Six managers who have won the Champions League treble
A mere 10 months into the job and Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick guided his side to a historic UEFA Champions League treble, becoming only the sixth manager to do so.
Replacing Nico Kovac in November 2019, the former Germany assistant manager not only steadied the almost-sinking Bavarian ship but also went on to establish a perfect balance between his young as well as veteran players, something that Kovac failed to pull off.
Fast forward to today and Flick has now won 33 of his 36 games in charge and under his management, Bayern have scored a whopping 116 goals while conceding just 26, taking his win ratio to an impressive 91.67 percent.
Meanwhile, from a larger perspective, Flick is only the ninth manager to have won the continental treble (including the European Cup/Champions League and the UEFA Cup/Europa League), but today, we dive in to look at those six men who have swept the golden treble of the UEFA Champions League.
Sir Alex Ferguson - Manchester United (1998/99)
The race for the Premier League in the 1998/99 season went all the way to the final game of the season. United knew a defeat would hand the title to Arsenal, and thus Alex Ferguson’s young guns went berserk at home. To everyone’s surprise, Tottenham went ahead in front of the scorching Old Trafford crowd, but United, in all their glory, came back from a goal down to win the game 2-1 as Alex Ferguson lifted his fifth Premier League title in seven years.
Four days prior to their Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Camp Nou, United played Newcastle United in the FA Cup final and goals from Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes was enough to complete a double for Ferguson.
United arrived in the Champions League final as the underdogs. The two teams had already faced each other in the group stage of the competition but given Bayern’s experience, odds were stacked United on the night. As was expected, Bayern got the breakthrough early in the game, with Mario Basler finding the net. United, on their part, gave everything to find an equaliser, which they eventually did in the first minute of the injury time through Sheringham. Another corner a couple of minutes later and their current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer directed the ball into the net to send a crowd of 90,000 into a frenzy.
Pep Guardiola - Barcelona (2008/09)
Pep Guardiola, a managerial rookie back in the day, was appointed Barcelona’s new manager in 2008, and the Spaniard made some hefty changes in the squad, declaring that the likes of Ronaldinho, Deco and even Samuel Eto’o are not the part of his plans.
His team made a losing start to their La Liga campaign but as the players gathered momentum, they went on to win 27 of their 38 league games, including that famous 6-2 away win against Real Madrid. And some seven odd days before their final league game of the season, they defeated Athletic Bilbao 4-1 in the Copa Del Rey final to complete a double in Guardiola’s first season in charge.
On May 27, 2009, Guardiola and his men were up for arguably the biggest test, as Manchester United, who won the Champions League in 2008, awaited in Italy with a hope of making it two in two years.
However, Barcelona, riding on the back of an excellent campaign of Lionel Messi, registered a 2-0 win over the Red Devils to complete the historic treble in Rome.
Jose Mourinho - Inter (2009/10)
It has been a decade since Inter last won a major title, with the most recent one till then coming way back in 2010 under Jose Mourinho. Arriving from Chelsea in 2008 with a reputation for being a serial winner, Mourinho guided Inter to a league double in his first season, and that campaign was followed by a historic treble.
The 2009/10 season saw several veterans leaving Inter, but Mourinho managed to rope in capable replacements. The team started the new season with a defeat but made it up with an astounding 4-0 win in the Milan Derby. With 75 goals scored across 38 games, Inter finished two points clear of second-placed Roma to complete a successful defence of their Serie A title.
The team squared off against the capital club in the Copa Italia final and a goal from Diego Milito made all the difference as Inter completed a double in the second season running. And after eliminating his former side Chelsea in the round-of-16 of the Champions League, Inter faced Bayern Munich in the final, where Milito once again proved his worth as his brace guided his team to Champions League glory.
Jupp Heynckes - Bayern Munich (2012/13)
Jupp Heynckes returned to Bayern Munich for a third stint in 2011 and finished second to Borussia Dortmund in the league tally. The subsequent season, however, saw the Bavarians rising from the ashes as the team lost a solitary game in the 2012/13 Bundesliga to be crowned the new champions. Heynckes’ side finished with 91 points, 25 points clear of the second-placed Dortmund.
The two teams crossed swords in the DFB-Pokal final, and goals from Mario Mandzukic and Thomas Muller saw them thwart Die Borussen to complete a league double.
These sides were at it once again, this time in an all-German UEFA Champions League final in May 2013 at Wembley. Mandzukic once again scored the opener but this time, Dortmund found the equaliser through Ilkay Gundogan. Winger Arjen Robben then showcased a moment of magic as Bayern clinched the title in the dying minutes to complete the first-ever treble in their history.
Luis Enrique - Barcelona (2014/15)
Only a year after returning to Spain with Celta, former Real Madrid and Barcelona midfielder Luis Enrique was named Blaugrana’s new manager in 2014. Despite a massive overhaul in the team, Enrique started off with a 3-0 home win over Elche and went on an eight-game unbeaten run before Real Madrid halted the streak in October.
Enrique lost just three games till February 2015, and following a 1-0 defeat to Malaga, the Blaugrana gathered 38 points out of the 42 available to finish on the top of the La Liga table. In May 2015, only a few days before their Champions League final tie against Juventus, Enrique defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-1 in the Copa del Rey final to complete a league double.
Against Juventus in Berlin, Barcelona played their finest football to come out victorious by 3-1, and that victory made Barcelona the first team to win a Champions League treble in multiple seasons.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Matthew Childs