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Ernst Franz Hermann Happel (29 November 1925 – 14 November 1992) was an Austrianmarker football player and coach.

He is regarded as one of the most successful managers ever, winning both league and domestic cup titles in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria as well as winning the European Cup twice the first in 1970 and the second in 1983 and a runners-up medal at the 1978 FIFA World Cup.

Playing career

Club level

Happel started his professional career at Rapid Wien, where he made his first team debut at 17 years of age. Forming a solid defensive partnership with Max Merkel, he played 14 years for Rapid, from 1943 till 1954 and 1956 till 1959, winning the Austrian Championship title 6 times. He was chosen in Rapid's Team of the Century in 1999.

The 2 years in between Happel played for Racing Club de Paris in France.

International level

He made his debut for Austria in September 1947 against Hungary and was a participant at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerlandmarker, where he helped them reach 3rd place, and also at the 1958 World Cup.

His last international was a September 1958 match against Yugoslavia.He earned 51 caps, scoring 5 goals.

Managerial career

After retiring as a player, Happel went on to become one of the greatest coaches of all time. He won the league title in four different countries. He also tooktwo different clubs to gold in the European Champions' Cup (now the UEFA Champions League) and the Netherlands to second place in the 1978 World Cup. His first club was ADO Den Haag in 1962, with whom he won the Dutch Cup in 1968. After Den Haag he coached Feyenoord, with whom he won the Dutch championship in 1971, as well as the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup in 1970.

At the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina, Happel was coach of the Dutch national team and reached the final against the Argentine national team. Always a man of few words, Happel's pre-match pep talk is said to have consisted of just one sentence: "Gentlemen, two points.". The Dutch subsequently lost.

During his career as coach Happel worked for several clubs, including Sevilla, Club Brugge (winning the Belgian Championship title several times) and Hamburg (1981-1987, German champions in 1982 and 1983, German Cup winner 1987).

In 1983 he won the European Cup again, 13 years after the triumph with Feyenoord Rotterdam, this time with Hamburg. He is the only coach in the history of the European Cup (now called UEFA Champions League), besides Ottmar Hitzfeld, to win the title with two different clubs.

In 1987 Happel returned to Austria as coach of FC Swarovski Tirol. With FC Tirol he won the Austrian Championship title 2 times (1989 and 1990) before becoming coach of the Austrian national team in 1992.


He died of cancer in 1992 aged 66. After his death the biggest football stadium in Austria, the Praterstadion in Vienna, was renamed Ernst Happel Stadionmarker.


As a player

As a coach

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