Ernst Happel

Ernst Happel

Happel in 1978
Personal information
Full name Ernst Franz Hermann Happel
Date of birth (1925-11-29)29 November 1925
Place of birth Vienna, Austria
Date of death 14 November 1992(1992-11-14) (aged 66)
Place of death Innsbruck, Austria
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1938–1942 Rapid Wien
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1942–1954 Rapid Wien 177 (8)
1955–1956 RC Paris 42 (9)
1956–1959 Rapid Wien 63 (17)
Total 282 (34)
National team
1947–1958 Austria 51 (5)
Teams managed
1962–1969 ADO Den Haag
1967San Francisco Gales (USA)
1969–1973 Feyenoord
1973–1974 Sevilla
1974–1978 Club Brugge
1977–1978 Netherlands
1979 Harelbeke
1979–1981 Standard Liège
1981–1987 Hamburger SV
1987–1991 FC Swarovski Tirol
1992 Austria

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Ernst Franz Hermann Happel (29 November 1925 – 14 November 1992) was an Austrian 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. He was the first of the five managers to have won the European Cup with 2 different clubs, Carlo Ancelotti, Ottmar Hitzfeld, José Mourinho and Jupp Heynckes being the other four. He is also one of five managers, along with Mourinho, Giovanni Trapattoni, Tomislav Ivić and Eric Gerets to have won domestic league championships in at least four different countries.

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.[1]

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 Switzerland, 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.[2]

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 took two 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 one of 5 coaches in the history of the European Cup (now called UEFA Champions League) to win the title with two different clubs (the others being Ottmar Hitzfeld, who won with both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, Jose Mourinho, who won with FC Porto and Inter Milan, Jupp Heynckes, who won with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich and Carlo Ancelotti, who won with AC Milan and Real Madrid).

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


A heavy smoker for most of his adult life, Happel died of lung cancer in 1992 aged 66. In the wake of his death, the biggest football stadium in Austria, the Praterstadion in Vienna, was renamed Ernst-Happel-Stadion. Four days after his death Austria played against Germany and reached a 0:0 draw. Ernst Happel's cap lay on the bench during the whole game.

Managerial statistics

As of 9 May 2012
Team From To Record
ADO Den Haag
Club Brugge 21 January 1974
K.R.C. Harelbeke
Netherlands 31 August 1977 25 June 1978
Standard Liège 1 July 1979 30 June 1981
Hamburger SV 1 July 1981 30 June 1987 241 132 57 52 54.77
FC Tirol 1 July 1987 1 December 1991
Austria 1 January 1992 14 November 1992
Total 241 132 57 52 54.77


As a player

As a coach


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