Sebastian Hoeneß has worked wonders since taking over at VfB Stuttgart in April 2023. - © Getty Images
Sebastian Hoeneß has worked wonders since taking over at VfB Stuttgart in April 2023. - © Getty Images

Sebastian Hoeneß: Who is the young German coach transforming VfB Stuttgart's fortunes?


With success written into his DNA, it’s no wonder Sebastian Hoeneß has turned VfB Stuttgart from relegation fodder into top-four contenders. has the career skinny on one of Germany's most promising young coaches who has now penned a new deal at the club...

Sebastian Hoeneß

Age: 41 (born 12 May 1982)
Club: Stuttgart
Role: Head coach
Country of birth: Germany

Key stats

A player first, and coach later, Hoeneß started out in the youth ranks of Bavarian club TSV Ottobrunn. The Munich native later lined up in the various Stuttgart youth teams, before spending 11 years with the Hertha Berlin reserves, via a one-season stint at Hoffenheim. An attacking midfielder in his pomp, he produced seven goals and 20 assists across his 174 professional appearances, playing against Bayern II in Germany’s fourth tier in 2006/07.

Within a year of hanging up his playing boots, Hoeneß stepped into the dug-out with capital club Hertha Zehlendorf’s U19s. He averaged 1.08 points per game over his 26 matches in charge - a mean return that mushroomed to 2.27 whilst at the helm of the RB Leipzig U17s in 2016/17. Bayern made the move that summer, initially charging him with overseeing the youth and U19 teams. He took over the newly promoted reserves in time for 2019/20, steering the club from 15th at Christmas to 3. Liga champions on the final day, thanks to an eye-catching haul of 43 points from a possible 57 during the second half of the campaign.

Hoeness lifted Bayern II from within two points of the relegation zone in January to champions by a single point in July. - imago

The brains behind the first reserve team in history to win Germany's Third Division, Hoeness was recognised as the 3. Liga Coach of the Season, claiming 64 percent of the vote ahead of Würzburger Kickers counterpart Michael Schiele. But for league rules which stipulate a club can only have one representative across Germany’s top two divisions, he’d have presided over the team in Bundesliga 2.

His achievement did not go unnoticed, however, and he was able to leapfrog Bundesliga 2 entirely to land in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim in 2020. He led them to 11th in his first season, finishing ninth in his second before a parting of ways.

Out of work until April 2023, Hoeneß returned to where his playing career had begun and saved Stuttgart from relegation via the play-off. Two thirds of the way into his first full campaign at the helm, VfB are riding high in third place, with a handy buffer on fourth. His superb work was rewarded in March 2024 with a two-year extension to his contract which will now run until at least June 2027.

Coaches a bit like: Hansi Flick

An exponent of a 4-2-3-1 formation, Hoeneß strikes the necessary balance between defensive stability and expansive attacking football. His decision to invest in youngsters such as American Chris Richards and teenager Angelo Stiller over some of his more experienced squad members speaks to his in-built talent radar, while game-changing switches such as the Matchday 23 introduction of New Zealand international Sarpreet Singh - who scored twice from the bench in a 4-2 win over relegation-fighting Viktoria Cologne - underscore his super-savvy reputation. Throw in a German passport and you may believe you are staring the next Hansi Flick in the face.

USA youth Chris Richards (r.) enjoyed a breakout season under Hoeneß (l.). - imago

Did you know?

Sebastian is the son of former Aalen, Stuttgart, Bayern and Germany striker, Dieter Hoeneß. As for uncle Uli, he played in the great Bayern team of the 1970s and won the 1972 UEFA European Football Championship and 1974 FIFA World Cup with Germany, before enjoying an acclaimed tenure as Bayern general manager and president.

What they’re saying

“For me, VfB is a special club," said Hoeneß, who represented the club as a youth player. "Even as a little boy, I sat here in the stadium and cheered for VfB. I also wore the coat of arms on my chest for three years as a youth player around 25 years ago and became German champion with VfB U17. For me, VfB means emotion – something very special." - an emotional Hoeneß after extending his deal at his boyhood club

"Sebastian puts his heart and soul into what we're doing at Stuttgart, and accepts the framework he's working in - no question. His appointment has been a real success." - VfB sporting director Fabian Wohlgemuth

"This development is sensational. Coach Sebastian Hoeneß and his team deserve the greatest respect for the fact that we won the third tier. More and more talent is knocking on the first team's door, our academy work is increasingly becoming a great source of young talent" - Bayern chairman Herbert Hainer

"What Sebastian Hoeneß and his team achieved is fantastic" - former Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on the reserve team's table-topping efforts