Felix Magath is Fulham's new manager and the first German to manage a Premier League club. He's been given the task of trying to guide the last-place club out of the relegation zone and his reputation for cruelty arrived in England before he did.
Before Magath's unveiling at Craven Cottage, his old boss at Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeness, shared a sinister view of Magath's training ground methods. From The Mirror:
“He goes well beyond the limits of physical challenges with players.
“He is pushing players to a ridiculous stage. Well over the edge.
“For him it is natural to squeeze the body of a professional player like a lemon to the final drop. It goes well beyond the stage where it gets unhealthy for the body of a player. This can lead to a short revival but in the long term it leads to disaster. Felix Magath has proved that at every club he has been.
“The way he operates and works with players has nothing to do with getting results. I would never want to treat human beings like he does. I would never want to hurt a player as much as he does."
When asked about his supposedly horrific training methods upon meeting the English press, Magath provided a reasoned defense of his ways. From the Guardian:
"Why I should change my training? I am the most successful coach of Germany," said Magath. "Until now everyone has lived [through] my training. No one died. Ask Raúl about my work. Ask the good players and you will get the right answers. I am a nice guy."
No one has died! You can't argue with a record like that. And since not killing subordinates is the absolute minimum requirement for being a nice guy, Magath can call himself that. The fact that he said "until now" is a bit menacing, though.
Regardless of how much he squeezes his players, he has gotten results. In his two and a half seasons with Bayern, he won the Bundesliga title and DFB Pokal twice each. Then he went to Wolfsburg and won the Bundesliga again in 2008/09 with a team that had the league's top two scorers (Grafite and Edin Dzeko). So he could give Fulham a fighting chance at staying up, but at the very least he won't kill any of their players. Maybe.
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