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Hitzfeld’s reunion with Bochum boss Koller

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Hitzfeld’s reunion with Bochum boss Koller

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Oct 21, 2007 12:06 am


In Saturday’s away trip to Bochum, the Bayern players are preparing for a tough tussle on the field of play, but Ottmar Hitzfeld is looking forward to a very special reunion as the home side are coached by Marcel Koller, one of the Bayern head coach’s former protégées. “We have a good relationship and spoke on the phone only last week,” Hitzfeld revealed.

Coach Hitzfeld and captain Koller worked successfully together at Grasshoppers Zurich from 1988 to 1991. Together, the pair collected Hitzfeld’s first two league titles as a coach, the Swiss Cup on two occasions and the local Supercup. “He was a modern holding midfielder, always a model pro, and always a consistent performer,” Hitzfeld recalled.

<b>Praise for Koller</b>

The two will cross swords as head coaches on Saturday for only the third time. Up to now, Koller has been unable to get the better of his former mentor. In 2003-4, when the Swiss supremo occupied the hot seat at 1. FC Köln, the teams drew 2-2 in Cologne with Bayern winning 2-1 in Munich, so Koller is now looking for a first success against Hitzfeld with his Bochum side.

“In Switzerland, he led underdogs St. Gallen to a surprise championship, and he’s achieved great things in Bochum too,” Hitzfeld said in praise of his former player. Koller also followed in Hitzfeld’s footsteps at Grasshoppers by claiming the Swiss title in 2003. He took the reins at Bochum in May 2005, guiding the Ruhr Valley outfit into the Bundesliga (2006) before leading VfL to an eighth-place finish in the top flight last term.

<b>Similar tactics to Bayern</b>

Emulating his former coach at Bayern, Koller sends out his Bochum team in a 4-4-2 formation with two holding midfielders, placing great emphasis on endurance, stamina and pacy attacks. “He has his team playing modern football,” Hitzfeld commented, “I don’t believe Bochum will pull nine men back behind the ball. We need to hold them off and play to our strengths.” For at least 90 minutes on Saturday, Hitzfeld and Koller will have to put aside their long-standing friendship.
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