’s relationship with his assistant coach did the rest. The lively and determined Scotsman has become the head coach’s natural speaker.
The Berlin coach appears to be an inexhaustible source of motivational tools, reports Xinhua.
On taking over Bayern in 2004, he asked well-known but emerging Germany international Bastian Schweinsteiger: “Who are you?” Schweinsteiger felt the desire to prove his quality to his new coach. “I was so surprised but I got the message, now is not the time to rely on past successes,” the midfielder said.
At Wolfsburg in 2009, he found “most humans set boundaries. It’s up to me to expand those boundaries and talk about ambitious far-off goals.”
When working in England and China, he had an outward view: “Everyone is happy to play in the Premier League. It’s important to set goals, most of them have to be unrealistic or visionary,” Magath said.
For the return to Berlin, the winner of the 1983 Champions League seems to have found the right way to revitalize a struggling team.
Next time, facing Leverkusen in his second game in charge, Magath will have to think about new measures as he will appear in person in front of his players.
The Hertha coach could most likely have recovered until April 2 as the Bundesliga is taking a break due to the international calendar. As it seems, that should give Magath plenty of time to come up with the next inspiring move.