After retiring he managed, in Germany, Werder Bremen (1971–1975), and later Fortuna Düsseldorf (1975–1976) and FC St. Pauli (1978–1979). In 1979, Piontek became Danish national team coach after having previously managed Haiti. He sat through 115 international matches, leading Denmark to their first ever World Cup participation in the 1986 tournament. His period as national team coach came just after the introduction of professional players in the national team, and under his reign the Denmark team became known as "Danish Dynamite". He quit as Denmark coach in April 1990, and later coached Turkey from May 1990 to 1993.