Julian Nagelsmann, who has yet to pass his coaching qualifications, has become the youngest Bundesliga head coach in history, after the 28-year old replaced Huub Stevens at struggling Hoffenheim. Previously, the youngest coach in league history was Klaus-Dieter Ochs, who took over the coaching reins at Hamburger SV in 1970 at the age of 30.
Nagelsmann, a youth coach at Hoffenheim, had agreed in October last year to take over the club next season, signing a three-year contract.
With 62-year old Dutchman Stevens resigning following health issues, Nagelsmann takes charge of the club earlier than expected. Stevens was expected to be in charge until the end of the current season.
Nagelsmann faces a tough task to preserve Hoffenheim’s Bundesliga status as they are languishing in 17th place in the 18-team league.
“Julian… can shoulder this responsibility (and) he will provide new inspiration to the team,” Hoffenheim sports director Alexander Rosen said in a statement.
Nagelsmann has led Hoffenheim’s youth team to the 2014 German title. Despite his inexperience and lack of coaching, he has been given the green light from the FA to continue with his coaching exams, which are said to be finishing in the coming weeks.
Hoffenheim’s managing director Dr Peter Gorlich told the club’s official website: “We have a duty of care to the club and of course the people involved.
“Together with Julian, we again carefully weighed up all the risks we considered in the autumn and have now decided the best way is for him to start earlier.
“He is keen and he can also give the team fresh impetus.”
The club expect Nagelsmann to complete all the necessary coaching badges in the near future.
“It’s a big challenge, of course, made harder by the current points situation,” Nagelsmann added. “But I am looking forward to working with the team.”
Thomas Tuchel, who worked with Nagelsmann while both were at FC Augsburg, stated that “(Nagelsmann)is a very inquisitive and very hardworking young coach. He has celebrated exceptional successes in youth football. I’m very happy for him and I believe in him.” There is talk circulating that Nagelsmann was approached by Bayern Munich last summer to begin coaching their youth club. There have been famed coaches, including Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger, who have begun their coaching careers in their mid-thirties, only several years older than Nagelsmann is now.
Hoffenheim are currently joint bottom of the Bundesliga table with Hannover, five points adrift of third bottom Werder Bremen – and Nagelsmann’s first match in charge will be at Bremen on Saturday. The native of Landsberg am Lech, in southwest Bavaria, played in the youth systems of 1860 Munich and FC Augsburg but knee injuries ended his playing career at the U-19 level.
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