Josef Hickersberger

Josef " Pepi " Hickersberger (* April 27, 1948 in Amstetten, Lower Austria ) is a former Austrian football player and current coach. He was a two-time team leader of the Austrian national football team and is currently employed at Al Wahda.

The Amstetten experienced his career highlight as a football player with the seventh place at the 1978 World Cup and the legendary 3-2 victory over Germany. In 1987 he assumed the post of the first Austrian national team, of which he had after the embarrassing 0-1 defeat against the team of the Faroe Islands to resign again in 1990. After several years in the Middle East, he returned back to Austria in 2002 and led Rapid Vienna in 2005 to the championship title. On 1 January 2006 he took over for the second time in his career, the Austrian National Team, and should this to the Home Championship 2008 forms to form a powerful team.

  • 2.1 The quick rise to national team coach, the World Cup in Italy and the embarrassment against the Faroe
  • 2.2 guest appearance in Dusseldorf, successes with Austria and the years in the Middle East
  • 2.3 Returning to Austria, success with Rapid and the era of " Hickersberger II" as national coach
  • 2.4 Re- return in the Arab Region
  • 2.5 Achievements as coach

Career as a player

Success with the Vienna Austria, debut in the national team and the move to Germany

Hickersberger began his career in 1960 as a twelve year old with his hometown club ASK Amstetten. Already as a teenager managed the goalscoring midfielder made ​​it into the first team and made so that higher class clubs attracted attention. In 1966 he moved at age 18 to giants and traditional club FK Austria Wien in the National League and led with four goals in just five appearances in well with the team one. The following season he won a regular place and celebrated with the happy winning the OFB Cup ( against the drawing of lots Linzer ASK) his first major title. This was followed in 1967, winning the European Championship title with Austrian amateur national team. In 1968 he played for the first time in the European Cup, but failed with Austria in the first round of the Cup Winners' Cup to Steaua Bucharest. On 1 May of the same year he was under team boss Erwin algae in the 1-1 draw against Romania his international debut in the Austrian national football team when he came on in the 63rd minute for his club colleague Ernst Fiala.

After two third place finishes in the National League Hickersberger won under coach Ernst Ocwirk 1969 and 1970 with the Purple twice in a row, the Austrian Championship, the Viennese with the likes of Robert Sarah Thomas Parits, Helmut Köglberger and Alfred Riedl in the 1968/69 season only suffered a single defeat ( 2:3 against the Linzer ASK). In the national team he graduated in 1970, during his fourth deployment, his first game from the start, but was defeated with his team in the friendly match against Yugoslavia in Vienna 0:1. In the game 1970 /71 Amstettner won with Austria by 2-1 in extra time over arch-rivals Rapid is the second time the OFB Cup. 1972 contributed Hickersberger before the game observers from Germany in the World Cup qualifier against Malta with a hat-trick in just six minutes to make it 4-0 with three goals. After the runner-up title behind the SSW Innsbruck left Hickersberger, who scored 28 goals in 111 league games for the Austria, Austria in the summer of 1972 and joined the German Bundesliga to Kickers Offenbach. In the following four years the midfielder completed 118 Bundesliga games for the Hessians, scoring 29 goals. After the descent of the Offenbach of the now 28 -year-old moved to Fortuna Dusseldorf, where he played until 1978 another 59 games in the first German Bundesliga and scored five goals.

World Cup 1978, miracle of Córdoba and recent triumph with Innsbruck and Rapid

His international career reached its peak Hickersberger with the Austrian national team, which for the first time again failed to qualify for the World Cup after a gap of 20 years, long established at the soccer World Cup in Argentina in 1978. Among team boss Helmut Senekowitsch for regular players who had always rather inconspicuous gambling midfielder a large role in the rise of his team in the second round. With the most powerful Austrian team the last 20 years Hickersberger occupied not only the seventh rank, but celebrated with the "Miracle of Cordoba", the legendary 3-2 victory over the still reigning world champions Germany, a soccer historical sensation that still unforgotten in Austria is. With this triumph ended the Lower Austrian who was deployed in all six World Cup matches, with 39 international appearances for his country, where he managed five goals on his international career.

During the summer break in 1978 Hickersberger returned to his homeland and played two years for the SSW Innsbruck. With the Tyrolean syndicate he won in the 1978/79 season with a 1-0 at the Tivoli and a 1-1 draw in the southern city against Admira / Wacker the cup competition, but increased in the same year, surprisingly from the 1st Division of the Bundesliga from. After the Innsbruckern in the second division took only second place the following year and thus missed the return to the major league level, changed Hickersberger 1980 Austrian record champions SK Rapid Wien. With the Hütteldorfern he finished third in 1981 and celebrated championship rank among the coaches Walter Skocik and Rudolf Nuske the end of his professional career by winning his third Austrian league title his last great success on the field.

After the end of his career as a professional player withdrew Hickersberger from football and worked as an editor at the Austrian teletext as well as a columnist for several newspapers. After two years of absence from football in 1984 he celebrated a comeback as an amateur player at small unterklassigen, Burgenland club UFC Pama. In 1986 he moved for half a season for SV Forchtenstein he in last place lying took over as player-coach and led to a mid-table of the second class Burgenland. Subsequently, he served as player-coach at the last minute Lower Austrian club WSV Traisen.

Achievements as a player

  • 3 x Austrian Champion: 1969, 1970 ( Austria Wien ), 1982 (Rapid Vienna)
  • 3 x Austrian Cup winner: 1967, 1971 ( Austria Wien ), 1979 (SSW Innsbruck)
  • 1 x Austrian runner-up: 1972 (Austria Wien)
  • 39 caps and five goals for the Austrian national team from 1968 to 1978
  • 1 x participation in the World Cup: Argentina 1978 ( 7th place )
  • 1 x amateur European champion

Career as a coach

The quick rise to national team coach, the World Cup in Italy and the embarrassment against the Faroe

After his engagements as player-coach at SV Forchtenstein and the WSV Traisen he took over in the fall of 1986 for the first time a pure coach spot at the traditional, but now sunk into insignificance Baden AC. After only a few months, he was committed on 1 January 1987 as assistant to the then Austrian team manager Branko Elsner and as head coach for the U- 21 team from OFB. After cancellation of Ernst Happel and Erich Ribbeck he received towards the end of 1987 by Beppo Mauhart, the then President of the Austrian Football Association, the vocation to the team manager of the national team, becoming the youngest coach in the history of the association.

Despite vehement criticism of many football experts - including former players such as Herbert Prohaska and Hans Krankl that, miscast saw in the inexperienced coach who had never been in charge of a Bundesliga team - reached Hickersberger the stated objective of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 1990 in Italy.

With respectable results in the World Cup qualifiers (3:2 Turkey, 1:1 and 3:0 DDR, 0:0 and 2:1 Iceland, 0-0 USSR) and auspicious success in the pre-season games (0-0 Egypt, 3: 2 Spain, Hungary 3-0, 1-1 in Argentina, 3-2 Netherlands) Hickersberger sparked his team to Duke, upholstery, Ogris, Rodax, Schöttel, Russ, Linzmaier, Artner and goalie Lindenberger a veritable euphoria at dressing and fans who screwed the expectations of the team ever higher.

After two narrow 0-1 defeats against hosts Italy and Czechoslovakia, where the Austrians, although well played along, but did not have a ghost of a chance to score, yet almost succeeded thanks to the victory (2-1) in their final group game against the United States the rise as one of the best third last sixteen, due to unfortunate outputs of the remaining games was but two days later the resignation fixed. After another surprise defeat in Vienna against Switzerland (1:3), the low point reached and seemed Hickersberger lost all credit with fans and media. The OFB continued to hold the Lower Austrian loyalty and so Hickersberger led his team in the upcoming qualifiers for the European Championship 1992, which had to deny Austria against teams from Yugoslavia, Denmark, Northern Ireland and the Faroe Islands.

The group was "pleasant" as the rise and dubbed a " feasible" and the first match against the " amateur troupe " the small group of islands, which was later adopted this year ( 1990) to FIFA, attributed no significance. From the Austrian perspective of game outcome seemed clear. Toni Polster (then top player at FC Sevilla), spoke before the game even from a 10-0 victory, and even the Faroe Islanders themselves, which had previously only contested friendlies, expected a high defeat.

After the embarrassing 0-1 defeat against the Faroese pejoratively as " amateur football " designated in advance of the call for the resignation Hickersberger was unmistakable. Three days after this historic sensation came to the Amstetten this call and resigned from his position as team boss down. From the Austrian media Hickersberger was missed due to this defeat, the unflattering name of " Faroe Pepi ". In its first era as a team manager, he led the team in 29 games to 10 wins, 7 draws and 12 defeats.

Stint in Dusseldorf, successes with Austria and the years in the Middle East

At the beginning of 1991, he joined as a successor to Aleksandar Ristic at the office of the head coach at his former club Fortuna Dusseldorf. After five games of which he won eleven points with his team, followed at the beginning of the 1991/92 season a failure series with six defeats in a row, which ended with his dismissal. After this event is again negative Hickersberger moved for two years from the football back. In the fall of 1993, he took over the team of Austria Wien and led her to the Cup victory over FC Linz and the Supercup victory over FC Tirol Innsbruck. Since he the stated objective, the Austrian Championship title with second place behind Austria Salzburg but narrowly missed with Violet, he was in the summer of 1994, recently terminated before his contract expires. This offense, which for years he could not overcome, meant that he turned his back on European football and spent several years from 1995 to countries in the Arab region.

In Bahrain, he was responsible for both the team of Al -Ahli, with whom he won the championship in 1996 and penetrated into Cupendspiel 1997, when the national team at the games to the Arab Cup. As a coach, he led his team in eleven games to four wins, two draws and five defeats. From 1997 to 1999 Hickersberger was two seasons working in Egypt and reached Mekawleen Cairo 1998, the Cup final and the third place in the championship. After two years in the United Arab Emirates, he moved to Al -Ittihad to Qatar and celebrated with the team in 2002, the victory in league and cup competition.

Return to Austria, success with Rapid and the era of " Hickersberger II" as national coach

After seven years abroad Hickersberger returned in May 2002, returned to Austria and built in the Austrian giants Rapid Vienna a young team on. In the 2003 /04 season he reached the Hütteldorfern fourth place and qualified with the team so for the next year's UEFA Cup, in which Wiener, however, failed in the second major round of Sporting Lisbon. In the game year 2004/ 05 he won with Rapid Austrian league title and reached the Hütteldorfern in autumn the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. With these successes, his reputation in Austria seemed restored, what the subsequent performances of his unfortunate Rapid players in the Champions League did not change anything.

In autumn 2005 Hickersberger was presented by OFB president Friedrich Stickler as the new team manager. On 1 January 2006, the Amstetten resigned the office to officially and thus opened up the job of building up a powerful team for the Home Championship 2008. Yet the end of the month he held the national team a two-week training camp in Dubai from which especially getting to know each, the sighting of new young players ( Özcan, Sonnleitner, Junuzovic and fox ) and the presentation of the new playing kit was used.

In the first match against Canada, the Lower Austrian attacked mostly still on the roster of his predecessor Hans Krankl back, but this had to change on the basis of many failures several times. The after his successes with Rapid at club level in the Austrian football scene gently rising hope for better times more with the surprising 0-2 against the underrated Canadian disillusionment. In subsequent encounters Hickersberger placing more emphasis on young players and granted despite the worst start of a Teamchefära in the history of Austrian football (0 wins, 1 draw, 4 losses; 4:11 doors ) after the games against Canada, Croatia, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Liechtenstein ) to the call for the retrieval arrivierter players like Didi Kühbauer and Ivica Vastić vehemently rebuffed. The situation, especially before and shortly after the match against Liechtenstein was extremely tense and was Hickersberger on the basis of which the kicker of the small Principality for the first time in their international match history a goal against Austria made ​​and almost on the brink of defeat brought (final score 2-1 ) already as for the count. The best game so far of the Austrians in the international match in 2006 was only a week later against the higher-rated Swiss national team. With a combative and playful surprisingly strong performance, the Austrians celebrated with a 2-1 their first major success in the era Hickersberger II Also in the last game of 2006 was achieved against World Cup participants Trinidad and Tobago a sovereign 4-1 win be. However, in the first game of 2007 against Malta, the team succeeded only 1:1, which the positive sentiment towards Hickersberger a little muffled and high expectations for the following games began. The positive sentiment returned something back as Austria with good performance managed a 1-1 draw against Ghana. The performance of the Austrian national team in subsequent games became worse and after the 0-2 defeat against Chile on 11 September 2007 echoed " Hicke out!" Chants by the Ernst-Happel -Stadion. With a 3-2 moderate success against the Ivory Coast on 17 October 2007 in Innsbruck, before more than 28,500 spectators, the discussions on an early release of Hickersberger as team boss were initially completed.

Had to compete in the home Euro 2008, in Austria in Group B against Germany, Croatia and Poland, the goal of the quarter-final feed was ultimately clearly missed. Despite quite acceptable performance, the team finished with two defeats against Croatia and Germany ( 0-1) and a draw against Poland (1:1) the preliminary round in third place. On 23 June 2008 Hickersberger announced his resignation.

Re- return to the Arab Region

On 10 December 2008 he took over in the United Arab Emirates, the first division side Al- Wahda, with which he could win the 2010 national championship. Since he could not agree on a contract extension with the club, he Al- Wahda left mid-May 2010. Early June 2010 Hickersberger was presented once again as the new coach of the Bahrain national football team. His position as national coach, he took over but only on July 1, 2010 One of the first games of the Bahraini national team under Hickersberger's leadership was the " international soccer match between Bahrain - Togo 2010". , In which an unspecified known group of players as a Togolese national team spent. Still early in its term as head coach he brought with Georg Zellhofer end of June 2010 another Austrian coach to Bahrain. Zellhofer took over while the U-23 national team of the country with which he will participate in the qualification for the Olympic Games in 2012. In October 2010 it was announced that Hickersberger gives up his coach - item and returns to Al Wahda. He left this club in May 2012.

Achievements as coach


Private life

Hickersberger grew up as the son of sandals manufacturers Hickersberger and his wife Frieda and his two sisters in Lower Austria Amstetten. After graduation he began with a law degree, but broke this off early in order to focus exclusively on his career as a professional footballer. With his wife, he once met as a gas station inspector and with whom he lives in Vienna Penzing since his return to Austria, he has two children. His son Thomas ( b. 1973 ) followed in the footsteps of his father, played several years in the Austrian Bundesliga and brought it to a use for the Austrian national team.

In his spare time Hickersberger is mainly his hobbies. Were these earlier especially tennis and hiking, so he has now prescribed for the slightly less intense sport of golf and the game of chess.


The Austrian performs a number of nicknames, such as " Pepi " (short for Joseph) and " Hicke ". The best known is the " Faroe Pepi ", which he got against the Faroe Islands to the historic defeat of the Austrian national team and he could no longer put off until today. After the defeat series at the beginning of his second era as team boss, he was already provided the name " Liechtenstein - Josef" in view in advance of the meeting with Liechtenstein. Hickersberger even commented that such designations are not matter to him, but always reacts irritated when reporters come back to this point.