Dino Toppmöller is taking it all in as Eintracht Frankfurt's new coach. - © IMAGO/Sven Simon
Dino Toppmöller is taking it all in as Eintracht Frankfurt's new coach. - © IMAGO/Sven Simon

Dino Toppmöller hoping to take flight at Eintracht Frankfurt


Eintracht Frankfurt coach Dino Toppmöller is the son of former Kaiserslautern striking legend and German Coach of the Year with Bayer Leverkusen, Klaus. However, the Eagles' new man in charge is determined to plough his own furrow among the Bundesliga elite.

Having achieved notable coaching success in Luxembourg, Toppmöller Jr. assisted Julian Nagelsmann at RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich, before Eintracht handed the reins to the 42-year-old, who took over from the recently departed Oliver Glasner. Bundesliga.com sat down with Frankfurt’s new tactician to chat about those who inspire him and his goals at the helm of Die Adler.

bundesliga.com: When did you realise that you wanted to make the step up from assistant coach to head coach?

Dino Toppmöller: "When I went to Leipzig and made the transition from the position of head coach to assistant coach, it was of course a conscious decision to join Julian [Nagelsmann]'s team, and I had an incredible time. I really enjoyed it both in terms of what I learned but also on a human level. It was a great thing for me and the decision to become a head coach again actually only came after we were released from our duties at [Bayern] Munich.

Watch: Eintracht enjoy opening day success under Toppmöller

"Until then, it was clear to me that I was totally loyal to Julian and also wanted to continue to support him. And I emphasised that all the time. But when we were released, certain clubs got in contact and made their enquiries. I was in constant contact with Julian of course, but at some point, given the talks were going very positively, I noticed that the interest was serious from some clubs. Then in April/May time, the offers came in and I decided that I could take the step without having a bad conscience. Now I’m here and I'm very happy to be part of Eintracht Frankfurt.”

bundesliga.com: How did Julian Nagelsmann inspire you? What did you learn from his journey?

Toppmöller: "When I started out as a coach, I was fascinated by [Pep] Guardiola and the way he meticulously prepares his teams for each opponent and always finds solutions even against deep-lying opposition. Then [Jürgen] Klopp was another outstanding coach and someone from whom I have learned a few things. I have looked closely at how he leads his teams, how he conducts his interviews, how he is able to bring people along on the journey so effectively, and get people to seemingly walk through fire for him.

"[Thomas] Tuchel I always considered a very interesting coach. But then Julian burst onto the scene in 2017 I think (I may be wrong about the year). But when he became head coach, I was fascinated by how he, as a young coach, was able to save his team from relegation even though it felt like they had already been relegated. He then made Hoffenheim into a top team.

Toppmöller (l.) worked closely with Julian Nagelsmann at Leipzig and Bayern. - IMAGO/Sportfoto Rudel

"So when the request came in from Julian, it was an easy decision for me. We share a lot of views of course, in terms of the offensive game, in terms of how we see football. We both want to be active, we want ball possession, we want to enable effective counter-attacking play through possession and positional play. So of course I picked up a lot of details from him - he is an outstanding coach.”

bundesliga.com: Was securing promotion with Eintracht Frankfurt in 2003 the greatest success of your playing career?

Toppmöller: “I've actually been promoted a few times: with Saarbrücken to the second division, with Bochum to the first division, and with Frankfurt to the first division. It was something very special with Frankfurt, of course, because I was on the pitch at the end of the season. In Bochum it was a bit different, as I only played 12 games or so. In Frankfurt my contribution was modest too, but I played a few more games and I was able to help the team during the second last game of the season with my goals. The drama was of course very special. The last-minute goals, for example against Reutlingen to secure promotion, were amazing and produce feelings that you can’t really describe. I get goosebumps thinking about it now. That was definitely the most special moment for me.”

Talking tactics: Toppmöller (l.) points the way to Mario Götze. - IMAGO/HMB-Media

bundesliga.com: What objectives has Frankfurt's managing director for sport Markus Krösche given you as head coach of Eintracht?

Toppmöller: “That's a question for Markus ultimately in terms of what expectations he has. We got to know each other in Leipzig. We worked very well together and he probably also came to appreciate me. We have worked together in various roles over the last three years. In terms of expectations, I think everyone at the club, not just Markus, is hopeful that my coaching team and I can continue the positive trajectory of the club and build on the successes that Eintracht have enjoyed. Now it's up to us to develop a positive mindset within the team and then prove that we are a great team out on the pitch.”

bundesliga.com: In Mario Götze, Ellyes Skhiri and Randal Kolo Muani you have some excellent players to work with. Is it a pleasure to coach such players?

Toppmöller: “Yes, absolutely. It is the best possible thing for a coach. It is always nice coming to a big club as the players are able to implement things much easier and much quicker. They are technically better and understand things faster. It’s good as a coach of course to be able to work with top players every day.”

Dino's father, Klaus Toppmöller, was a legendary Bundesliga player and coach. - Imago

bundesliga.com: Are there any standout moments for you in the 60-year history of the Bundesliga?

Toppmöller: “Thinking about my father, I would say the game between Kaiserslautern and Bayern Munich, the legendary 7-4, was a standout. That’s a game we hear a lot about and for him to have been involved is amazing - it was one of the games of the century. He was also able to put his stamp on the game with a goal that triggered the comeback. That was certainly a big moment.

"But there have been many; I still remember very well Bayern’s last-minute goal in Hamburg, this time in their favour. That was also insane. The Bundesliga is always exciting, always attractive, even if Bayern have won the league in each of the last 11 seasons. The league still produces lots of exciting situations, just like the final matchday of last season. That's exactly what the fans want and let's hope the Bundesliga season is similarly exciting this year.”

bundesliga.com: You won your first Bundesliga match in charge of Eintracht against Darmstadt and next up is Mainz: both local derbies. How important are these opening games for you?

Toppmöller: “I'm looking to give the team a certain structure in order to win games. If we are able to achieve that, then I think the fans will be happy. And that’s not about me, but about us, about the team and about the club. It’s about us striving together for success and going into every game with the intention of winning. We will look to make our fans happy by winning games at the start of the season. But in the end it's about us having a successful season overall.”