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Schuster in the Driving Seat

  • UEFA.com, Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:58 PM
These days in La Liga, whenever there's talk of someone like Real Madrid's Fabio Capello or Barcelona's Frank Rijkaard being replaced, the one Spain-based name that consistently surfaces as a possible candidate is Getafe coach Bernd Schuster. You might ask: why, and who is he? Answer: Schuster was a brilliant midfielder and later libero in the 1980s and 1990s who quit playing for Germany after only 24 caps. As a coach, he has shown he knows how to organize his players. Getafe might not be the most exciting team in La Liga (a tremendous understatement) but his guys, at best tier-two and -three players, have conceded just 18 goals in 29 games. The flip side of that, of course, is that they've scored just 23.

But that's no matter to the Getafe faithful, who are witnessing the witnessing the Madrid club's most impressive season in its short 24-year history. Graham Hunter of UEFA.com says the club's 12,000-strong member base keeps it from being able to sign high-caliber players, so Schuster responds by instilling a pragmatic approach to Getafe's play: speed, team defending and counterattack. The result has been victories over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, draws against league leaders Sevilla and Barcelona and seven goals past Champions league quarterfinalist Valencia over two games. Schuster knows he's good too, having extracted more from an average bunch than most coaches ever could. Because of this, he calls Getafe "a trampoline," and talks openly about maybe coaching teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Manchester United.

Read the whole story at UEFA.com »

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