For the first time in the history of the Champions League, there were three German coaches leading their respective teams in the semi-finals of the elite tournament. Bayern Munich’s Hans-Dieter Flick, Paris Saint-Germain’s Thomas Tuchel and RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann made history as they became the first three managers from the same nation to compete at that stage of the competition.
It’s no surprise that German coaches dominated the top-flight European League this year and credit needs to go to the work done behind the scenes by the Association of German Football Coaches, who keeps churning out master tacticians and astute learners of the game. The three aforementioned coaches are in charge of very different clubs but their success at the top level of football can be traced back to their formative years in Germany and to their understanding of the game they love.
Let us dig deeper into the journey of these three German coaches and how they became the managers they are today.
HANS-DIETER FLICK (Bayern Munich)
Hansi Flick, as he is known more commonly, is the senior-most amongst the three German coaches. He had a decent playing career and had won the league title four times with Bayern in his career. He, however, was forced to retire at just 28 due to major injuries. Flick was the assistant coach of the German national team from 2006 till 2014 and won the FIFA World Cup in his last year in that job. He then went on to become the Sporting Director of the national team till 2017. In 2019, he joined Niko Kovac’s coaching staff at Bayern Munich as the assistant coach. Following Kovac’s departure from the club in November 2019, Flick was appointed as the interim manager and was permanently given the job in December. Flick has guided Bayern to a coveted treble this season by winning the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal Cup and the Champions League. This was just the second treble in the club’s history and Flick now has a contract till 2023.
THOMAS TUCHEL (Paris Saint-Germain)
Thomas Tuchel is another player whose career got over earlier than expected due to major injuries. Tuchel’s playing days got over when he was 25 due to chronic knee cartilage issues. His first major appointment was at Mainz in 2009. He took over from Jurgen Klopp, who had left to join Borussia Dortmund. He stayed at the club till 2014, winning 72 of his 182 competitive matches, majorly in the Bundesliga. He then again went on to fill the big boots of Jurgen Klopp in Borussia Dortmund in 2015. The club felt that the two had similar footballing philosophies and he replaced him for the second time in a row. He stayed at Dortmund till 2017 and won the German Cup during his time with the club. In 2018, he took a major decision of leaving his home country and going to France to help PSG be successful in Europe. He became the first manager in PSG’s history in 50 years to take the team to the Champions League final, but unfortunately, lost it to Flick’s Bayern Munich.
JULIAN NAGELSMANN (RB Leipzig)
Nagelsmann played for FC Augsburg and 1860 Munich at the youth level as a centre-back. His association with Thomas Tuchel is well depicted as he worked as a scout for him during their Augsburg days. Nagelsmann started his management career with Hoffenheim in 2016. He managed 136 games for Hoffenheim and was awarded the VDV- Manager of the Season in 2017 as well as the German Football Manager of the Year. He then moved to Leipzig to take over the reins with the Red Bull team. In 2019, he signed a four-year contract with the club which is slated to expire in 2023. The 4-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League made him the youngest coach in the history of the competition to win a knockout tie. Additionally, Leipzig’s qualification in the semi-final of the Champions League made him the youngest coach to lead a side in the semi-finals of the tournament. At just the age of 33, Nagelsmann has shown his sharp understanding of the game and is regarded as one of the best young coaches in world football.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES