Uwe Rösler

Uwe Rösler (German pronunciation: [ˈuːvə ˈrøːslɐ]; born 15 November 1968) is a German football manager and former player who manages Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Uwe Rösler
Rösler in 2009
Personal information
Date of birth (1968-11-15) 15 November 1968 (age 52)
Place of birth Altenburg, East Germany
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Position(s) Centre forward
Club information
Current team
Fortuna Düsseldorf (manager)
Youth career
0000–1981 BSG Traktor Starkenberg
1981–1987 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–1988 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig 3 (0)
1988–1989 BSG Chemie Leipzig 27 (6)
1989–1990 1. FC Magdeburg 46 (19)
1990–1992 Dynamo Dresden 46 (7)
1992–1994 1. FC Nürnberg 28 (0)
1993–1994Dynamo Dresden (loan) 7 (0)
1994–1998 Manchester City 152 (50)
1998–1999 1. FC Kaiserslautern 28 (8)
1999–2000 Tennis Borussia Berlin 28 (6)
2000–2002 Southampton 24 (0)
2001West Bromwich Albion (loan) 5 (1)
2002 SpVgg Unterhaching 14 (5)
2002–2003 Lillestrøm 11 (10)
Total 419 (112)
National team
East Germany U21[1] 6 (1)
1990 East Germany 5 (0)
Teams managed
2004–2006 Lillestrøm
2006–2009 Viking
2010 Molde
2011–2013 Brentford
2013–2014 Wigan Athletic
2015 Leeds United
2016–2018 Fleetwood Town
2018–2019 Malmö FF
2020– Fortuna Düsseldorf
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

A centre forward in his playing career, Rösler played for several clubs, most notably Manchester City, where he was the leading goalscorer for three consecutive seasons from 1994 to 95 and 1996 to 97, and 1. FC Kaiserslautern, where he played in the UEFA Champions League. He is a former East Germany international, whom he represented in the under-21 team and five times as a senior.

In 2004, he began his managerial career with Lillestrøm in Norway, and later led Viking and Molde FK in Tippeligaen. He also managed Brentford, Wigan Athletic, Leeds United and Fleetwood Town in the English Football League, as well as Malmö FF in Allsvenskan.

Club career


Born in Altenburg, Rösler started his career in his native East Germany, joining Lokomotive Leipzig in 1987, where he spent one season, before moving on to BSG Chemie Leipzig in 1988. Following this he transferred to 1. FC Magdeburg in 1989, where he spent a year before signing for Dynamo Dresden in the winter 1990/91.[2] After two years with Dresden, he also spent two years with 1. FC Nürnberg, where he failed to score once in 28 games, resulting in him being loaned back to Dresden for the second year. Having grown up in the East, where players were officially regarded as amateurs, Rösler found it difficult to adapt when he moved to the West after reunification: "I suddenly saw more individualistic thinking, cliques, a powerful press and personal politics around team selection. The Wall was still there in some people's heads and in many ways I was naive."[3]

Rösler (right) and Hans-Uwe Pilz training with Dynamo Dresden in December 1990

Manchester City

In March 1994, Rösler joined Manchester City on trial. Given an opportunity in a reserve match against Burnley, he scored two goals, which resulted in a three-month loan.[4] He made his first team debut the following Saturday, against Queens Park Rangers. A return of five goals in twelve games saw the move made permanent in the close season,[5] reports of the transfer fee varying between £375,000 and £500,000.[6][7]

After an ignominious start to the 1994–95 campaign, when he was sent off in a 3–0 opening day defeat at Arsenal,[5] Rösler formed a productive partnership with Paul Walsh, and scored 22 league and cup goals despite missing several games through injury. In an FA cup match against Notts County he scored four goals, becoming the first Manchester City player to score four in an FA Cup tie since Johnny Hart in 1953.[5] His performances that season meant he was the club's leading goalscorer, and he won the club's Player of the Year award.[6]

At the start of the 1995–96 season, Alan Ball became manager and immediately changed the nature of the side. Despite City's obvious strengths down the flanks, the team was adapted to play through the middle of the park. With no supply line from the wings (City's other winger Nicky Summerbee often playing at right-back), and with the loss through injury of Beagrie and the shocking sale of Walsh, Rösler struggled in this season. Many felt that he and fellow striker Niall Quinn were too similar to play in a system that didn't feed strikers effectively and Rösler clearly became unhappy. Much publicised disagreements with the manager culminated in Rösler being dropped from the side, only to be brought on as a sub in the Manchester derby and immediately score a phenomenal goal. Rösler's goal celebrations saw him running to the bench, shouting at Ball and pointing to his name and squad number on the back of his shirt. City were relegated to Division One at the end of the campaign, but Rösler opted to stay with the Blues. Despite another difficult campaign, Rösler again finished top scorer and clearly benefited from the return to a 4–4–1–1 formation. After another spell out with injury, Rösler would eventually leave the Blues in May 1998 on a free transfer following relegation to Division Two.

In his four years at City he played 176 games, scoring 64 goals. He was admitted to City's "Hall of Fame" in December 2009.[8]

Return to Germany

In the summer of 1998, Rösler returned to Germany joining Kaiserslautern, then reigning German champions, for one season. His most remarkable game there was on 9 December 1998 when he came on as a substitute against HJK and scored a second half hat-trick as Kaiserslautern won 5–2, helping them to win their group in the 1998–99 UEFA Champions League,[9] before going out in the quarter-finals to Bayern Munich. He then moved on to Tennis Borussia Berlin for the 1999–2000 season.


When Tennis Borussia went bankrupt in the summer of 2000, Glenn Hoddle snapped Rösler up on a free transfer, but he was unable to become a regular in Saints' first team as James Beattie started to find his form (scoring 10 goals in 10 games in November and December). Rösler also suffered a groin injury which required surgery, keeping him out for several weeks. Although he was a whole-hearted and committed player, he only managed to score once for the Saints, in a League Cup game at Mansfield Town.[10]

Rösler scored the last goal at The Dell on 26 May 2001 in a friendly against Brighton & Hove Albion – who were selected as Southampton's opponents as they had been the stadium's first visitors when it opened in 1898 – as Saints won 1–0.[11] However, the distinction of the last competitive goal at The Dell went to Rösler's teammate Matt Le Tissier, who had scored a late winner in the 3–2 Premier League win over Arsenal seven days earlier.[12]

In the following season, he only made a handful of appearances before being loaned out to West Bromwich Albion on 30 October 2001, as cover for the injured Scott Dobie.[13] He made his debut away at Crystal Palace on 31 October 2001, and his only goal for Albion came in a 1–0 home win over Nottingham Forest four days later.[14] Rösler played just five games for West Bromwich Albion, as he joined German side SpVgg Unterhaching on a free transfer in January 2002, who went on to win promotion as Division One runners-up at the end of the 2001–02 season.


In July 2002, Rösler signed for Norwegian club Lillestrøm. He played 11 matches and scored 10 goals for the Canaries in the latter part of the 2002 season.

After the first match of the season in 2003, in which he was the match winner in a 1–0 win over Bodø/Glimt, Rösler was diagnosed with cancer when x-rays discovered a tumour in his chest, and had to put an end to his playing career.[15] After chemotherapy, he made a full recovery. While in remission he obtained his coaching badges, to enable him to continue working in football.[15]

International career

Rösler made his debut for East Germany on 26 January 1990 in a 2–1 win over Kuwait.[16] He appeared in the team's final match against Belgium on 12 September 1990, 21 days before German reunification.[17] Overall, Rösler was capped five times, scoring no goals.[18] He also represented East Germany U21s at international level.

Management career


Uwe Rösler as manager for Viking on 13 April 2009 in a 0–0 draw against Lyn

After making a full recovery from lung cancer, he returned to Lillestrøm, and took the manager's seat in 2005. He led the team to two successive fourth-place finishes in the league, and also took them to the final of the Norwegian Cup in 2005 and the Royal League final in 2006, subsequently losing both. These results failed to satisfy the Lillestrøm board, and on 13 November 2006 he was sacked from his position along with assistant coach Gunnar Halle.[19]


Rösler was appointed manager of Viking, another Norwegian team, on 22 November 2006,[20] replacing Tom Nordlie, who took over Rösler's old job at Lillestrøm. In the 2007 season he led Viking to a third place in the Tippeligaen. On 18 November 2009 it was announced that Rösler was leaving Viking.[21]


On 31 August 2010, he was hired by Molde on a short-term contract. During Molde's last eight games of the season, he doubled the team's total number of points, avoided a single defeat, and saved them from relegation.[22] He was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjær in November 2010 ready for the start of the 2011 season.[23][24]


In November 2010, Rösler expressed his desire to return to the Premier League as a manager.[25] In June 2011, he was appointed manager of Brentford on an initial two-year contract.[26]

Rösler's first game in charge was a practice match against Strømmen, which ended 0–0,[27] while his first game open to fans was a 10–0 victory over Tonbridge Angels[28] and his first competitive match in charge ended in a 2–0 win over Yeovil Town. Rösler had a successful first season managing at Brentford, finishing in ninth place with a total of 67 points,[29] Brentford's highest league finish in six years.

In Rösler's second season in charge of Brentford they came within minutes of securing promotion from League One to the Championship. For their final game of the season, on 27 April 2013, they faced second placed Doncaster Rovers at Griffin Park, with Brentford in third place only a win would see his side promoted. In the dramatic final minute of added time and with the game poised at 0–0, Brentford won a penalty. On-loan striker Marcello Trotta insisted on taking the penalty rather than captain, Kevin O'Connor, hitting the crossbar. Doncaster counter-attacked from the rebound and James Coppinger scored the goal which guaranteed Doncaster's promotion as well as the league title.[30] Brentford entered the play-offs, where they were drawn in the semi-final against Swindon Town.

Despite beating Swindon in an almost equally dramatic manner, eventually succeeding via a penalty shoot-out after a 4–4 aggregate scoreline. However promotion was never to come for Rösler's Brentford as they were beaten 2–1 in the play-off final by Yeovil Town at Wembley Stadium, after a poor first-half performance.

Following the drama and disappointment of the 2012–13 season, Rösler embarked upon a heavy overhaul of his squad in order to finally gain promotion to the Championship. In the summer transfer window. 13 players were either signed or loaned from other clubs whilst only three of last-season's first-team squad were sold. Rösler left the position of Brentford manager on 7 December 2013, having led a revival in the team's fortunes, winning seven of his final eight games. Under the stewardship of former Sporting director Mark Warburton, the Bees achieved automatic promotion to the Championship on 18 April 2014.[31] Long-serving player Kevin O'Connor paid tribute to Rösler at the end of the season, saying "Uwe got the ball rolling. We were a bang average League One side, but Uwe changed the mentality. Everything he did was all Premier League standard. He did amazing, so we’ll be saying thank you to him".[32]

Wigan Athletic

On 7 December 2013, Rösler was appointed as the new manager of Championship side Wigan Athletic,[33][34] taking over the position from Owen Coyle. His first game in charge came on 12 December 2013, a 2–1 loss against NK Maribor in the UEFA Europa League.[35]

In March 2014, Rösler returned to Manchester City and led holders Wigan to a shock 2–1 victory over his old club at the Etihad Stadium in the quarter-final of the FA Cup.[36] However, his team lost in the semi-finals to Arsenal at Wembley Stadium, 4–2 on penalties after a 1–1 draw. After finishing fifth in the Championship, Wigan qualified for the play-offs, but lost in the semi-final to eventual winners Queens Park Rangers after goals from Charlie Austin.[37]

With Wigan being amongst the early favourites for promotion during the 2014–15 season, on 13 November 2014, Rösler was sacked by Wigan Athletic after the club fell into the relegation zone.[38] The then Wigan chairman Dave Whelan proclaimed that despite sacking Rösler "I still rate him as a very, very good manager and I think he'll get another job very quickly and I wish him good luck" and Whelan revealed that it was a "harsh decision" to sack him after guiding Wigan to the Championship play-off semi-finals and FA Cup semi-finals months earlier.[39] He was replaced as Wigan Athletic manager by Malky Mackay[40] and then Gary Caldwell as the season ended with relegation.[41]

Leeds United

On 20 May 2015, he was appointed as the head coach of Championship side Leeds United on a two-year deal.[42] He had rejected a job offer from 1860 Munich in February 2015 in hopes of landing another job in England.[43] As part of his backroom staff, he was joined at Leeds by assistant head coach Rob Kelly,[44] goalkeeper coach Richard Hartis[45] and first team coach Julian Darby.[46] On 8 August, on the opening day of the Football League Championship season, Rösler's first game in charge ended in a 1–1 draw against Burnley after a goal from Mirco Antenucci.[47] On 19 October, he was sacked after just two wins from 12 games in charge, following a 2–1 home defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion which left Leeds in 18th place in the Championship.[48] On the same day, he was replaced as Leeds' head coach by former Rotherham manager Steve Evans.[49]

Fleetwood Town

On 30 July 2016, four days before the start of the League One season, Rösler was appointed manager of League One side Fleetwood Town.[50]

In Rösler's inaugural season at Fleetwood Town, he guided them to their highest ever points tally and finish in the club's history, finishing fourth with 82 points and reaching the League One play-offs where they were narrowly defeated by Bradford City (1–0 over two legs).[51] From November 2016 to March 2017 the club went 18 games unbeaten, climbing from 13th to 2nd.[52]

He was sacked on 17 February 2018 after seven straight defeats in all competitions.[53]

Malmö FF

On 12 June 2018, Rösler was announced as the new head coach of Swedish title holders Malmö FF on a 2.5-year deal.[54]

On 1 January 2020, Rösler resigned from Malmö after a two–year spell.[55] After taking over midway through the 2018 campaign, he led the team from 11th to 3rd place. In his first full season, Malmö FF finished second in Allsvenskan (2019), losing the title by one point to Djurgården.[56] Additionally, in his two seasons, he led the team into back-to-back Europa League knock-out stages, a first in the club's history.

Fortuna Düsseldorf

On 29 January 2020, Rösler was appointed as the new head coach of German Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf. This was the first German club of his managerial career.[57] The team ended the season with relegation after a 3–0 defeat at 1. FC Union Berlin on the final day.[58] His contract was not extended after the 2020–21 season.[59]

Managerial style

Rösler is renowned for his teams playing a high, pressing style of football, and is also a fan of squad rotation among players, with 4–3–3 or 3–5–2 his favoured formations. Rösler compared his style and brand of football similar to the philosophies of German compatriot Jürgen Klopp,[60] with Rösler describing the style of football as 'heavy metal' attacking football, with powerful quick football with quick transitions from attack to defence.[61]

Personal life

Born and brought up in East Germany as the communist regime was collapsing, during his time at Lokomotive Leipzig, Rösler was interviewed by the Stasi secret police organisation, who attempted to force him to inform on colleagues seeking to defect to the West in exchange for the Stasi allowing him to continue his fledgling football career unimpeded – only the furious intervention of his manager saved him from their attentions.[62]

Having been a fan of English football from his childhood, Rösler said that he found his "home" in England during his time with Manchester City, and described the formation of his bond with the City fans as the "biggest achievement in my career".[63] Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2003, he credited his recovery to the support of the fans of the club,[62][63] and said that hearing them sing his name at a game while he lay in hospital made his bond with the club "unbreakable".[62] Rösler has stated on several occasions that his ambition for his managerial career is to eventually become manager of the Manchester club.[64]

Rösler has a Norwegian wife, with whom he has had two sons. His younger son is named Colin after Colin Bell, and is a professional footballer for NAC Breda, while his eldest son is named Tony after Tony Book[65] – both Bell and Book are former Manchester City players, both considered club legends.[66]

In 2013, Rösler's autobiography Knocking Down Walls was released.[67]

Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[1][68][69][70][71][72]
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Europe Total
Lokomotive Leipzig 1987–88 DDR-Oberliga 30102060
BSG Chemie Leipzig [1988–89 DDR-Liga 276276
1. FC Magdeburg 1988–89 DDR-Oberliga 9393
1989–90 24112411
1990–91 NOFV-Oberliga 13540175
Total 4619405019
Dynamo Dresden 1990–91 NOFV-Oberliga 13320153
1991–92 Bundesliga 33432366
Total 4673220519
1. FC Nürnberg 1992–93 Bundesliga 28033313
Dynamo Dresden (loan) 1993–94 Bundesliga 701080
Manchester City 1993–94 Premier League 1250000125
1994–95 311545323822
1995–96 36952324413
1996–97 Division One 441531214917
1997–98 2962120337
Total 1525014910517664
1. FC Kaiserslautern 1998–99 Bundesliga 2882110633712
Tennis Borussia Berlin 1999–2000 2. Bundesliga 28623309
Southampton 2000–01 Premier League 2002021241
2001–02 40001050
Total 2402031291
West Bromwich Albion 2001–02 Division One 51000051
SpVgg Unterhaching 2001–02 2. Bundesliga 14500145
Lillestrøm 2002 Tippeligaen 1090020129
2003 110011
Total 111000201310
Career total 4191122818146163477139


As of match played 23 May 2021[73]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
Lillestrøm 1 November 2004 13 November 2006 56 25 16 15 044.6
Viking 22 November 2006 18 November 2009 89 37 24 28 041.6
Molde 30 August 2010 31 December 2010 8 6 2 0 075.0
Brentford 10 June 2011 7 December 2013 136 60 40 36 044.1
Wigan Athletic 7 December 2013 13 November 2014 55 22 16 17 040.0
Leeds United 20 May 2015 19 October 2015 12 2 6 4 016.7
Fleetwood Town 30 July 2016 17 February 2018 102 43 26 33 042.2
Malmö FF 12 June 2018 13 December 2019[55] 83 51 22 10 061.4
Fortuna Düsseldorf 29 January 2020 present 53 20 18 15 037.7
Total 594 266 170 158 044.8


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