Sinsheim - 1899 Hoffenheim have turned to Markus Gisdol in a bid to prolong their five-year permanence in the Bundesliga, dropping the experienced approach of Marco Kurz and entering uncharted waters with the hitherto untested head coach.
Back to tradition
Gisdol is a familiar face in Sinsheim having coached the reserve team between 2009 and 2011. His close collaboration with former Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick led to him following his former peer to FC Schalke 04, where he also worked under his successor Huub Stevens before being relieved of his duties, along with the Dutchman, last December.
His appointment is also a return to the traditions and values that had accompanied Hoffenheim on their rise from the lower leagues into the top flight - the focus on developing youth and home-grown talent. That now applies to the man in charge as much as it does to the players with 43-year-old Gisdol given free rein to “rebuild a side for the remainder of this season and beyond”.
He becomes the club’s seventh coach in the past 27 months, the fourth this term alone, and he is empowered with the responsibility of ending a run of eight points from the last ten league matches and keeping the Baden-Württemberg side's Bundesliga status intact. Renowned for his tactical acumen which made him more than just the right-hand man for Rangnick and Stevens, Gisdol now calls the shots at a top-flight club for the first time.
Knows the Hoffenheim way
At Gisdol’s unveiling, 1899 chief executive Frank Briel referred to the need for the club to "start afresh, with someone who knows Hoffenheim and is familiar of what the club stands for.” Gisdol’s past connection to the Sinsheim club, it is hoped, will help bring about a speedy turnaround of the team’s fortunes. Trailing FC Augsburg in the relegation play-off place by four points with seven games remaining, the new man must hit the ground running.
Gisdol himself took a pragmatic approach to the challenge awaiting him, commenting: “We have a realistic chance of survival." It was also revealed that his contract will run continue to run should the club be relegated, and that a contingency plan is in place. “In the summer, we’ll leave no stone unturned in making changes to the club.”