Across Europe, many managers have had success with their clubs in the 2012/13 season - some have exceeded expectations and others have led their sides to glory.
Here we look at five of the best from the 2012/13 campaign:
5. Brendan Rodgers – Liverpool
Ever since the collapse in 2009, Liverpool have asked the same thing of Kenny Dalglish, Roy Hodgson and Brendan Rodgers, to steer the club back to what it used to be.
While the formers failed, the latter has Liverpool playing a new exciting brand of passing, attacking football, in which Luis Suarez has become recognised as one of the league’s best players, while Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson have flourished into two of England’s best and most promising players.
With a little investment in the back-line, he can take Liverpool far, and we may well see them re-join the ‘big 4’.
4. Vincenzo Montella – Fiorentina
Going into the last few games of last season, Fiorentina weren’t safe from relegation, and this season, they took the Champions League fight into the dying minutes of the final game of the season. They ultimately lost out to a controversial decision by the referee to give Mario Balotelli a penalty, which he converted.
But The Viola mustn’t dwell on what has happened, and if they train hard, they could be Juve’s main title challengers next season.
3. Jurgen Klopp – Borussia Dortmund
Although Dortmund finished 22 points of runaway Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich, Klopp’s decision to ignore defending his Bundesliga title seems to have paid off, as his club await Bayern Munich in European club footballs biggest game. Dortmund have stayed true to their total football style and haven’t resorted to pathetic over-defending like Chelsea did last season.
Although they rode their luck against Malaga by progressing with a goal that was offside, they made up for it by thrashing Real Madrid 4-1 at Signal Iduna Park, where the incredible Robert Lewandowski grabbed all four in a mesmerising display of pace and control. Although they failed miserably in defending their Bundesliga crown, any manager that makes it to the Champions League final deserves a lot of praise.
2. Antonio Conte – Juventus
Two years ago, Juventus had just finished the season in highly disappointing seventh place, missing out on all forms of European competition. Enter stage right Antonio Conte, the man who will forever be in Juve history books, after taking a mid-table side and finishing his first season in charge as undefeated champions.
This season hasn’t been too shabby either, winning the league again and reaching the last eight of the Champions League, going out 4-0 on aggregate to the team who would later astonishingly humiliate Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate.
Conte has taken the Bianconeri back to the heights they are used too in such little time, and if he keeps this up, he could go down as one of the best managers in the history of the game.
1. Jupp Heynckes – Bayern Munich
Who else could be number one? The Bayern supremo has built the finest squad in world football, ingeniously mixing some of the world’s greatest talents like Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben, with some of the hardest working players in the world in the forms of Mario Mandzukic and Toni Kroos.
After dismantling an albeit out of form Juventus side in the quarter finals, they took themselves to the next level by leaving Barcelona hopelessly clinging to possession over two legs in a master class that saw the Bavarians run out 7-0 aggregate winners. Bayern have also strolled to the Bundesliga title, winning it the earliest it ever has been, and finishing 22 points clear of second placed Borussia Dortmund.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://bit.ly/12nAsNY