A record-breaking title winner in his first season as Bayern Munich's head coach, Hansi Flick has launched himself back into the managerial world with a huge splash.
bundesliga.com looks back on the life and career of 55-year-old Flick, from his Bundesliga playing days to helping Germany make it four World Cup triumphs...
1) Familiar face at Bayern
Born in the picturesque town of Heidelberg in 1965, Hans-Dieter Flick – to give him his full name – made his breakthrough at Sandhausen in the lower leagues of German football between 1982 and 1985.
He was spotted by Bayern Munich at the age of 20 and spent five years with the Reds, making 137 appearances for the club and winning four Bundesliga titles as well as the 1986 DFB Cup before departing in 1990. The midfielder then moved on to Cologne, but after struggling with serious injuries he played his last Bundesliga game in September 1992. His time as a professional footballer officially came to an end the following year at the age of 28.
2) Bank clerk instead of VfB Stuttgart
Flick's career could easily have taken a very different course. At the age of 18 he was part-way through an apprenticeship to be a bank clerk when he received – and turned down – an offer to play for VfB Stuttgart, who went on to win the 1983/84 Bundesliga title.
"I wanted to finish my training at the bank," he told Rund magazine in 2014. "But VfB said that if I did that I'd have to play for the reserve team – and I didn't want to do that. I just wanted something to fall back on because I didn't know how long I'd be able to play football for."
Watch: Hansi Flick's best Bundesliga goal
3) Move into management
Thinking ahead is a trait that has remained with Flick, and he made sure to begin his coaching badges in good time. He eventually received his professional license in 2003 after finishing joint-top of his class, alongside former Hamburg, Borussia Dortmund and Hannover boss Thomas Doll.
After several years on the touchline at his local amateur side in Bammental, Flick was appointed as Hoffenheim head coach in 2000. He helped drive the club's development over the next five years, earning promotion from the fourth to the third division and paving the way for Ralf Rangnick to take the side up to Bundesliga 2 in 2007. Flick then had a brief spell on the coaching staff at Salzburg under Giovanni Trapattoni, before receiving a life-changing call…
4) World Cup winner
On 23 August 2006, just a month after Joachim Löw had been installed as Germany head coach following Jürgen Klinsmann's resignation, Flick was appointed as Löw's assistant. In a stroke of fascinating coincidence, Löw's brother Markus had been the player signed by Sandhausen to replace Flick in 1985.
It was the first time in history that neither the Germany head coach nor his assistant had ever played for the country at the highest level, with Flick having only made two appearances for the U18s. That was no hindrance to the duo, however, as they took the team to the summit of the global game. After finishing as runners-up at UEFA Euro 2008 and in third place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Die Mannschaft conquered all comers at Brazil 2014 to put a fourth star on Germany's shirts.
5) Hometown honours
As a result, in November 2015 Flick was given the freedom of Bammental, the small town just outside Heidelberg where he lives with his wife Silke. He is the youngest-ever recipient of the award in the town, where he also runs a sports shop. After stepping down as Löw's assistant following the World Cup triumph, he took up a post as sporting director at the German Football Association (DFB) in September 2014, a role he held until January 2017.
6) The Bayern return
After little over seven months back with Hoffenheim as the club’s director of sport, Flick was out of football from February 2018 until July 2019, when he made his return to Bayern as assistant manager to Niko Kovac. An assistant for the third time in his blossoming coaching career, Flick joined a staff looking to win a second title in a row under the former Eintracht Frankfurt coach. They also hoped to add the UEFA Champions League title alongside it.
7) Baptism of fire
Bayern’s second season under Kovac got off to a rocky start and by the start of November he was out, with Flick handed the reins on an interim basis. The defending champions had suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Frankfurt and were sat fourth in the Bundesliga table, with Dortmund to come next in Der Klassiker.
Flick dealt with the potential banana-peel fixture of Olympiacos in the Champions League group stage before his true baptism of fire against Dortmund on Matchday 11. The 4-0 win that followed moved Bayern above their title rivals. A few further adjustments were needed after defeats to Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach in the following weeks, but after that Flick and Bayern didn’t look back.
Watch: See how Bayern beat Dortmund in Flick's first Bundesliga game in charge
8) Record-breaking returns
There might have been the smallest concerns creeping into the minds of Bayern’s bosses after those back-to-back defeats to Leverkusen and Gladbach, but since then Flick has taken the record champions to a level they have rarely reached before. It’s hard to imagine a coach breaking records at Bayern when you think that the club have been managed by Pep Guardiola and won an unprecedented treble under Jupp Heynckes in the last 10 years, but that’s what Flick has done.
With two games to play in the 2019/20 Bundesliga season, his record stood at 25 wins from 28 games in all competitions – the best ratio of any Bayern coach in history. His points-per-game ratio of 2.71 surpassed Pep's 2.6 of 2013/14 and is just ahead of Heynckes' phenomenal 2.7. Bayern had also scored three goals per game under Flick on average, the best ratio in the club’s history.
9) A team favourite
“He has a clear plan. He reintroduced certain values and the team followed him wonderfully. I think he has a very high level of empathy with the team. They trust him and he trusts the players. In addition to the qualitative values he has as a coach, this is a very important factor."
Those are the words of Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on Flick and how he has worked with his squad. The Bayern coach has given time to praise each and every one of his players throughout the season, helping to build strong public and private relationships with each member of the squad.
Watch: Bayern wrapped up their eighth straight Bundesliga title with victory in Bremen
10) Long-term contract
In April 2020 Flick was rewarded for his remarkable turnaround at Bayern by being given a permanent contract as the club’s head coach until 2023. “Together we have defined the direction for the coming years," he said. "I'm sure that we can achieve a lot together."
It’s Flick’s first role as a permanent head coach since he left Hoffenheim in November 2005. Bayern had changed managers mid-season in two of the last three campaigns, but Flick could finally be the man for the club’s next generation.