Gilbert Gress

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Gilbert Gress (1941) is a French football coach and manager and former football player.

The striker launched his professional football career in his home city at Racing Strasbourg, where the fans soon bestowed upon him the moniker "Angel of the Meinau" (l’Ange de la Meinau) – Meinau being the name of the club’s home ground.

Shortly after his debut for Strasbourg’s league team in May 1960, the team was relegated to the second division, but returned one year later to Division 1, where Strasbourg held a mid-table position until Gress left for VfB Stuttgart in 1966. Despite this, the team won the league cup in 1964 and the Coupe de France in 1966. The Swabians remained without a Bundesliga trophy win for four and a half years, during which time Gress received his first call-up to the French national team. During the 1970/71 season, Gilbert Gress returned to the country of his birth and became French champion twice with Olympique de Marseille. Between 1973 and 1975, he went back to play for his first club RC Strasbourg. He then joined the Swiss team Neuchâtel Xamax for a year, where he ended his active playing career in 1976. Gress can look back on 290 French Division 1 matches (201 with Strasbourg; 89 with Marseille), where he scored 28 goals. He played 149 times and scored 24 goals in the German Bundesliga.

Gress has worked as a football coach and manager since 1977, and it is no surprise that his first job led him back to his home city and Racing Strasbourg, where he celebrated winning the 1979 French championship title. He was to return to the Alsace club for three years in 1991. The foundation of the Gilbert Gress Fan Club was a mark of his immense popularity in the region. He has also worked in Belgium, Austria and notably in Switzerland, where in 16 years – including 12 with Neuchâtel Xamax – he not only worked as a club coach and manager and won two national championships and the league cup, but was also coach of the Swiss national team for several months in 1997. His subsequent resignation was preceded by a dispute concerning his salary. In the meantime, Gress had acquired Swiss citizenship. In 2006, Gilbert Gress trained a celebrity team for the Swiss television programme "Der Match" and appeared on Swiss TV screens to present fixture analyses during the 2006 World Cup.

Shortly before the end of the 2006/07 season, he took over as coach at FC Aarau, leading the struggling team from last to second-last in the rankings, which enabled the club to avoid relegation in the play-offs under its own steam. Gilbert Gress left FC Aarau prior to the start of the new season – official reports cited his demands regarding salary and signings as the reason not to extend the contract.

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