After his sudden dismissal from coaching Bayern Munich at the end of last March, Julian Nagelsmann, at the age of 36, has the opportunity to polish his image in Europe as one of the most talented technical managers, after he was appointed coach of the wounded Germany national team 9 months before hosting the 2024 European Football Cup.
The coach who was dismissed from Bayern 6 months ago has officially become the second youngest coach in the history of the German national team after Otto Nierts (34 years old) in 1926, while the “Manschaft” is trying to regain its balance after the disappointment of being eliminated from the group stage in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
After the talented new generation followed in the footsteps of Jurgen Klopp, who restored the achievements of Liverpool, Nagelsmann knew his first failures last season after being removed from Bayern’s training during the crucial weeks of the season.
In the Alps, where he was enjoying his holiday during the international break, he learned from the newspapers about the decision of CEO Oliver Kahn and Bosnian sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.
For the son of Landsberg am Lech, located 60 kilometers from Bayern’s headquarters, training the most successful team in German history has turned into a nightmare.
He said in an interview with the newspaper “Die Welt am Sonntag” on March 18, “Before my arrival, I imagined all the things that could happen as coach of Bayern. There’s one thing you can’t prepare for: How completely black or white are things?
He got behind the launch of his talent
On a Sunday at the end of the winter season, Bayern lost at Leverkusen (1-2), and without knowing it, it was Nagelsmann’s last match at the helm of the Bavarian team.
The record holder (Recordmeister) had spent between 20 and 25 million euros to extract the coach from Leipzig in the summer of 2021, in order to sign him for five years instead of Hansi Flick, who was recently dismissed from the German national team.
While he was still linked to Bayern, the club appointed Thomas Tuchel – the former coach of Saint-Germain – in his place, noting that the latter launched his coaching career in 2008.
After a serious knee injury at the age of 20, when he was a tall (1.90 m) center back with Augsburg’s reserve team, Nagelsmann accepted his then coach’s suggestion to mark opponents.
His coaching career has skyrocketed. At an age when some players have not yet reached the peak of their careers, he broke records for early starts among coaches in Europe.
In February 2016, after the departure of Dutch coach Hope Stevens due to heart problems, he was appointed coach of Hoffenheim and, at the age of 28, became the youngest coach in the first division of a major European tournament.
The club was reeling in the penultimate position in the Bundesliga, so Nagelsmann painstakingly saved it and kept it in the first division.
Two and a half years later, after finishing third in the Bundesliga, he supervised the first match for a team in the Champions League when he was 31 years old at the helm of Hoffenheim.
In August 2020 in Lisbon, a year after his move to Leipzig, he sat on the bench in a Champions League semi-final match, a few days after his 33rd birthday.
Possession and change of rhythm
In mid-March, he summarized his playing philosophy while presenting his coaching thesis on “controlling the match through possession and changing the rhythm.”
Under Bayern’s colors, he did not lose his temper in front of the media. “I am not an actor. I get asked questions and I answer. “Simply because I don’t want to play any role at all.”
Before moving to Leverkusen, he talked about a snitch inside the locker room, after the media revealed his tactical plans.
On the field, he showed his “muscles.” He expressed his anger at a referee in mid-February, before quickly apologizing. He was subjected to a fine of 50 thousand euros by the German Federation.
His relationship was sometimes tense with some of the team’s officials, even if Joshua Kimmich, one of his most prominent defenders, confirmed that the coach had not lost the trust of the locker room, contrary to what Kahn and Salihamidzic explained later, knowing that he lost only 3 matches out of 37 with Bayern.
He won the 2021-2022 German League title with Bayern, but was eliminated from the Champions League by Spain’s Villarreal in the quarter-finals.