Otto Rehhagel Biography

Wed 29 September 2021 | 11:30

He transformed Werder Bremen into a top Bundesliga club, won the Bundesliga title with Kaiserslautern, and became European champion as Greece's national coach. In this article, we will take a look at Otto Rehhagel biography.

Otto Rehhagel, born 9 August 1938 in Essen, is a former German football coach and professional footballer. Together with Helmut Schön, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Udo Lattek and Franz Beckenbauer, he is regarded as one of the most successful German coaches of all time. Furthermore, Rehhagel is the only player and head coach to have participated in more than a thousand Bundesliga matches.

From 1957 to 1960 Rehhagel played for local TuS Helene Essen, from 1960 to 1963 for Rot-Weiss Essen and after the start of the Bundesliga from 1963 to 1965 for Hertha BSC. Between 1965 and 1972 Rehhagel was playing for 1. FC Kaiserslautern. In total he played 201 matches in the Bundesliga.

In 1972 he started as head coach and after some adventures with Kickers Offenbach, among others, Rehhagel was appointed head coach of Werder Bremen. Werder Bremen won two (West-) German championships, three DFB-Pokal titles, three DFL-Supercup titles and one European Cup II in his two seasons in charge.

After managing Bayern Munich for two seasons, Rehhagel served as head coach of 1. FC Kaiserslautern from 1996 to 2000. With the club he was able to win the German league championship, having returned to the highest level a season earlier. He became coach of the Greek national football team in 2001. In 2004, under his guidance, the team won the 2004 European Football Championship.

He is frequently called King Otto in Greece, presumably referring to King Otto of Greece. He already had this nickname, however, during his time as a coach in Germany. He was also nicknamed "Rehakles" as a wordplay referring to Herakles (Hercules), son of Zeus.

All You Need to Know About Otto Rehhagel Biography

He became the oldest national coach ever at a

World Cup

finals in 2010 when he managed the Greek football team at the age of 71. Since the start of 2012, he was the head coach at Hertha BSC. However, after only four months he was replaced by Dutchman Jos Luhukay.

Otto Rehhagel Information

Now that we know the German coach much better, in this section of

Otto Rehhagel biography

we will share more general information about him such as

Otto Rehhagel nationality

to let you know him even better.

Otto Rehhagel Bio

  • Full Name: Otto Rehhagel

  • Nickname: King Otto

  • Profession: Professional Football Coach

Otto Rehhagel Physical Stats

  • Weight: 75 Kg

  • Height: 1.77 m

  • Eye Color: Blue

  • Hair Color: Brown

Otto Rehhagel Football Information

  • Position: Defender

  • Jersey Number: 2

  • Professional Debut: 1957

Otto Rehhagel Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 9 August 1938

  • Birth Place: Essen, Germany

  • Zodiac Sign: Leo

  • Nationality: German

Now stay tuned to this section of

Otto Rehhagel biography

as we want to share some info about

Otto Rehhagel childhood


Otto Rehhagel Early Life

Otto Rehhagel was raised in the Altenessen district of Essen and was the second youngest of four children. Their father was a coal miner and worked at the Helene Colliery, located not far from Rehhagel's home at Rahmstraße 113.

His early childhood was influenced by the war years; from the beginning of March 1943 until shortly before the end of the war, the Ruhr metropolis of Essen became the target of numerous bombing raids. The death of his father, who was only 39 years old, in February 1950 was an additional traumatic event.

The family then lived in the most basic conditions on his mother's pension until Otto Rehhagel, after graduating from primary school, finished an apprenticeship as a painter and decorator in a small business from 1954 to 1957 and then found a job in this profession at the Helene colliery.

Rehhagel started his football career in his hometown with TuS Helene Essen and the historic club Rot-Weiß Essen. In 1963, as the German Bundesliga came into being, he transferred to Hertha BSC in Berlin. Some two weeks after his 25th birthday, Rehhagel was on the pitch on the first matchday of the new elite division.

On 14 November 1963, he scored his first two Bundesliga goals against

1. FC Kaiserslautern

- the club to which he moved in 1966 and with which he would make history decades later. In total, the relentless defender played 201 Bundesliga games and scored 22 goals.

Otto Rehhagel Profile

In 1971, a cartilage blast in his knee ended his career as a player, yet Rehhagel was prepared: the 31-year-old earned his coaching licence in March 1970 in the last course led by Hennes Weisweiler at the Cologne Sports University.

Now stay tuned to this section of Otto Rehhagel biography as we want to share some info about his Offenbach career.

Kickers Offenbach

After working for regional league team 1. FC Saarbrücken, he signed with Bundesliga team

Kickers Offenbach

in 1973, succeeding Gyula Lorant the following year. Rehhagel was quickly successful: after tenth place finishes in 1973/74, the Kickers only failed to reach the European Cup at the end of the 1974/75 season and finished eighth.

While Rehhagel's "hurrah style" caused a sensation, the coach got himself sidelined when he accused referee Walter Eschweiler of bribery on the fringes of a


match: Rehhagel was sentenced to a two-month ban and a DM 5,000 fine. Offenbach then fired him.

Different German Clubs

In the following period, Rehhagel earned a reputation as a "makeshift" and "fireman", coaching four clubs between 1976 and 1980: Werder Bremen,

Borussia Dortmund

, Arminia Bielefeld and Fortuna Düsseldorf. He won his first title with the Rhinelanders. The Fortuna club won the DFB Cup with a 2:1 victory over 1. FC Köln in the final. However, just six months later, the team was already finished in 16th place in the table. The coach did not live up to the high expectations.

Werder Bremen

Lucky for Rehhagel, he answered the emergency call of his former club Werder Bremen. Bremen were on course for success in the Second Division, but coach Kuno Klötzer was forced to resign for health reasons after a car accident. In 1982, Rehhagel stepped in and guided the team back into the Bundesliga, instantly placing them in the top flight.

The trade journal "kicker" was still sceptical in its preview ("the past of club and coach does not necessarily suggest that the current partnership will work out well"), but it marked the beginning of an unprecedented era of success in Bremen. After years of playing in the lower regions of the table, Werder Bremen is now permanently at the top of the league. Following two fifths and three second places, the long-awaited championship title finally goes to Bremen in 1988.

Rehhagel's concept of a "controlled offensive" was successful: besides young talents such as Rudi Völler, Frank Neubarth, Johnny Otten, Norbert Meier, Karl-Heinz Riedle or Frank Ordenewitz, he also managed time and again to perfectly incorporate unknown foreign professionals such as Rune Bratseth (


) or Wynton Rufer (New Zealand) and so-called "old stars" such as Klaus Allofs, Klaus Fichtel, Erwin Kostedde or Manfred Burgsmüller into the team.

Alongside another championship (1993) and two cup victories (1991 and 1994), Rehhagel's Werder also won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1992 - the biggest success in the club's history. Furthermore, the club caused a sensation with many brilliant appearances in the European Cup, which went down in history as the "Miracle of the Weser".

Now stay tuned to this section of

Otto Rehhagel biography

as we want to share some info about his Munich career.

Bayern Munich

It was impossible to imagine Werder without Otto Rehhagel, which is why the press conference on 13 February 1995 was a sensation when the long-serving Bremen coach declared his departure to

Bayern Munich

, of all teams, the big rival and antagonist. However, the supposed dream partnership turned out to be a big mistake.

Rehhagel was unable to cope with the airs and graces of Munich's stars, who in turn were uncomfortable with the coach's rotation policy. Soon there were personal differences within the club - Rehhagel was dismissed after a 0:1 defeat against Hansa Rostock, a few days before the first UEFA Cup final. The Bavarians subsequently win this title with interim coach

Franz Beckenbauer


1. FC Kaiserslautern

Rehhagel again took the diversions via the Second Division - and it proved to be the right decision. 1. FC Kaiserslautern, relegated for the first time in the club's history, courted the services of the 58-year-old. "Here you can be Otto again," says President Jürgen Friedrich, who used to play football with Rehhagel at FCK. In contrast to Munich, the partnership worked right from the start.

The club immediately returned to the top flight and a year later, with a 4:0 win over Wolfsburg on the second to the last matchday, Kaiserslautern became the first promoted team in the history of the Bundesliga to win the German Bundesliga. It all started with a 1-0 win in the first round of the 1997/98 season against Bayern Munich, of all teams. The satisfaction of Otto Rehhagel at this victory was reflected in a minute-long jubilant run through the Olympiastadion.

However, with the championship title, both expectations and demands grow in the Palatinate. Moreover, Rehhagel lost his lucky hand in managing the team. He could not control young international

Michael Ballack

any more than he could the French world champion Youri Djorkaeff, who looked out of place in the Palatinate province. His tenure at Kaiserslautern came to an end on 20 September 2000 - when Rehhagel resigned.

Greece National Team

The 62-year-old's time in the Bundesliga would seem to be over - following 820 games in 26 years as a coach. However, Rehhagel's successful career was not over yet. In 2001, he was unexpectedly named national coach of


. His debut on 5 September did not indicate what a new success story was in the pipeline: the Greeks were defeated 1:5 in Finland, and Rehhagel did not appear to be a lifesaver.

However, once again the coach demonstrated his special ability to transform supposedly average individual players into a team that could outgrow itself. In 2004, Greece sensationally won the European Championship in



Hertha BSC

Following the 2010 World Cup, Rehhagel resigned as Greece's national coach - a record holder. No one before him had more caps (106) to their name, no one had a longer tenure (almost nine years), let alone titles to their name. The 70-year-old stayed in retirement for two years before he accepted

Hertha BSC

of Berlin's call for help.

Following in the footsteps of Fred Schulz, who in 1978 coached

Werder Bremen

for six months at the age of 74, Rehhagel became the oldest Bundesliga coach of all time and, at the end of the season, also the record coach with 832 games. However, despite all his experience, he was unable to stop the relegation of the Berlin club. After his tenure at Hertha BSC, Otto retired from the football world.

Now stay tuned to this section of Otto Rehhagel biography as we want to share some info about his coaching style.

Style of Play

Otto Rehhagel was one of the most tactical coaches in German football during his prime days and one of the first to play with a 3-man defensive line. It was in Werder Bremen when he first used the 3-5-2 system of play, which proved to be his main playing system later on with Bayern Munich and 1. FC Kaiserslautern.

With the Greece national team, however, he showed more tactical flexibility and we saw his team play with different systems depending on the match. In Greece, he managed to win the Euro 2004 mainly with the 4-3-3 attacking playing system.


Considered by many football fans and critics to be one of the best coaches in the history of German football, Otto Rehhagel is the holder of many records there. As head coach of many German clubs, he has managed to win many personal awards as the best coach.

Otto Rehhagel outside Football

On two occasions, Rehhagel was a member of the Federal Assembly and participated in the election of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany: in the 11th Federal Assembly in 1999 at the suggestion of the CDU parliamentary group in the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament and in the 15th Federal Assembly in 2012 at the request of the CDU parliamentary group in the Berlin House of Representatives.

Since retiring from coaching, Otto Rehhagel nowadays spends more time with his family, one thing that he failed to do before because of his busy schedule as a professional football coach.

Otto Rehhagel Personal Life

In this section of Otto Rehhagel biography, we will take a deeper look into his personal life and share some information about things like

Otto Rehhagel life story


Otto Rehhagel religion

, stay tuned.

Family, Children and Relationships

Around Christmas of 1963, a few months after relocating to Berlin, Otto Rehhagel got married to his childhood love Beate, who was originally from the Steele district of Essen and who had followed him to Berlin in the summer of 1963.

Together, the couple has a son named Jens who was born in 1973 and played football for the amateurs of Werder Bremen, among other clubs. In an interview, Otto Rehhagel said about his late happiness as parents: "Beate and I were already married for ten years and felt that we couldn't have any children. But then Jens came along. That was the great happiness of our lives.”


During his professional football career, he has always been part of many charitable causes. Since 2016, Otto Rehhagel has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Essen University Hospital Foundation. Along with his advisory role, he is also a patron of the regular "One Goal - One Smile" campaign and supports the visits of various football stars to the children's hospital at Essen University Hospital.

Legal Issues

At the time of writing this article, there are no reports of any legal issues or disputes regarding Otto Rehhagel either in the German or English media.

Otto Rehhagel Career Statistics

In this section of Otto Rehhagel biography, we will take a look at his career stats on the international and club level.


For 17 years between 1957 and 1972, Rehhagel played more than 290 league matches for many German football clubs, most notably for Hertha BSC and 1. FC Kaiserslautern, scoring 26 goals, which is very good for a defender.


In 1960, while he was playing for Rot-Weiss Essen, he was able to play two matches for the West Germany Amateur national team.


During his managerial career, Otto Rehhagel had a 49.47 percent win ratio with 606 wins, 278 draws and 341 defeats in a total of 1225 matches that he coached numerous teams.

Otto Rehhagel Honors

Rehhagel has won all of his career trophies and awards as a coach, which most notable of them includes DFB-Pokal, Bundesliga, DFL-Supercup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, 2. Bundesliga and the 2004 UEFA European Championship, among others.

Of his notable personal awards, we can include European Coach of the Year—Alf Ramsey Award, Greece's Coach of the Year, IFFHS World's Best National Coach and many others.

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source: SportMob

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