He's played alongside Marco Reus and got his coaching badges with Julian Nagelsmann, but who exactly is new Hamburg boss Daniel Thioune?
bundesliga.com takes a closer look at the man tasked with returning HSV to the top flight.
Born to a Senegalese father and German mother in Osnabrück in north-western Germany, Thioune spent his entire playing career as a defensive midfielder. He never made it to the Bundesliga, but did score 24 goals in 126 Bundesliga 2 appearances for Osnabrück, Lübeck and Rot Weiss Ahlen, and another 60 in 192 outings in the lower divisions.
After hanging up his boots at the age of 36 in 2010, Thioune moved into coaching straight away and was first-team assistant for the 2010/11 season. He returned to his roots after that, heading back to Osnabrück as youth coach, first of the U17s and then the U19s. When first-team coach Joe Enochs was dismissed after a poor start to the 2017/18 season in the third tier, Thioune was thrown into the hotseat on an interim basis initially.
It was here that his stock really began to rise. Taking the reins after Matchday 11 and with Osnabrück second from bottom on just 10 points, Thioune guided the side to safety by the end of the season, finishing six points clear of the drop zone in 17th place. He proved he was no one-season wonder in 2018/19, winning 22 of 38 games to win the third division title and earn promotion to Bundesliga 2.
So impressive were his side that season that Thioune earned 35 of the 40 votes from his fellow coaches and team captains to take the Coach of the Year award for 2019. That same year he completed his bachelor’s degree in Sports and Education Science from the University of Vechta. That combination of brains and experience has served him well and in 2019/20 he consolidated Osnabrück in Bundesliga 2 with a 13th-place finish, his man-management and playing style earning him a move to fallen giants Hamburg ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Coaches a bit like: Julian Nagelsmann
"We have to give individual players more options," Thioune said at his unveiling in Hamburg. "We need to work like crazy against the ball – that's something everyone can and must do, regardless of their quality. And when we're in possession and you need that quality, we need to find solutions."
Sound similar to Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig? That should come as no surprise given that in 2016 Thioune earned his coaching badges at the German Football Association (DFB) at the same time as the Leipzig tactician, as well as Stuttgart coach Pellegrino Matarazzo and former Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco.
Osnabrück may have finished 13th in Bundesliga 2 in 2019/20, but only eight teams scored more than their total of 46, giving an indication of the attack-minded football to come in Hamburg.
Did you know?
Thioune played alongside a certain Marco Reus during his time at Rot Weiss Ahlen, spending two seasons together between 2007 and 2009 before Reus moved to Borussia Mönchengladbach. In fact, Thioune was the first person Reus celebrated with when he scored his maiden goal as a professional in September 2008 in a 3-1 win over Rot-Weiß Oberhausen.
They helped the side finish fourth in the Bundesliga 2 standings in that 2008/09 season, while 2014 World Cup winner Kevin Großkreutz was also part of that team.
What they're saying:
"I'm grateful to VfL Osnabrück for allowing me to take this step. It's an exciting task, a challenge and a huge opportunity. I'm thankful that they've put so much trust in me and I'm looking forward to being part of HSV." – Thioune on being appointed Hamburg coach
"In Daniel Thioune we've recruited a coach who managed to constantly develop a team in Osnabrück despite modest means. We're really looking forward to working with him and from the very first time we had contact, we could tell that Daniel was well up for the challenge." - Hamburg sporting director Jonas Boldt