Pierre Michael Littbarski (German pronunciation: [ˈpi̯ɛʁ lɪtˈbaʁskiː]; born 16 April 1960) is a German professional football manager and former player of 1. FC Köln and the West German national team. Known for his dribbling abilities, he was mainly used as an attacking midfielder or winger. Littbarski was a FIFA World Cup winner with West Germany in 1990, and the runner-up in both 1982 and 1986. Littbarski was the caretaker manager of VfL Wolfsburg after taking over from Steve McClaren from 7 February to 17 March 2011.
Littbarski in 2006
|Full name||Pierre Michael Littbarski|
|Date of birth||16 April 1960|
|Place of birth||West Berlin, West Germany|
|Height||1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)|
|Position(s)||Attacking midfielder, winger|
|VfL Wolfsburg (lead scout)|
|1976–1978||FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf|
|1978–1986||1. FC Köln||234||(89)|
|1987–1993||1. FC Köln||172||(27)|
|1993–1994||JEF United Ichihara||63||(10)|
|1979–1982||West Germany U-21||21||(18)|
|1980||West Germany B||1||(0)|
|2001||Bayer Leverkusen (assistant)|
|2010–2011||VfL Wolfsburg (assistant)|
|2011||VfL Wolfsburg (caretaker)|
|2011–2012||VfL Wolfsburg (assistant)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Littbarski spent most of his playing career at 1. FC Köln. He made his debut for the club, at the time coached by Hennes Weisweiler, at the age of 18. The stars on the team during Littbarski's first few years were goalkeeper Harald Schumacher, goal scorer Dieter Müller, and midfielder Bernd Schuster. Littbarski scored the winning goal in the 1983 DFB-Pokal final against Fortuna Köln. He was on teams that were three times the runner-up in the Bundesliga title chase, in 1982, 1989 and 1990. In his career, he was initially used as a deep-lying striker before being utilised as an attacking midfielder. Playing in the former role, in the four seasons from 1981 to 1985 he scored 64 league goals in 128 Bundesliga games. "Litti", as he was nicknamed by German fans, was widely known for his excellent dribbling abilities and humorous attitude, and was one of the fan favourites in the West German Bundesliga during the decade. In 1985 his goal versus Werder Bremen was elected "Goal of the Year". He later played for RC Paris in Ligue 1 as well as for JEF United Ichihara and Brummel Sendai in Japan.
Littbarski had a prolific but short career as part of the West German Under-21 side. He was a part of the squad that got to the 1982 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship final. The team lost to England 5–4 after a two-leg final (losing 1–3 away and winning 3–2 at home). Littbarski scored a hat-trick against the English in West Germany, but ultimately they lost the tie.
Littbarski earned his first cap for West Germany on 14 October 1981 in the 1982 World Cup qualification against Austria. West Germany manager Jupp Derwall started him in a three-man front line alongside Klaus Fischer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Littbarski's international career got off to a promising start, as he scored the first and second goals in that game. His third international goal came at the 1982 World Cup, in the second round match against Spain, a 2–1 victory. Against France in the semi-final, Littbarski scored the opening goal, and later was successful on a penalty in the deciding shoot-out. The now legendary match ended in a 3–3 draw, with Littbarski involved in the dramatic extra-time equalizer, crossing to Horst Hrubesch, who headed to Klaus Fischer, who scored with an overhead bicycle kick. Littbarski had minutes earlier provided the pass that Rummenigge scored from to cut France's lead to 3–2. A poignant scene in the penalty shootout showed the young Littbarski consoling a tearful Uli Stielike, who had just missed a penalty and had buried his head in Littbarski's shirt, while watching West Germany's goalkeeper, Harald Schumacher, save Didier Six's penalty to even the score. West Germany eventually won 5–4 on penalties. West Germany lost 3–1 to Italy in the final. Littbarski played the whole match, receiving a yellow card in the 88th minute.
At the UEFA Euro 1984, West Germany, with Littbarski, were eliminated in the group stage after a string of poor performances. The 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, while successful for West Germany, proved less so for Littbarski personally. He was benched by manager Franz Beckenbauer, and had to watch the semi–final and final from the bench. West Germany again finished as runners–up, losing 3–2 to Argentina. In 1987, he played in a friendly match against England and scored two goals, one directly from a corner, as the West Germans won 3–1.
The West German players had high hopes for the UEFA Euro 1988 on their home soil. However, the hosts lost 2–1 to the Netherlands in the semi–finals. Littbarski did not score any goals in the tournament. In 1990, Littbarski enjoyed a successful final appearance at the FIFA World Cup, as West Germany won their third title, defeating Argentina 1–0 in the final in Rome. Littbarski scored his only goal in the group stage against Colombia but started three of the four games at the knockout stage, including the final.
In 1999, he started his coaching career with Yokohama FC of Japan Football League and he led the club to the promotion to J2 League. He has also been the manager of Yokohama FC (twice), as well as assistant manager of Bayer 04 Leverkusen and manager of MSV Duisburg.
He was famous amongst Sydney FC supporters and the media for his stylish brown suits. Sydney under Littbarski were criticised for boring football, but the results could seldom be argued with and Sydney FC went on to claim the inaugural A-League Championship under his reign. Littbarski and Sydney FC severed ties on Wednesday, 5 May 2006, with Littbarski announcing he would not re-sign for the club following disputes over a cut-price contract offer.
In December 2006, Littbarski was appointed the manager of Avispa Fukuoka, a J2 League side that was newly demoted to the second division after the 2006 season. In July 2008, he left the club and was replaced by Yoshiyuki Shinoda.
On 9 June 2010 Littbarski signed a two years contract as assistant coach by VfL Wolfsburg. After Steve McClaren was sacked on 7 February 2011, Littbarski was appointed caretaker manager of VfL Wolfsburg. Felix Magath was subsequently made head coach in March 2011.
Littbarski has said that he was named "Pierre" because his parents loved France and, when thinking of a name for him, recalled their travels there.
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup|
|1. FC Köln||1978–79||Bundesliga||16||4|
|RCF Paris||1986–87||Division 1||32||4|
|1. FC Köln||1987–88||Bundesliga||31||8|
|JEF United Ichihara||1993||J1 League||35||9||3||2||6||0||44||11|
|Brummell Sendai||1996||Football League||27||5||3||1||-||30||6|
- Scores and results list West Germany's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Littbarski goal.
|1.||14 October 1981||Praterstadion, Vienna||Austria||1–1||3–1||1982 World Cup qualifier|
|3.||18 November 1981||Westfalenstadion, Dortmund||Albania||6–0||8–0||1982 World Cup qualifier|
|4.||14 April 1982||Müngersdorferstadion, Cologne||Czechoslovakia||1–0||2–1||Friendly|
|5.||12 May 1982||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo||Norway||2–1||4–2||Friendly|
|7.||2 July 1982||Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Madrid||Spain||1–0||2–1||1982 World Cup|
|8.||8 July 1982||Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Seville||France||1–0||3–3||1982 World Cup|
|9.||24 February 1985||Estádio Nacional, Lisbon||Portugal||1–0||2–1||1986 World Cup qualifier|
|10.||27 March 1985||Ludwigsparkstadion, Saarbrücken||Malta||4–0||6–0||1986 World Cup qualifier|
|11.||17 April 1985||Rosenaustadion, Augsburg||Bulgaria||3–1||4–1||Friendly|
|12.||30 April 1985||Strahov Stadium, Prague||Czechoslovakia||2–0||5–1||1986 World Cup qualifier|
|13.||9 September 1987||Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf||England||1–0||3–1||Friendly|
|15.||13 October 1987||Parkstadion, Gelsenkirchen||Sweden||1–0||2–2||Friendly|
|16.||22 March 1989||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia||Bulgaria||2–1||2–1||Friendly|
|17.||4 October 1989||Westfalenstadion, Dortmund||Finland||2–0||6–1||1990 World Cup qualifier|
|18.||19 June 1990||San Siro, Milan||Colombia||1–0||1–1||1990 World Cup|
1. FC Köln
- Litti's Summer Sports, Game Boy video game endorsed by Pierre Littbarski
- "Littbarski, dribble ace turned coach". FIFA.com. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
- "Avispa fires manager Littbarski". The Japan Times Online. 12 July 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
- "Littbarski's the man for Saipa". The AFC.com. 26 July 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Pierre Littbarski als Teamchef zum FC Vaduz". FC Vaduz (in German). 4 November 2008. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- "Eric Orie als Cheftrainer zum FC Vaduz". FC Vaduz (in German). 12 April 2010. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- "Pierre Littbarski in Vaduz entlassen" (in German). bazonline.ch. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- "Pierre Littbarski wird Co-Trainer beim VfL Wolfsburg / Hoeneß: "Er passt wunderbar zum VfL"" (in German). VfL Wolfsburg. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- "Pierre Littbarski". Leerosport News. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
- "Pierre Littbarski – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. 1 February 2006. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- "J.League Data Site". data.j-league.or.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 15 September 2016.
- "Pierre Littbarski" (in German). fussballdaten.de. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
- "P. Littbarski". Soccerway. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
- "Bundesliga Historie 1981/82" (in German). kicker.
- "Bundesliga Historie 1984/85" (in German). kicker.
- "Bundesliga Historie 1989/90" (in German). kicker.
- "World Cup 1982 – Statistics". Planetworldcup. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
- "Das Tor des Jahres 1985 - Pierre Littbarski" (in German). Sportschau. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
- "Sydney FC inducts eight greats to its Hall of Fame". The World Game. 16 March 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2020.