Greece Hires German Michael Skibbe as National Soccer Team Coach

The saga of filling the coach position in Greece’s national soccer team will have its final episode on Friday, when German Michael Skibbe will sign the contract.

The Greek Football Association (EPO) has hired Skibbe as the new national team coach, after the country’s 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign ended in total disaster with only one win.

The 50-year-old coach is the fourth man who will sit on Greece’s bench in one year. The former Schalke player has a rich resume, as he has coached several major clubs in Germany and Turkey, including Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt and Galatasaray.

After the glorious achievement of winning the 2004 European Championship, it took Greece 10 years to have a good showing in international soccer when they beat Ivory Coast and had a draw with Japan in the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

Along with the end of 2014 World Cup, Greece’s successful collaboration with Portuguese coach Fernando Santos ended as well. Santos went on to coach Portugal and was followed by Claudio Ranieri, Sergio Markarian and Greece’s Under 21 team coach Kostas Tsanas. All three were associated with a series of humiliating defeats, culminating in two losses by the Faeroe Islands in the Euro 2016 qualifiers and finishing last in Group F.

With Skibbe, EPO hopes that the national team will get back some of the luster Greece’s favorite German had given it in the past. Namely, Otto Rehhagel, the man who led Greece to winning its first European Championship ever.

In a statement on Thursday, the Greek Football Association said that Skibbe would sign a three-year contract on Friday.


  • Phil

    Greeks have generally had good experiences with Germans named Otto. Philhellenic King Otto was a great coach. I had a German acquaintance in 2004 say Greeks only won the European cup because of a German coach. I reminded him so did the German team that didn’t win.

    Alas the Germans are a big strong and smart people so we have gone back to being underdogs. It’s not all bad though. Germans have enough talent that there is great pressure to win these things. When they don’t win the team is often viewed as a failure much like in Brazil (which really isn’t fair but that’s the way demanding fans can be).

    Winning too much in some respects is like eating the same good food all the time. It dulls the taste of the food no matter how well made it might be. With Greeks we are considered a failure and thus huge underdog in advance so a rare championship win is almost a magical emotional experience. We definitely need to take it to the next level and win a world cup one of these days. Show some of that Leonidas is still there.

  • nttgrg08

    I know it was only a friendly, but losing to Luxembourg has not helped one bit. Turkey will be interesting, to say the least.