The UEFA Champions League is one of the most prized assets every coach wishes to add to their Cv.
While there have been dominant teams every season the competition Kicks Off, there have been a few surprises as witnessed with FC Porto and Inter Milan previously all under Jose Mourinho.
But while there are coaches who have overseen games from the first group games to the final and won the accolade, there are a few who picked up midway through the season to lead their sides to the title. So who are just these coaches who changed club fortunes?
- Real Madrid (2000)
Former Wales international John Toshack, who won the European Cup as a player at Liverpool was considered a journeyman and it was not a surprise when he rejoined Madrid in 1999 for his second stint.
He was given his marching orders after a disastrous eight-match winless streak in La Liga in the autumn of 199/00 season and was replaced by club legend Vicente del Bosque in mid-November.
The Real Madrid legend had a couple of short spells as caretaker before he finally got the job on a full-time basis in ’99. While they ended the season in the fifth position, it was in Europe where they really turned things around, progressing as runners-up behind Bayern Munich in the second group stage before knocking out holders Manchester United with a famous 3-2 win at Old Trafford, beating Bayern 3-2 on aggregate in the semis and cruising past Valencia with a resounding 3-0 victory in the final at the Stade de France.
- Chelsea (2012)
Chelsea has had a tendency of parting ways with coaches when results don’t go their way. The same was the case with 32-year-old Andre Villas-Boas who was sacked after nine months despite leading the team to a Europa League title.
Assistant manager Roberto Di Matteo and while they finished the season in 6th position he was to win them a Champions League title and the FA Cup.
- Real Madrid (2016)
Rafael Benitez was the man chosen by Florentino Perez to topple Barcelona’s treble-winning side of 2014-15 and while he picked 16 points from 18 available in the Champions League group stage, keeping five clean sheets from six, and topped the La Liga table after 10 games he was sacked following Los Blancos 4-0 home defeat to Barcelona in November in the Elclasico.
Successor Zinedine Zidane was the man to replace him and after a few changes in the team, he was to hand them the Champions League in his first job in senior management.
That first Champions League under the legendary former France international was won on penalties over city rivals Atletico Madrid, while Real also won their last 12 La Liga matches to put the pressure on Barcelona, ending up just one point behind in the final standings.
- Bayern Munich (2020)
Despite handing Bayern the Bundesliga title, Niko Kovac was sacked in November after concerns emerged about the quality of the performances.
Bayern immediately went for the current Germany national team Hansi Flick and it proved to be a masterstroke. Flick’s Bayern was a brutal winning machine; they took 58 points from 60 available from mid-December onwards, won all six of their DFB-Pokal cup matches in 90 minutes, and secured the treble by beating PSG 1-0 in the Champions League final.
- Chelsea (2021)
This was the second time Chelsea were winning the Champions League with a coach brought in midway through the season.
In January 2020, Chelsea waved goodbye to club legend Frank Lampard and replaced him with Thomas Tuchel. While the German credits Lampard for laying the foundation for his success, he was to win the Champions League with the team deploying a different style of play that has seen the Blues be one of the favorites to win the league title this season.
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