Saturday November 28, 2020
As a columnist, Max Merkel took professional football to his chest and even as a coach, the Austrian was hardly at a loss for a word. His training methods were also feared, but his successes were undoubtedly feared.
“Grumble”, “Whip crackers”, “Blasphemous mouth”: There were many names for the soccer teacher Max Merkel, not all of them were positive. What is certain, however, is that the Austrian had many successes as a coach, even if his “carrot and stick” training methods were strange.
“In training I once let the alcoholics of my team play against the anti-alcoholics. The alcoholics won 7-1. So I said: Keep drinking,” he once told an anecdote. But Merkel was also feared because of his Viennese humiliation, critics said he simply had a loose mouth.
As a coach from 1860 Munich, he was sentenced to a fine of 10,000 marks by the German Football Association (DFB) in 1967 because he reported that the only positive thing about 1. FC Köln was the billy goat: “And it stinks too.” He once etched about German officials: “They don’t even know that there is air in the ball. They believe it jumps because a frog is in it.”
Four championships in three countries
Born in Vienna, he was feared as a tough defender during his playing days, playing an international match for both Austria and Germany (after Austria was annexed by Germany, he played in Bratislava on August 27, 1939, 2-0 against Slovakia) . However, he was more successful as a coach, with Rapid Vienna (1957), 1860 Munich (1966), 1. FC Nürnberg (1968) and Atlético Madrid (1973) he won a total of four national championship titles, with the Lions he also reached the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup (1965).
His time as a columnist for the “Bild” newspaper finally followed. His relentless analyzes were feared for 28 years, and Merkel was seldom pardoned. On November 28th, 2006, a few days before his 88th birthday (December 7th), the iconic coach died in his house in Putzbrunn just outside Munich.