The trainer of German football team Bayern Munich, Ottmar Hitzfeld, looks set to take over the Swiss national soccer team after this year's Euro 2008 championship.This content was published on February 4, 2008 - 17:56
A statement from the Swiss Football Association confirmed that an agreement was near for Hitzfeld to take over the reins from Köbi Kuhn after Euro 2008, which is being co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria.
Hitzfeld, aged 59 and no stranger to Swiss football, has been linked with the job after telling Bayern in December that he would leave the German club in June.
The statement said that Hitzfeld had met representatives of the football association and the Swiss Football League on Sunday afternoon.
It added that the meeting had led to "agreement on essential points" and the governing bodies of Swiss football would now be informed so that the necessary decisions could be taken.
Among his accolades, Hitzfeld was twice elected "World Coach of the Year", the first time at Borussia Dortmund, where Swiss striker Stéphane Chapuisat spent his most outstanding years.
"He is very ambitious and very successful," Chapuisat told swissinfo on Monday.
"He cultivates a very good contact with his players. A trainer cannot deal with everyone in the same way but one of Hitzfeld's strengths is that he always knows how to approach each individual."
Chapuisat, arguably Switzerland's best player in the 1990s, scored 21 goals in 103 caps for Switzerland and played in the 1994 World Cup, Euro 1996 and Euro 2004.
He said Hitzfeld was a successful trainer with his offensive style of play and knew how to win games.
"You can only take advantage of the experience of such a successful trainer. The most important thing is that he will do everything he can to make sure that Switzerland take part in the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
Asked whether Hitzfeld might have a language problem with the players from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, Chapuisat was clear.
"Absolutely not because most of the players from the French-speaking part of the country speak German or English. Added to that he will have someone at his side who speaks French.
"These days it is nothing unusual if a trainer cannot communicate with all the players in their mother tongue.
Chapuisat, affectionately known among fans as Chappi, says he still has contact with Hitzfeld.
"We had good and successful times together and we have always respected each other.
"That's one of the best sides of football in that you can stay in contact at the end of your career if the human touch is there."
swissinfo with agencies
Born in 1949 in the German town of Lörrach, near Basel, Hitzfeld is currently serving his second period as trainer of Bayern Munich.
As a player, he twice won the league title with Basel in 1972 and 1973. He won the Swiss Cup with Basel in 1975 and was top scorer in Switzerland in 1973 with 18 goals.
As a coach, he celebrated victories in the Swiss Cup in 1985 with Aarau, as well as in 1989 and 1990 with Grasshoppers of Zurich.
He won six German championships (with Borussia Dortmund in 1995 and 1996; with Bayern Munich in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003).
Hitzfeld also won the Uefa Champions League with Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and with Bayern Munich in 2001.
He was twice elected "World Coach of the Year" – 1997 and 2001.
Aged 64, Kuhn became coach of the Swiss national side in June 2001, replacing Enzo Trossero of Argentina.
During his spell as trainer of the squad, Kuhn led Switzerland to Euro 2004 and the World Cup in 2006.
He will lead Switzerland in the forthcoming Euro 2008 games, co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria.
During his playing career, Kuhn played 63 times for the national side. For much of his playing career he was with FC Zurich.
He played one match for Switzerland in the 1966 World Cup tournament in England.
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