Pál Csernai

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Pál Csernai
Personal information
Date of birth (1932-10-21)21 October 1932
Place of birth Pilis, Kingdom of Hungary
Date of death 1 September 2013(2013-09-01) (aged 80)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1952–1953 Budapesti Postás 46 (2)
1954–1955 Csepeli Vasas 46 (0)
1956–1958 Karlsruher SC
1958–1959 La Chaux-de-Fonds
1959–1965 Stuttgarter Kickers
National team
1955 Hungary 2 (0)
Teams managed
1968–1970 Wacker 04 Berlin
1970–1971 SSV Reutlingen 05
1971–1972 Royal Antwerp
1973–1977 North Baden FA
1978–1983 FC Bayern Munich
1983–1984 PAOK
1984–1985 Benfica
1985–1986 Borussia Dortmund
1987–1988 Fenerbahçe
1988 Eintracht Frankfurt[1]
1990 Young Boys
1990–1991 Hertha BSC
1993 North Korea
1994–1995 Sopron
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Pál Csernai (21 October 1932 – 1 September 2013) was a Hungarian football player and manager.


Playing career[edit]

Born in Pilis, Kingdom of Hungary, Csernai played club football in Hungary, Germany and Switzerland for Budapesti Postás,[2] Csepeli Vasas, Karlsruher SC, La Chaux-de-Fonds and Stuttgarter Kickers.[3]

He also earned two caps for Hungary in 1955.[3]

Management career[edit]

After retiring as a player, Csernai managed clubs in Germany, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Turkey, Switzerland and Hungary.

In the early 1990s, he was involved with the North Korean national team. In June 1991, he signed a six-month contract with the PRKFA, acting as a technical adviser to manager Hong Hyon-chol.[4][5] During this time, North Korea beat the United States 2–1 in a friendly match.[6] After Hong's sacking in October 1993, the PRKFA turned to Csernai to become the national team's manager. The team left for Qatar to participate in the final round of the Asian qualifiers for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. They started positively, with a 3–2 win over Iraq, but lost the other four matches, with the final one being a 3–0 loss to rivals South Korea. Despite the North Korean authorities' insistence for him to stay on as manager, Csernai returned to Hungary, concerned over their efforts to have him acquire citizenship.[7]

Known for wearing his trade mark silk scarf, he is considered to be the inventor of the so-called "Pal system", a combination of the man-to-man and the zone defenses.[8]

Later life and death[edit]

Csernai died on 1 September 2013, after a long illness.[9]


  1. ^ "Profile" (in German). Eintracht Archiv.
  2. ^ Pál Csernai Archived 16 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine at nela.hu
  3. ^ a b "Pál Csernai". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
  4. ^ Goff, Steven (18 October 1991). "U.S. AND NORTH KOREA GET THE BALL ROLLING". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  5. ^ Gorondi, Pablo (21 May 2010). "Hungary's Pal Csernai recalls 1990s stint as North Korea's soccer coach". Star Tribune.
  6. ^ Bondy, Flip (20 October 1991). "SOCCER; North Korea Sprints Past United States". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Pal Csernai: Title-winning coach of Bayern Munich". The Independent. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Bayerns Meister-Trainer Pal Csernai ist tot". Die Welt (in German). 2 September 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Früherer Bayern-Trainer: Pal Csernai ist tot" (in German). Der Spiegel. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013.