Julian Nagelsmann was only 28 years old when Hoffenheim made him the Bundesliga’s youngest ever head coach. To provide further perspective he was only 16 when in 2004 José Mourinho, who he has often been compared with, inspired Porto to win the Champions League, and was born in 1987, the year after Sir Alex Ferguson was appointed manager by Manchester United.
If he has been heavily influenced by Ralf Rangnick’s approach to pressing – Rangnick was influential in RB Leipzig recruiting Nagelsmann from Hoffenheim in 2019 – he was also once coached by Thomas Tuchel, who was overseeing Augsburg’s second team when Nagelsmann, then 20, suffered a knee injury that ended his playing career. Tuchel first asked him to start scouting opponents, and later appointed him the coach of 1860 Munich’s under-17s.
“Thirty per cent of coaching is tactics, 70 per cent social competence,” Nagelsmann once said of his approach to the most demanding of jobs. “Every player is motivated by different things and needs to be addressed accordingly. At this level, the quality of the players at your disposal will ensure that you play well within a good tactical set-up – if the psychological condition is right.”