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A tale of two Hoeness*

February 17, 2009

We’ve already blogged on Hertha Berlin’s surprise win over Bayern Munich at the weekend but I thought I’d mention one more aspect to the game and the result — this was one of those rare occasions when Dieter Hoeness got one over on his more famous brother Uli.

Uli is a year older than Dieter, almost to the day. They both spent most of their playing days at Bayern but their careers were still very different.

Uli was the flamboyant attacking midfielder, Dieter the scruffy workhorse. Uli was known for his graceful counter-attacking skills and blond hair, big Dieter is best remembered for his headers and for a photograph of him bleeding on the pitch, his head heavily bandaged in a match he went on to score in.

Uli won the 1974 World Cup at the height of his career against a superb Dutch side and also bagged the 1972 European Championships, making 35 appearances for Germany. Dieter only ran out six times for his country, coming out of semi-retirement to lose in the 1986 World Cup final against Diego Maradona’s Argentina.

Uli won the European Cup with Bayern Munich three times, Dieter instead had to settle for two bitter European Cup final defeats in 1982 and 1987.

As Bayern Munich manager Uli has celebrated 16 Bundesliga titles, Dieter has so far won only one with VfB Stuttgart in 1992, where he worked as manager.

When Hertha Berlin climbed to the top of the table on the weekend for the first time in more than two years, it must have been a very sweet moment for Dieter, General Manager at the Berlin club.

While Uli has managed Bayern for 30-odd years with spectacular success and is tipped to take over from Franz Beckenbauer as club president next year, Dieter has quietly worked at Hertha since 1996/97, seeing the team gain promotion to the Bundesliga in 1997.

Since 1999 Hertha have qualified for European competitions five times. This may not be much compared to Uli’s success at Bayern but speaks volumes of Dieter’s commitment to the game.

Uli, sitting dejectedly on the Bayern bench, said after the match in Berlin that Hertha were now major contenders for the Bundesliga title.

Dieter, from experience, was quick to reject the favourites’ tag.

“We certainly are not serious title contenders. Our aim remains a (qualification) place for the Europa League but if there is more in it for us we certainly won’t turn it down.”

With a German championship evading Hertha since 1931, Dieter would for once make a bigger splash than his brother if he brought the “Meisterschale” to the capital.

* or Hoenesses, if you think that sounds better

PHOTO: Bayern Munich’s manager Uli Hoeness arrives for his team’s German first division Bundesliga match against Hamburg SV, January 30, 2009. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

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