Julian Nagelsmann swapping RB Leipzig for Bayern Munich was just the start of the Bundesliga coaching merry-go-round over summer 2021, with eight clubs starting the new 2021/22 season with a different face in the dugout.
bundesliga.com introduces the men who will be on the touchline in the German top flight…
One of the biggest moves of the summer wasn’t actually by a player, but a coach as Bayern snapped up one of the most highly rated tacticians in world football. The youngest permanent head coach in Bundesliga history made his name at Hoffenheim and qualified for the UEFA Champions League before a two-year spell at Leipzig. There he got Die Roten Bullen into the semi-finals of the Champions League and a DFB Cup final. Now 33, the man once nicknamed ‘Mini Mourinho’ and Bavaria native has been handpicked to take the reins at Germany’s most successful club and extend their already unprecedented run of nine straight Bundesliga titles further still.
Watch: Nagelsmann bound for Bayern
With Nagelsmann’s departure confirmed, the question was who would follow in his hugely progressive footsteps? Marsch had previously been assistant coach at the club under Ralf Rangnick the year prior to the now Bayern coach’s arrival. He was the ideal candidate for the top job now after the American had earned his stripes at New York Red Bulls and most recently at Austrian sister club Red Bull Salzburg, winning back-to-back domestic doubles. The Wisconsin native – already impressively fluent in German – will surely need no time to settle back in and kick on.
Watch: Marsch – Leipzig’s coming man
Dortmund announced back in February that Rose would swap Borussias by leaving Mönchengladbach after the end of 2020/21. The former Mainz defender and another double winner with Salzburg spent two years in charge of the Foals, guiding them into the Champions League knockout stage for the first time in their history after getting through a group that included Real Madrid and Inter Milan. The 44-year-old takes over from Edin Terzic – who is now the club’s technical director after his DFB Cup-winning interim spell following the dismissal of Lucien Favre – and leads a team spearheaded by his former Salzburg protégé Erling Haaland.
The former Bayern captain and hard-hitting enforcer is back in the Bundesliga over a decade after winning the league and DFB Cup double. The 44-year-old’s only previous head coaching job was at PSV Eindhoven across 2018/19 and the first half of the following campaign, and he’ll be leading the Wolves into the Champions League for the first time in five years after Oliver Glasner guided them to fourth last season.
And yes, it’s Glasner who has now moved into the head coach’s office in Frankfurt. The Austrian has made a name for himself over the last two years at Wolfsburg with finishes of seventh and fourth. Although the Eagles finished a place below his Wolves, the 46-year-old former defender sees Eintracht as an “opportunity to continue developing a team at a strong level”. Leaving the Volkswagen Arena doesn’t mean he’ll miss out on European football either. He’ll be leading Frankfurt into the UEFA Europa League – a competition the club and fans have become familiar with in recent years under predecessor Adi Hütter.
Completing the new faces among last season’s top six is Seoane at Leverkusen. He arrives on the back of three straight league titles with Young Boys in Switzerland and looking to “step up to the next level” with Die Werkself. The 42-year-old Swiss-Spanish coach succeeds Hannes Wolf, who saw out last season on an interim basis after the dismissal of Peter Bosz, and with the need to inject some life back into the team after they limped over the line in 2020/21. He’ll also be leading them into the Europa League, where he no doubt attracted Leverkusen’s attention by knocking them out of last season’s edition 6-3 on aggregate in the last 32 with Young Boys.
Union Berlin: Urs Fischer
Another Swiss coach but now a familiar face on Bundesliga touchlines, Fischer is taking Union into their and his third straight top-flight season in Germany following their historic maiden promotion in 2019. After extending his contract back in December, the 55-year-old will now lead Die Eisernen into Europe for only the second time since German reunification when the Berliners compete in the new UEFA Europa Conference League after last season’s seventh-placed finish.
Completing a Bundesliga coaching recoupling more dramatic than anything ever seen on Love Island, Hütter has left city banker Frankfurt after three years to swoop for hunky Gladbach after Rose couldn’t resist a piece of Dortmund. The 51-year-old makes it seven out of last season’s top eight with a new coach in 2021/22. After winning league titles in Austria and Switzerland with Salzburg and Young Boys respectively, and guiding Frankfurt through two famous Europa League campaigns, the former midfielder has formed a formidable reputation as a coach.
Matarazzo is the first born-and-raised American to lead a team in the Bundesliga, having guided VfB Stuttgart back to the top flight in 2020 – a year ahead of the arrival of compatriot Marsch at Leipzig. The New Jersey native has been in Germany for the best part of two decades as a player and now a coach, eventually working as assistant under Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim before VfB gave him the top job midway through the 2019/20 season. Armed with degree in applied mathematics from Columbia University, he got his numbers spot in last year to steer the promoted club to a top-half finish.
Freiburg: Christian Streich
Freiburg’s Streich is currently the longest-serving in the Bundesliga by some six years, having first taken over in December 2011. The enigmatic former teacher originally didn’t want the job out of worry for what failure would mean to others at the club, but his decision proved to be the right one for him and his local team. From saviour to Europe to relegation to promotion to a now established Bundesliga side, the league’s oldest coach at 56 has seen it all over almost a decade at the helm and also earned himself cult status for passionate statements on football, society and quite frankly anything else that interests him – of course all in his heavy southwestern accent.
Almost young enough to be Streich’s child, Hoffenheim’s coach is the latest in a line of Hoeneß’s to grace the Bundesliga as the son of five-time champion Dieter and nephew of Bayern mastermind Uli. The 39-year-old took over in Sinsheim at the start of last season and claimed a famous win in his very first home game by beating European champions Bayern 4-1 – the club whose reserves he’d guided to the third division title only weeks earlier.
Watch: How Hoeneß masterminded victory over Bayern
Probably the people’s choice as coach of the season in 2020/21, what Svensson did at Mainz verged on miraculous. The former defender – signed for the club by a certain Jürgen Klopp – was previously assistant under current Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand and also a youth coach at the 05ers but was brought ‘home’ from Austria’s Liefering in January 2021 as the team’s fourth coach of the season with them second from bottom. No club had ever escaped the drop after such a poor start, but the 41-year-old Dane brought them back to life like a phoenix from the ashes and eventually finished 12th on the back of the club’s best Rückrunde ever and the best points-per-game ratio by any of Mainz’s illustrious coaches.
Watch: The Svensson Effect
Augsburg were the last of the surviving clubs from 2020/21 to change their coach when they replaced Heiko Herrlich with Weinzierl with three games to go (Werder Bremen made their change with one match left). The return of their former boss ultimately worked for the Bavarians as they finished five points clear of automatic relegation in 13th. The 46-year-old previously oversaw over 154 games at the WWK Arena between 2012 and 2016, and is the only coach to ever guide Augsburg to top-half finishes or beat local rivals Bayern in the Bundesliga.
Hertha also turned back the clock in 2020/21 when they re-appointed Dardai in January in place of Bruno Labbadia with the club’s top-flight status looking precarious. Despite a backlog of fixtures, the Old Lady’s former captain, record appearance holder in the Bundesliga and their third-longest-serving coach guided the team to safety and has now agreed to stay on for another year as the team rebuilds. Hertha had gone through four coaches since 45-year-old Dardai left in 2019 to take up a role within the club’s academy again.
Bielefeld were another who took action in the dugout as they battled to survive when they replaced Uwe Neuhaus – the man who had earned promotion as Bundesliga 2 champions – with Kramer in March 2021. Previously a coach at Greuther Fürth, Fortuna Düsseldorf, various Germany youth teams and the academy at Salzburg, the 49-year-old only lost three of his 12 games in charge at the end of the campaign to ensure a second straight season of Bundesliga football for Arminia. They finished two points clear of Cologne in 16th and four ahead of Bremen in the last relegation spot.
Cologne held faith with Markus Gisdol until six games from the end, before they brought Friedhelm Funkel back with the team in 17th. He saved them via the play-off against Holstein Kiel, but it was always a temporary solution. The Billy Goats have started afresh and are the only team in the bottom half with a new coach for 2021/22 after appointing 49-year-old Baumgart on a two-year deal following four successful years with Paderborn. A classic baseball cap-wearing coach on the sidelines, he said at his unveiling that he “thinks attacking” and wants to see his team score goals, even if it means shipping a few at the other end.
Bochum: Thomas Reis
Reis is part of the furniture in Bochum. The former left-back spent eight years at the club as a player and – bar a three-year spell in charge of Wolfsburg’s U19s – has also been coaching at one of the oldest sports clubs in the world in a number of roles since 2011. The 47-year-old was handed the reins of the first team in September 2019 and, after 11 years in the second-tier wilderness, finally steered Bochum back to the top flight as Bundesliga 2 champions last season.
Watch: Reis' beer shower after steering Bochum to promotion
Greuther Fürth: Stefan Leitl
Leitl is about as Bavarian as they come, with Darmstadt being the club he’s either played for or coached that is furthest from his hometown of Munich. He was once on the books at Bayern in his early playing days, but the best spell of his career came at Ingolstadt. That was also where the now 43-year-old cut his teeth as a coach, beginning with the U17s straight after retirement, then the reserves and finally the first team in 2017. After a year there, he was given the job at Fürth in February 2019. Following finishes of 13th and ninth in Bundesliga 2, he masterminded their final-day triumph to secure second place last season and will lead the three-time German champions into just their second Bundesliga campaign.
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