At 36, Julian Nagelsmann is reaching another dimension in his spectacular career: after coaching Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich, the German coaching miracle will take over the management of the national team nine months before the organization of the European Championship.
At an age when he could still be a footballer, Nagelsmann races through the stages at incredible speed. He will be the second youngest coach of this team after Otto Nerz in 1926.
At the age of 28, he was the youngest coach of a first division team at a major European Championship, at Hoffenheim, at 31, he was the youngest coach in the Champions League, at 33, he was the youngest coach to reach a Champions League semi-final with Leipzig… Nagelsmann’s record is impressive.
And considering that his appointment as head of the Hoffenheim first team in February 2016, which was going through a difficult time in the Bundesliga, was viewed with skepticism.
– “A crazy idea” –
“A crazy idea,” “a PR joke,” the newspapers even headlined, as the young coach only had one German U19 championship title under his belt.
In fact, after that title, Bayern Munich tried to sign him to their youth teams. Nagelsmann, who aimed for the highest, rejected this.
However, there was no doubt about his desire to one day coach the most successful team in German football. “I am very, very happy in my life and Bavaria would perhaps make me even happier,” he said with a smile in 2017.
He fulfilled his dream, but only stayed on the hot Bayern bench for 20 months. To everyone’s surprise, he was sacked in March this year when his team was aiming for all the titles.
Previously, after avoiding relegation in his first season in the Bundesliga, the Bavarian-born coach turned Hoffenheim into the revelation team of the 2016/17 season, defying all odds to finish fourth behind Bayern, Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund.
But Hoffenheim soon became too small for his ambition. And in 2019 he accepted an offer from Leipzig, who he immediately took to the semi-finals of the “Champions” and placed on the Bundesliga podium twice.
Nagelsmann, a former defender of good height (1.90 m), who suffered a serious knee injury at the age of 20 and had to give up his professional career, has Thomas Tuchel to thank for the fact that he entered his coaching career rather involuntarily is.
The current Bayern Munich coach – he came when Nagelsmann was sacked – was his coach in the Augsburg reserve team when the then defender was injured.
– Tuchel advance –
Tuchel didn’t know what to do with him and suggested that he study the opposing teams. “I am grateful to Tuchel for giving me the idea of becoming a coach,” he has said several times.
Like Tuchel, Nagelsmann likes very high pressing and an electrifying transition game, a style that has many fans in Germany.
With his tactical obsession, Nagelsmann is undoubtedly closer to the philosophy of Tuchel or Pep Guardiola than to that of the fired coach Hansi Flick, who favors more freedom in the game.
Racing through the stages at a rapid pace, Nagelsmann, at the age of 36, faces a challenge of enormous proportions: inspiring a country with a team that was eliminated in the first round of the last World Cup and has suffered defeats since. The solution in just nine months.