Gilbert Gress (1941) is a French soccer coach and former soccer player.
The winger began his professional soccer career in his native city with Racing Strasbourg, where fans soon dubbed him the „Angel of Meinau“ (l’Ange de la Meinau; Meinau is the club’s stadium).
Shortly after his first game for Strasbourg’s league team (May 1960), it was relegated to the 2nd division, but returned to Division 1 immediately after a year, where Strasbourg played only in the middle of the table until Gress‘ move to VfB Stuttgart (1966), but won the League Cup in 1964 and the French Club Cup in 1966.
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This was followed by four and a half Bundesliga years with the Swabians without winning a title; during this time, however, he was called up to the French national team for the first time. During the 1970/71 season, Gilbert Gress returned to his home country and became French champion twice with Olympique Marseille. He played for his club of origin Racing again from 1973 to 1975, then moved to Neuchâtel Xamax in Switzerland for a year, ending his playing career in 1976. Gress played 290 first division games in France (201 for Strasbourg, 89 for Marseille), scoring 28 goals; in the Bundesliga he made 149 appearances and scored 24 goals.
Gress has been a soccer coach since 1977
It comes as little surprise that Gilbert Gress got his first job in his hometown with Racing Strasbourg, with whom he brought the French championship to Alsace in 1979 and to which he returned again in 1991 for three years. His popularity there also manifested itself in the creation of a Gilbert Gress fan club. He has also worked in Belgium, Austria and especially in Switzerland, where in 16 years (including twelve at Neuchâtel Xamax) he was not only a club coach, winning two national championships and the Cup, but was also Swiss national coach for a few months in 1997. His resignation was preceded by a debate about his salary as national coach.
In the meantime, Gilbert Gress also took Swiss citizenship. In 2006, Gilbert Gress coached a selection of celebrities for Swiss television as part of the program „Der Match“ and could be seen almost daily in SRF’s World Cup studio during the 2006 World Cup for analyses of the World Cup matches. Shortly before the end of the 2006/07 season, he took over the coaching post at FC Aarau, which he led from last to second-last place in the highest league, so that Aarau was able to maintain its class on its own by means of the barrage games.
Gilbert Gress is cult, a popular personality in France as well as in Switzerland. His lectures are exciting and peppered with anecdotes from his life as a footballer as well as current topics in the global sports world.
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