Ratchaburi FC appoints ex-Liverpool star Christian Ziege as head coach
Former Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Germany star Christian Ziege has been appointed as head coach of Ratchaburi FC in the Thai Premier League.
The 45-year-old takes over from Pacheta, who recently returned to Spain after two years at the club.
It is an intriguing appointment from Ratchaburi and a clear sign of ambition as they attempt to step up a level. The Dragons have finished sixth in each of the past two seasons, unable to reach the level of consistency required to mount a title challenge.
They will hope that the presence of a head coach with such a distinguished playing career will not only inspire the players he has but also attract quality newcomers to the club.
Ziege started coaching at youth level with Borussia Monchengladbach after his playing days ended before spells as the club's director of football and assistant coach.
He then had a short stint in charge of Arminia Bielefeld before returning to youth coaching with the Germany under-18 and under-19 sides.
Ziege began coaching at senior level again with SPVGG Unterhaching in the Bundesliga's third tier before a two-year stint at Atletico Baleares in Spain's Segunda Division B ended this year.
Ziege, who was a dynamic wing-back as a player, won the European Championship with Germany in 1996 and made a substitute appearance in the 2002 World Cup final as the Germans lost 2-0 to Brazil.
He first made his name at Bayern Munich, where he won two Bundesliga titles and a UEFA Cup. A move to AC Milan followed and he lifted the Serie A title in 1999.
Ziege's next move was to Middlesbrough in the Premier League. He caught the eye of Liverpool and was part of the Reds' 2001 treble winning squad when the club lifted the League Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup, though he missed out on the FA Cup and UEFA Cup finals.
He was soon on the move again and joined Tottenham Hotspur, but he was often hampered by injuries before ending his career with a year at Monchengladbach.
Ziege faces a very different kind of challenge in Thailand, but the club tends to show more patience with head coaches than many Thai teams.
Ratchaburi have several promising young Thai players, like Montree Promsawat and Nattawut Sombatyotha as well as 20-year-old Swedish-Thai left-back Kevin Deeromram.
And Ziege will be able to speak his mother tongue with full-back Philip Roller, a Munich native who has become a Thailand international due to having a Thai mother.
Ziege will be the second former Spurs player managing in T1 next season, with Gary Stevens having been appointed as head coach of Ubon UMT United.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK