Julian Nagelsmann – Manager Profile
Once upon time Hoffenheim were associated with goal frenzies and tactical indiscipline. With the 2013/14 season ending with 72 goals scored and 70 conceded, it’s safe to say you could bank on their matches for over 2.5 goals. Back then Julian Nagelsmann was merely an understudy, but now in management the Bundesliga’s youngest coach is proving he is more than a “public relations stunt” as Frankfurter Rundschau described his appointment.
A playing career ended by knee injury aged 20, Naglesmann was left with no option but to pursue coaching if we wished to remain involved in professional football at such a young age. However, by then the youngster was already surrounded by great inspiration as it was Thomas Tuchel who initially got Nagelsmann involved in scouting the opposition.
Despite being at Augsburg with Tuchel, it was at Hoffenheim where he got his first coaching job, and after impressing with the youth team by guiding them to the U19 Bundesliga championship in 13/14, Bayern Munich were soon after the German coaching prodigy as their U23 manager. Despite the Bavarian giants’ best efforts at flattery towards Germany’s most promising young trainer when he arrived at Säbener Strasse, Nagelsmann opted against joining the Bundesliga behemoth and took reigns at the first team of Hoffenheim permanently after Huub Stevens resigned with health issues.
“Thirty per cent of coaching is tactics, 70% social competence,” Nagelsmann told Süddeutsche Zeitung in August. He subscribes to the theory that every player is unique, and for them to be operating efficiently you must understand what makes them tick. Moreover, he considers formations largely irrelevant.
Considering formations somewhat irrelevant is the sort of statement that many would mock, similar to the recent quote from Pep Guardiola rendering slide tackles useless, but it’s clear that the 29-year-old is a unique coach.
Younger than 88 active Bundesliga players, Nagelsmann’s profile has risen so rapidly with him guiding Hoffenheim to unfamiliar territory near the summit of the Bundesliga table. Whilst RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich are nine points clear of the Sinsheim club residing in third, they’re still able to boast the only undefeated record in the league and sit above of Borussia Dortmund. All of this, it must be said, done in the shadow of Kevin Volland who departed for Bayer Leverkusen in the summer.
Like many other German managers, Nagelsmann has been moulded by Gegenpressing and swift transitions, which is clear to see in his side’s performances. However, in his own words, this is only 30% of the game.
Sitting just ten points way from their total point haul from last season, Hoffenheim look likely to eclipse it before 20 matches this time round, and with a manager at the helm with maturity well beyond his years they’re in fantastic steed for further development.
However, the duration of Nagelsmann’s tenure will be the biggest question surrounding the club soon. With European football a possibility and years on his side, it may not be long again before the coaching prodigy is faced with Karl Heinz-Rummenigge and an important decision on his future in the game: Hoffenheim or Bayern Munich?
Hoffenheim are currently:
- 500/1 to win the Bundesliga.
- 66/1 (Betting Without Bayern Munich).
- 3/1 for a Top 4 finish.
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