Opposition coaches this weekend, Bayern Munich's Julian Nagelsmann and RB Leipzig's Domenico Tedesco go way back. - © imago
Opposition coaches this weekend, Bayern Munich's Julian Nagelsmann and RB Leipzig's Domenico Tedesco go way back. - © imago

Old classmates Julian Nagelsmann and Domenico Tedesco to renew acquaintances when Bayern Munich host RB Leipzig


Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig head coaches Julian Nagelsmann and Domenico Tedesco insist that knowing how their old coaching school classmate thinks will not give much of an advantage in this weekend's meeting of the two teams.

While Nagelsmann has been in charge of Bayern since the start of the season - guiding them to the top of the table - Tedesco has enjoyed an excellent spell since taking on the Leipzig job in December.

The 36-year-old's new team have climbed to sixth and reached the DFB Cup quarter-finals, but his talents will be tested on Saturday when they travel to take on the defending champions.

In Munich Tedesco will meet a very familiar face in the shape of ex-Leipzig boss Nagelsmann, who in 2016 graduated from the same class at the DFB coaching school. Despite knowing Nagelsmann better than most, though, the former Schalke coach suggested it won't be too much help this weekend.

Tedesco (l.) and Nagelsmann (r.) graduated at the same time from the DFB coaching school. - Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

"It's one thing to know the opposition coach, have a grasp of his ideas, and how he wants to play with and without the ball," Tedesco said on Thursday ahead of his reunion with Nagelsmann.

"It's another thing to defend against it, or to exploit their system in attack. They are two very different things. And in principle it's Bayern against Leipzig - not Nagelsmann against Tedesco."

The shared past of two of Germany's brightest young coaches nonetheless provides another fascinating storyline to the clash of two of the country's top teams. Tedesco spent 10 months working on his final coaching qualification alongside Nagelsmann, finishing with the top marks in the class.

By that stage Nagelsmann was already working at the top level in the Bundesliga, having been appointed head coach of Hoffenheim at the age of just 28. The current Bayern supremo shares Tedesco's take on the upcoming reunion, but he also joked that the Leipzig boss had an advantage at coaching school.

Watch: Domenico Tedesco's RB Leipzig under the tactical microscope

"So many years have passed - we've both developed since then," Nagelsmann - now 34 - said at Bayern's pre-game media conference on Thursday. "What's really nice with Domenico is you can talk to him about all kinds of things - not only about football.

"I was at the very front of the class when we did our coaching licence and he was at the very back. I didn’t want to be the teacher's pet so I waited until five minutes before eight to go to the back of the class. I thought I would be one of the cool guys and go to the back, and then I went into the room and the only seat that was available was the front spot.

"I think there were people who watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy 44 times during this course. I couldn't even type something into Google because my laptop would be shut down immediately [by the lecturer]… I was a young man at the time and I had to keep that seat at the front. So that was a big disadvantage for me and that’s why I got a 1.3 rating and Domenico got [a better mark of] 1.0!"

Nagelsmann said the pair talked about a lot of other things than football when they shared a car on the way to the course some days, and that he kept one or two secrets to himself anyway.

Watch: Analysing Julian Nagelsmann's Bayern Munich

"He knows what I think about football - what I want my team to do - and he sees what I'm trying to do because he analyses Bayern Munich," Nagelsmann said. "We know each other well, but it's not as if we know every detail about each other. In the end, what really matters is not the two coaches on the sidelines.

"It's the players on the pitch, who's in the best form on the day, who has the bigger hunger, the aggression, the willingness to win. In the end the coaches aren’t always the most important actors in this situation."