They are the tacticians who would lift the Meisterschale at the end of the season, but before then the Bundesliga’s 18 coaches need to navigate their team through highs and lows on the pitch.
bundesliga.com introduces the tactical masterminds who take up residency of the Bundesliga dugouts in 2019/20…
Bayern Munich: Niko Kovac
Kovac’s first season in charge of Bayern was emphatic, sealing a domestic treble in one of the most fiercely contested campaigns in recent memory. Following 2017/18 DFB Cup glory with Eintracht Frankfurt, the Croatian became only the fourth coach to win the German cup with two different teams, as well as the first man in German football history to win the double as both a player and a coach. Such are the demands at Bayern, more of the same is expected.
Borussia Dortmund: Lucien Favre
The godfather of football’s “modern jazz”, Favre was narrowly pipped by Kovac to the Bundesliga trophy in his maiden season in Dortmund as his side came just two points short of denying FCB a seventh consecutive league title. Reinforcements have arrived this summer, meaning the former Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hertha Berlin boss’ troops are more than prepared to go one better this time.
Watch: Borussia Dortmund's tactics under Lucien Favre
RB Leipzig: Julian Nagelsmann
Having taken Hoffenheim to unheralded new heights, the Bundesliga’s youngest ever permanent coach has swapped Sinsheim for Saxony. A technological revolutionary renowned for a fearlessly attacking approach and a masterful development of players, Nagelsmann joins Leipzig’s highly ambitious project charged with challenging the more established top two and delivering some major silverware to the club’s beckoning trophy cabinet.
Bayer Leverkusen: Peter Bosz
A January replacement for Heiko Herrlich, Bosz orchestrated a remarkable turnaround in Bayer’s fortunes; lifting Die Werkself from ninth when he took charge, to fourth. It secured the club’s return to UEFA Champions League football after a three-year absence, which will ask questions of both Bosz and his squad when it comes to balancing domestic and continental demands in the Dutchman’s first full season at the BayArena.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Marco Rose
A former Mainz defender in his playing days, Rose steps into Dieter Hecking’s shoes having earned high praise for his work in Austria with Red Bull Salzburg. The 42-year-old bid farewell to Salzburg with a 2018/19 domestic league and cup double adding to his Austrian Bundesliga crown the previous year, one that included a run to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals. It will serve as encouragement for Foals fans ahead of their own upcoming European adventure.
Wolfsburg: Oliver Glasner
Despite saving the Wolves from relegation via the play-offs in 2017/18 and steering the Lower Saxony outfit into sixth last time out, Bruno Labbadia’s decision not to renew his contract saw the club appoint Glasner after impressing in his native Austria with LASK Linz. The 44-year-old renews his rivalry with Rose after LASK finished runners-up to Salzburg last year and will, likewise, have Europa League football to juggle during his debut season in Germany.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Adi Hütter
A remarkable, roller coaster of a first season under Hütter resulted in most Eagles supporters pondering what might have been. Frankfurt ended the season with four defeats across six winless Bundesliga matchdays and slipped from fourth with two games to go, to seventh. A semi-final exit to eventual Europa League winners Chelsea on penalties was also tough to take and all involved will be determined to make amends this time around, albeit without two of their 2018/19 heroes; Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller.
Werder Bremen: Florian Kohfeldt
Kohfeldt’s coaching journey through the club’s youth ranks led to the 36-year-old landing the big job in October 2017. With the Green-Whites struggling in 17th, the Siegen-native secured survival for his side by the end of the campaign and was eventually named Germany's Coach of the Year for 2018. Kohfeldt’s inaugural full season ended with Bremen narrowly missing out on European football for the first time since 2010/11 but a seventh-placed finish suggests exciting times ahead.
Watch: Werder Bremen's tactics under Florian Kohfeldt
Hoffenheim: Alfred Schreuder
Returning to Hoffenheim a year-and-a-half after leaving the club to serve as Erik ten Hag’s assistant at Ajax, Schreuder’s last spell at TSG was in the role of deputy to both Huub Stevens and the man he replaces, Nagelsmann. Hoffenheim fans will hope the former FC Twente coach can work the same magic on their club as he did at Ajax last season, where he helped ten Hag lead the Dutch giants to a domestic double as well as a dream run to the Champions League semi-finals, courtesy of a thrilling brand of football and highly talented crop of youngsters.
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Friedhelm Funkel
Funkel backed up the 2017/18 Bundesliga 2 title-winning campaign with a 10th place finish last year, a result even more impressive considering the immediate return to the second tier for fellow promoted side, Nuremberg. Their reward is a second successive run in the top flight for the first time since 1997. Funkel will need to address the 65 goals the Flingeraner shipped last term, a figure only lower than three other teams in 2018/19; two of which (Stuttgart and Hannover) were relegated.
Hertha Berlin: Ante Covic
Stepping up from the Hertha reserve team, Covic succeeds Pal Dardai at the Olympiastadion, where he also coached the club’s U15s and had been in charge of the reserves since 2013. A former Hertha player, Covic racked up 80 first team appearances across two spells and 11 seasons at Hertha and the Croatian has already helped bring through players such as Arne Maier, Jordan Torunarigha and Maximilian Mittelstädt.
Mainz: Sandro Schwarz
Having joined the 05ers as a 17-year-old in 1995, Schwarz went on to make 100 appearances for the club. In fact, he featured under Jürgen Klopp and alongside Gladbach coach Rose in Mainz’s promotion-winning side of 2003/04. There was clearly something in the Mainz waters back then and a 12th-place finish last year was steady improvement on 14th in 2017/18, Schwarz’s first season in the hot seat.
Freiburg: Christian Streich
Streich celebrates his 25th year at Freiburg in 2020, the 54-year-old having won a trio of Junior DFB Cups and an U19 Bundesliga trophy with the club’s youth teams before serving first as an assistant in 2007 and then being promoted to first team coach in 2011. The 54-year-old has since overseen 221 Bundesliga fixtures and is comfortably the league’s longest-serving current coach, outlasting next-in-line Funkel by more than four years.
Schalke: David Wagner
After four years in England, Wagner is back where it all began for the German-born former USA international. Having risen through the coaching ranks with first Hoffenheim’s youth academy and then Borussia Dortmund’s reserves, the 47-year-old takes station in the Bundesliga for the first time with the team he represented as a player from 1995-97. He will be out to resurrect the seven-time German champions’ fortunes after the Royal Blues finished 2018/19 in 14th, a year after they were Bundesliga runners up.
Augsburg: Martin Schmidt
The former Mainz and Wolfsburg coach took over the Augsburg reins from Michael Baum in April, hitting the ground running with back-to-back victories over Frankfurt and Stuttgart. Schmidt oversaw one draw and three defeats across the remaining four Matchdays, enough to make sure Die Fuggerstädter retained their Bundesliga for a ninth successive season. The 52-year-old will be keen to make an impression with an entire campaign in front of him.
Cologne: Achim Beierlozer
Markus Anfang’s departure at the end of April did not halt Cologne’s promotion push as the Bundesliga 2 title was routinely confirmed and Beierlozer named as Anfang’s replacement. The 51-year-old led Jahn Regensburg to fifth in 2017/18 and eighth in 2018/19 in the second tier and this will be his first taste of Bundesliga football. Leipzig fans will remember him for his interim role as head coach in 2014/15, where he took charge of 15 games (W6, D3, L6) for the Red Bulls before a certain Ralf Rangnick embarked on his first spell in the dugout.
Paderborn: Steffen Baumgart
Paderborn’s rise under Baumgart has been nothing short of miraculous. Joining the club with five games to go in the 2016/17 season, Paderborn were on the brink of relegation from the third division. Three wins and two draws under Baumgart saw them survive by the skin of their teeth and promotion to Bundesliga 2 followed a year later. Back-to-back promotions were secured last year, with Baumgart taking Paderborn from the brink to the big time in just two seasons.
Union Berlin: Urs Fischer
Fischer is another to have turned water into wine last season, lifting Die Eisernen up to the top flight for the first time in their history. And courtesy of a DFB Cup runners-up medal in 2001, Union Berlin - then plying their trade in the fourth tier of German football - featured in the UEFA Cup 18 years prior to reaching the Bundesliga. A former Swiss international, Fischer won two league titles and a domestic cup with Basel in his home country but promotion with Berlin last year - courtesy of playoff victory over Stuttgart - is likely the greatest achievement of his coaching career to date.