Tayfun Korkut – The big question mark

Hannover’s new coach is an unknown quantity for most followers of the Bundesliga. What can the 96’ers fans expect from their new coach?

”Taifun who?” was the headline Hannover’s local paper HAZ chose to to go with after Tayfun Korkut had been appointed as the reds new head coach. The tabloids chose to focus on the link between Mirko Slomka and Hannover’s new coach – the two of them share the same agent(Harun Arslan) – and Korkut’s connection with Germany coach Jogi Löw.

The 39 year old was born in Stuttgart and played 14 matches for the city’s second biggest club, Stuttgarter Kickers, before he emerged on a playing career in Turkey and Spain. After five years at Fenerbahce Korkut joined Spanish outfit Real Sociedad. Many followers of La Liga probably still remember the 2001/02 squad in which Korkut featured together with Turkish striker Nihat and a young Xabi Alonso. The team ended up in second place that season playing mesmerising football at the time.

After retiring the 42-time Turkey international coached Hoffenheim’s under 17 team and Stuttgart’s under 19 side before becoming Turkey’s assistant coach. Korkut took his coaching badges in Cologne alongside Markus Gisdol, Markus Weinzierl and Thomas Schneider, all of whom have done reasonably well(or better) in the Bundesliga this season. When asked about his former employee’s work Stuttgart sporting director Fredi Bobic was full praise, saying to Bild:

”We were very happy with his work, we would have liked to seen him stay.”

Löw was Korkut’s coach during the time the two of them spent at Fenerbahce. Germany’s national team coach seems to be convinced that Korkut is the right man to turn things around, telling Bild:

”Tayfun is very eager, he takes an interest and is always willing to learn something new. He’s a straight forward and he knows what he wants. He was that way as a player and he’s the same as a person.”

Change of tactics?

Korkut told the press after Thursday’s training session that his players had trained well and adapted to the changes that he had made. The coach went even as far as saying ”…the team is playing the kind of football which I want to see from them”.

Should the players be able to put their new coach’s vision into action on the pitch today many fans of the 96’ers would breathe a sigh of relief, given their team’s poor performance in the Hinrunde. Hannover’s poor form started fairly early this season after all. The team has only managed to gather six points after their 2-1 home win against FC Augsburg on match day 6. Furthermore, Hannover are still the only team in the Bundesliga which hasn’t managed to collect a single point on the road.

Philipp Maisel, editor in chief of Kick-S, a website focussing on all aspects of the football going on in and around Stuttgart, told Bundesliga fanatic that Korkut’s vision doesn’t differ too much from what the Bundesliga fans have been getting used to over the last few years:

“Tactically his side was oriented towards playing attacking football. He mostly played a 4-5-1 system, focused on the wings with high standing right and left backs.”

Korkut is said to be fluent in German, Turkish, Spanish and English. Maisel says that the former Stuttgart under 19 coach told him that most of the things he has adopted in his tactical vision were elements he picked up whilst playing in Spain.

The Turk might bring a few touches of his own to the job if his time at Stuttgart could serve as an indicator according to Maisel:

“I don’t think that we’ll see the kind of counter attacking football Hannover played most of the time under Slomka. Korkut is going to bring an idea of playing more dominating football to the team. I think that we’ll see a lot of possession, few touches per player, and two deep lying defensive midfielders who’ll initiate fast attacks.”

From assistant to head coach

Hannover 96 originally planned to bring in the former Turkish international as an assistant coach for Mirko Slomka. The names that rumoured to replace Slomka included the likes of Thomas Schaaf and André Breitenreiter, but in the end Hannover decided to take(what is perceived to be) a gamble on a young and exciting coach.

Slomka himself is going to be sitting in the stadium watching Hannover’s away match against high flying Wolfsburg today. Korkut was informed about the former Hannover coach’s decision during his agent’s Harun Arslan new year’s dinner. Today both men are going to find out whether or not the 96’ers are going to turn around their fortunes and manage to gather their first points on the road.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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