Hoffenheim have taken the bold step of appointing 28-year-old Julian Nagelsmann as their manager from next season, which will make him the youngest ever Bundesliga head coach.
The club sacked Markus Gisdol on Monday, appointing the 61-year-old Dutch veteran Huub Stevens as his successor until the end of the season. However, the full-time position – and a three year deal – will go to a man who has yet to pass his senior coaching badges.
“We know this is a courageous step but we see in him [Nagelsmann] such a huge coaching talent that we want to give him a prospect,” said the Hoffenheim sports director, Alexander Rosen.
Nagelsmann was briefly an assistant coach during the 2012-13 campaign, but he will remain with the Under-19s until the end of the season as he continues studying for his senior coaching licence.
“I am looking forward to a very tempting task and I would like to thank everybody for the trust and the opportunity given to me,” Nagelsmann, who coached Hoffenheim’s junior team to the 2014 German title, said in a club statement.
His playing career was cut short when he sustained a knee injury during an U19 match against Eintracht Frankfurt.
“Coaching is more enjoyable than playing,” he said in an interview published on A Football Report in 2013. “As a player you just go and train – but as a coach or a trainer you think what you can do to improve the team, or specific parts of the game. You will do that on the field and after the training: you say that was the right or the wrong way.
“My philosophy is to attack the opponents near their own goal because your own way to the goal is not as along, if you get the ball higher up. I like the way Villarreal play and they have a great way of coaching young players. I also like Barcelona and Arsenal, as well as, the work of Arsene Wenger.
“They play very good football. I think the Spanish way is the philosophy is similar to mines and in Spain they are very good at coaching young players for the team. I haven’t seen it much with Villarreal but it is interesting to see how they train and it is very good for these young players.”
Hoffenheim are 17th place with one win and six points from their first 10 games of the season.