|Date of birth||12 September 1964|
|Place of birth||Castrop-Rauxel, West Germany|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)|
|Current club||VfL Wolfsburg (manager)|
|1. FC Paderborn|
|1985–1986||West Germany U21||12||(8)|
|2009–2012||1. FC Nürnberg|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Dieter Hecking (born 12 September 1964) is a German football manager and former professional player who works as manager of VfL Wolfsburg. He played for both Hannover 96 and Eintracht Braunschweig. He returned to manage Hannover despite the long-standing and bitter rivalry between the two clubs.
His football career began as a youth player at Westfalia Soest, then serving time at Soester SV, Borussia Lippstadt and 1. FC Paderborn, respectively, before joining Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1983. His opportunities there were limited though and he managed only six games in two years for the top flight club before leaving for 2. Bundesliga outfit KSV Hessen Kassel in 1985. Here, Hecking became an integral part of Jörg Berger's side, as they claimed a string of top five finishes and came within a final day defeat of promotion to the Bundesliga in 1985.
Although the club was relegated to the Oberliga Hessen in 1987, Hecking's contributions didn't wane as he contributed a highly impressive 45 goals from midfield during two successful seasons, finishing second then first, earning them a return to 2. Bundesliga through the promotion playoffs and Hecking the award for top goalscorer (with 29 goals) in 1989.
Despite KSV Hessen Kassel failing to survive at this level for more than a single season, Hecking personally would as he remained in the 2. Bundesliga by signing for SV Waldhof Mannheim in July 1990. This led to him spending two seasons here – missing out on promotion by just one place in his second – before moving on to VfB Leipzig. His first season at Leipzig in 1992–93 produced only one goal in 30 games yet, crucially, saw the team gain promotion to the Bundesliga. However, their stay was brief as he couldn't prevent them from being immediately relegated after a solitary season.
After relegation, Hecking dropped down to the third tier with Regionalliga Südwest club TuS Paderborn-Neuhaus, spending two full seasons there before he moved to Hannover 96, newly relegated to the Regionalliga Nord, on 16 October 1996. Hecking's arrival saw a resurgence by the club as they dominated the league for two successive seasons, scoring 100 goals in both campaigns and taking top spot. Although they initially lost the promotion playoff, the following year they were victorious and thus promoted into 2. Bundesliga, where their progress continued with a solid fourth place finish.
With Hannover 96 returned to the second flight, Hecking moved on for one final season at Eintracht Braunschweig in 1999–2000 where, in one last hurrah, he played a part in ensuring the club qualified to compete in the newly-revamped Regionalliga the following year. Hecking, however, wouldn't play in this new format as he retired from playing professional football after this season, aged 35.
Hecking made 12 appearances for the German Under 21 side, scoring eight goals.
On 1 July 2000, Hecking moved into management as he took over as manager at Regionalliga Nord outfit SC Verl. His debut season started competently enough, with SC Verl sat seventh at the time of the winter break. However, Hecking's proclamations that he was seeking a new position irked the club to such an extent they fired him on 31 January 2001, after just 20 games in charge.
Hecking wasn't free for long as another Regionalliga Nord side, VfB Lübeck, came calling on 27 March 2001. Again, Hecking achieved a solid job in the remaining games, leaving the club in third place, just one short of promotion. This set the basis for the following season as the team claimed the title and moved up into the 2. Bundesliga. Hecking then managed to secure VfB Lübeck a mid-table position in the 2002–03 season. The following season was not to prove so successful though, as the team slipped back down to the Regionalliga Nord, occupying the final relegation position. This proved the catalyst for VfB Lübeck to announce that they would not be extending his contract further and he left the club on 25 May 2004.
Once again, Hecking was not short of work as just a week later 2. Bundesliga side Alemannia Aachen announced that he would be taking the managerial reins at their club from July 2004, after the departure of Jörg Berger. The previous season Aachen had sensationally made the final of the German Cup and despite losing the game, qualified for the UEFA Cup, giving Hecking the opportunity to now taste European action. Here, he led the club through to the group phase, where they narrowly avoided progress to the knockout stage by virtue of a single goal's inferiority in goal difference. The heavy fixture load caused by their European games perhaps overburdened the club, though they still achieved a decent sixth place domestic finish that year. The following year they had no such distractions and they won promotion to the Bundesliga, marking their first return to the top level in 36 years.
Hecking's time guiding Alemannia Aachen in the top flight was to be short though, just three games in, he requested to be able to leave the club for his former club and fellow Bundesliga side Hannover 96 on 7 September 2006, to fill the vacancy left by their sacking of Peter Neururer. Ironically, the final straw for Neururer was a 0–3 home defeat to Hecking's Alemannia Aachen.
Hecking became manager on 7 September 2006. Hecking recovered Hannover 96 from a dismal start that left them bottom at the time of his arrival. The team also achieved a good run through to the quarter finals of the German Cup, and finished comfortably in eleventh place in the Bundesliga. On 19 August 2009 Hecking resigned voluntarily from his post after a disastrous start to the 2009–10 season.
1. FC Nürnberg
Hecking was born in Castrop-Rauxel, North Rhine-Westphalia. He has completed a training course for the police force. Hecking lives with his family in Bad Nenndorf, near Hannover and has five children. Hecking is a close friend of Mirko Slomka whose wife is godmother to one of Hecking's children.
- As of 8 December 2013.
|SC Verl||1 July 2000||31 January 2001||20||8||7||5||29||26||+3||40.00|
|VfB Lübeck||27 March 2001||30 June 2004||181||82||38||61||319||250||+69||45.30|
|Alemannia Aachen||1 July 2004||7 September 2006||83||42||14||27||142||92||+50||50.60|
|Hannover 961||7 September 2006||19 August 2009||109||39||30||40||154||175||−21||35.78|
|1. FC Nürnberg||22 December 2009||22 December 2012||112||42||23||47||143||151||−8||37.50|
|VfL Wolfsburg||22 December 2012||Present||37||17||11||9||60||47||+13||45.95|
- 1.^ Dieter Hecking officially took over the manager's job with immediate effect on 7 September 2006. However, caretaker manager Michael Schjönberg managed the DFB-Pokal match against Dynamo Dresden on 9 September 2006.
- "SC Verl .:. Coaches from A-Z" (in German). Worldfootball. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "VfB Lübeck .:. Coaches from A-Z". Worldfootball. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Hecking verlässt den VfB". kicker (in German). 25 May 2004. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Hecking wird Berger-Nachfolger". kicker (in German). 1 June 2004. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Hecking wechselt zu 96". kicker (in German). 7 September 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Hecking: "Es war spontan"". kicker (in German). 20 August 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Hecking: Mission Klassenerhalt" (in German). kicker.de. 22 December 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
- "Bescherung! Hecking übernimmt VfL". kicker (in German). 22 December 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Die Spielstatistik Dynamo Dresden – Hannover 96" (in German). Fussballdaten.de. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "Schjönberg siegt, Stohn nicht". kicker (in German). 9 September 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2013.