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Controversial Daum rises again to fight the fires at Frankfurt

Controversial coach Christoph Daum's record is glittering enough that he should be considered for the top jobs in the Bundesliga. He's managed to get them in Turkey but in his home country, he's still seen as a risk.

Christoph Daum is unveiled as Frankfurt coach

Does Christoph Daum deserve more than a relegation fight?

It seems that Christoph Daum just can't stay away from the Bundesliga. The coach who appears to have an endless supply of return tickets to Turkey is back again in his home country at the helm of yet another club in need of a savior. It all sounds very familiar…

Since Daum left Stuttgart in 1993, he has alternated his career between coaching German and Turkish clubs. Only once has he mixed things up a little, leaving Besiktas in 2002 for a season in Austria with FK Wien. However, he was soon back in Turkey with Fenerbahce after that and returned to type by leaving for his spiritual home in Cologne three years later.

One has to wonder if the Turks value Daum more than his countrymen as he tends to be offered the top jobs in the Turkish league while in the last few years at least, he has only been seen as a fire fighter by desperate Bundesliga clubs who need a coach - any coach - with experience to save them from slipping out of the top tier.

Frankfurt - his latest Bundesliga appointment - seems to be thinking along the same lines as Cologne in 2006. Here is a club which has slipped into a relegation battle with time running out and which is in need of a coach with the knowledge and skill needed to avoid the drop.

While Daum has often proved himself to be a canny operator and wily tactician when the club he's in charge of has stumbled into trouble, his appointment also suggests Frankfurt's options were extremely limited when scouting for replacements.

While giving the job to Daum could not be considered a desperate measure given his success in the game, giving him a job is always a controversial appointment. He may possess the necessary powers, but Daum is hardly the wholesome Clark Kent/Superman type.

Bundesliga big guns continue to overlook Daum

Michael Skibbe

Daum replaces Skibbe - not Magath, Littbarski or Veh

The main factor in his favor was that Daum was available after quitting Fenerbahce last year – which made him an easy and attractive option for Frankfurt once Michael Skibbe's days became numbered – but it's interesting that Schalke 04, Wolfsburg, Hamburg and even his former club Stuttgart all ignored Daum's availability when their own coaching positions were vacated during this season of culls.

Daum has been overlooked by most of the leading clubs in Germany over the past decade, and many of the mid-table teams. It appears that when it comes to considering their options, most clubs let the controversy which comes with appointing Daum bury his achievements.

After a unremarkable playing career with a number of amateur teams, Daum began his coaching career with Cologne's youth team in 1981 before moving up to co-trainer of the first team in 1985. He went one step further the following year and took full control of team affairs, culminating in two runners-up spots in 1989 and 1990.

Just when it seemed that Daum was going to push Cologne to their first title since 1978, he was lured away by VfB Stuttgart leaving Cologne to begin a sorry descent down the league which lasted for most of the 1990's and the majority of the early 2000's. Two years later he led Stuttgart to the Bundesliga title which Cologne had been so close to capturing under his reign.

Title successes lead to talk of national team job

Cologne's coach Christoph Daum jokes with the photographers after the German second division Bundesliga soccer match between 1.FC Cologne and Mainz 05 in Cologne Sunday, May 11, 2008. Cologne advanced to the first division.

Daum's achievements are often overlooked by hiring clubs

After leaving Cologne in 1990 and winning the title with Stuttgart in 1992, Daum took Bayer Leverkusen to three runners-up spots in the Bundesliga, won three Turkish league titles (one with Besiktas and two with Fenerbahce) and managed to find time in between to win the Austrian title with Vienna.

In fact, his curriculum vitae was considered glittering enough for him to be touted as the successor to Erich Ribbeck as German national coach after Ribbeck resigned in the wake of Germany's dismal Euro 2000 performance. Daum was poised to take on his country's hopes of a revival and lead Germany to World Cup success in 2002.

This is where Daum's standing in most corners of German soccer fell dramatically. Just as Daum was all set to take Germany on the road to World Cup qualification, he became embroiled in a very juicy and public drugs and sex scandal.

Cocaine and sex scandal marks Daum's card in Germany

Accused of massive cocaine abuse and wild parties with prostitutes, Daum was dropped from the national team's plans like the proverbial hot potato. He was still coach at Leverkusen at the time but soon found himself out of work and out of the country as the club fired him and he fled to the United States while proclaiming his innocence.

In what would become known as the famous Daum Hair Test, a renowned and internationally recognized laboratory at the University of Cologne carried out tests on a hair from the disgraced coach's head and found substantial traces of cocaine residue in the cells. Police then raided Daum's home and office at Leverkusen in an investigation into his alleged drug use.

German soccer coach Christoph Daum holds a news conference about the state of his health

Daum's cocaine habit led critics to label him paranoid

Daum maintained that the test had been manipulated and that he had been a victim of a conspiracy. The outspoken coach had made many enemies during his time in the German game and had been involved in an ugly and very public feud with the hierarchy at rival club Bayern Munich. His critics described his assertion he'd been set-up as evidence of the paranoid effects of cocaine abuse.

The affair signaled the start of Daum's exile from Germany and his successful period of coaching success in Turkey. The scandal was felt so deeply in Germany that when Rudi Völler resigned in the wake of Germany's Euro 2004 failure, Daum wasn't even considered for the job that eventually went to Jürgen Klinsmann. By the time Joachim Löw was passed the baton after the 2006 World Cup, it was clear that Daum's time had come and gone. He'd blown it - or more accurately, snorted it.

Now Frankfurt is offering the prodigal son one more reason to return to the Bundesliga. With the controversial coach installed for the end of season run-in, it could make for a very colorful relegation fight.

Author: Nick Amies
Editor: Michael Lawton

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