Jürgen began preparing for coaching/managing while he was a player. His club experiences in the top leagues of Germany, Italy, France, and England included learning from successful managers such as Arsene Wenger, Giovanni Trappatoni, Otto Rehhagel, Ossie Ardiles, Gerry Francis, Arie Haan and Cesar Luis Menotti; competing within and against tactical systems that emphasized different styles of play; dealing with the pressures of knock out and championship matches; working with players from numerous countries; and becoming fluent in English, Italian, and French in addition to his native German. Plus, Jürgen competed in over 100 national team matches for Germany all around the world while playing for 2 renowned managers, Franz Beckenbauer and Berti Vogts, and winning both the UEFA European Championship and the FIFA World Cup.
In July 2004, the German Football Federation (DFB) asked Jürgen to become manager of the German national team.
Germany had been eliminated in the group stage of the 2004 UEFA European Championships, and the DFB wanted the national team program revitalized in preparation for hosting the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Jürgen melded young, up and coming players with proven veterans; recalled Germany’s championship teams with an aggressive, attacking style of play; insisted on superior fitness; used experts from related fields (e.g. fitness) to enhance preparation; and embraced the team’s role in German society by making Berlin the team’s World Cup headquarters.
Jürgen’s leadership approach and coaching acumen resulted in Germany exceeding predictions for the 2004 -2006 time period:
• 34 matches with 20 wins, 8 draws, 6 losses
• 3rd place 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup
• 3rd place 2006 FIFA World Cup
• German Coach of the Year (2006)
Jürgen stepped aside as German national team manager after the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He left in place a foundation for on-going success, including the core of the German national team coaching staff and players that led Germany to 2nd place in the 2006 UEFA European Championships and a top seed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In 2008, Jürgen accepted the challenge of coaching FC Bayern Munich. Jürgen helped design a new player development and performance center for Bayern and then launched into molding the team for the Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League campaigns. Under Jürgen’s guidance, Bayern reached the quarter final of the Champions League, losing to eventual champion Barcelona. Bayern’s record during the 2008/2009 UEFA Champions League was 6 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss (to Barcelona).
In the Bundesliga, Bayern was only 3 points out of first place, with 5 matches to play, when Jürgen was replaced as coach due to a difference of opinion with the club’s Board of Directors. Bayern’s record under Jürgen during the 2008/2009 Bundesliga season was 16 wins, 6 draws, and 7 losses.
In August 2011, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati named Jürgen as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team, making him the 35th coach in the history of the program.
“We are excited to have Jürgen as the head coach of our Men’s National Team,” said Gulati. “He is a highly accomplished player and coach with the experience and knowledge to advance the program. Jürgen has had success in many different areas of the game and we look forward to the leadership he will provide on and off the field.”
“I am proud and honored to be named the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team,” Jürgen responded. “I would like to thank the U.S. Soccer Federation for the opportunity, and I’m excited about the challenge ahead. I am looking forward to bringing the team together and starting on the road toward qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.”
On February 29, 2012, the U.S. National Team had an historic 1-0 victory against Italy. It was the first win against the four-time FIFA World Cup champion, breaking a previous 10-game losing streak against Italy dating back to 1934. The US also broke Italy’s 20 game winning streak against all opponents at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa.