Greece: Rehhagel to lead friendship offensive

March 15, 2013

He pulled off one of football's greatest historic upsets. Now Otto Rehhagel has been handed a task equally challenging: to make Germany popular again in crisis-hit Greece.

Germany's embassy in Athens said Friday that the 74-year-old former football manager would visit Greece this month as a goodwill ambassador, traveling with officials in a regional government cooperation program.

Rehhagel led Greece to stunning victory in the 2004 European Championships, building a team that went on to qualify for two other European tournaments and the 2010 World Cup.

Germany is the lead creditor in Greece's financial bailout program but its reputation has been hit by successive austerity measures that have caused a rapid increase in poverty and unemployment.

Rehhagel is due in Greece on March 25 - the country's Independence Day.