Cologne - The eyes of the football world will be trained on Thomas Tuchel when he takes his place as Jürgen Klopp's successor at Borussia Dortmund at the start of the 2015/16 campaign.
Until then, allow bundesliga.com to help you get better acquainted with one of the most talented German coaches of his generation...
Born on 29 August 1973, Tuchel's first station on the road to becoming a professional footballer saw him join the youth team at local outfit TSV Krumbach. He later moved to FC Augsburg - at the time a fourth-tier side - before signing with Stuttgarter Kickers in 1992. After making just eight appearances in the second division, he dropped down a tier to join SSV Ulm for whom he would turn out 69 times, before hanging up his boots due to a chronic cartilage injury.
Tuchel was just 25 when he retired, but his appetite for the game had only been whetted. Taking inspiration from his time under Ralf Rangnick (l.) at Ulm, he began is own coaching career at VfB Stuttgart in charge of the Under-19s. Five years later, he returned to Augsburg for a three-year stint as youth team co-ordinator, before moving to Mainz and steering the U-19s to the German title in his first season at the helm. Despite having no prior first-team experience, he was appointed Jörn Andersen's successor in summer 2009.
In the coaching tenderfoot's debut season in the Bundesliga, Tuchel oversaw a respectable ninth-placed finish. He then kicked off his second campaign at the helm with seven successive wins, including a 2-1 victory away to record German champions FC Bayern München. Mainz earned a shot at the UEFA Europa League for the first time in the club's history after finishing fifth in 2011/12, only to be beaten over two legs by Romanian outfit Gaz Metan Medias in the third qualifying round.
Back-to-back 13th-placed finishes might have been unlucky for some, but by the end of 2013/14 Tuchel was once again the toast of Mainz after a 3-2 win over Hamburger SV on the final day of the season secured the Hessen club their place in Europa League qualifying. 24 hours later, however, the 2011 DFB Coach of the Year resigned from his post, opting not to see out the final year of his contract. Honouring the terms of his existing deal, he agreed to take a year-long sabbatical.
During his time at Mainz, Tuchel earned a reputation as one of German football's most tactically astute young coaches, regularly switching up formations according to the task in hand, whilst always staying faithful to his own unique fundamentals. "There's definitely a style that’s been attributed to me, that we brought to the table at Mainz: pace going forward and attack-minded football,” he told German newspaper die Zeit. "I prefer certain qualities, an active playing style, bold defending and pacy play in attack."
It goes without saying, Tuchel is the most successful coach in Mainz history. Indeed, the club averaged more points per game (1.41) than the man who took them into the Bundesliga for the very first time back in 2005/06 - Jürgen Klopp (1.13) - as well as his successor Kasper Hjulmand (1.05), who lasted less than a year in the job. The Nullfünfers also chalked up more wins than losses during his five-year stay (W65, L61), whilst scoring 229 goals in 170 outings in Germany's top flight.
Tuchel proved himself a smooth operator in the transfer market, too, bringing Adam Szalai in from the cold at Real Madrid CF and snapping up Lewis Holtby on loan from FC Schalke 04 - players that made up two parts of the legendary Bruchweg Boys alongside Andre Schürrle. The Krumbach native also lured the likes of Nicolai Müller, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Yunus Malli, Julian Baumgartlinger, Loris Karius, Johannes Geis and Shinji Okazaki to the Karnevalsverein.
After approaching a year on the sidelines, news broke on 19 April 2015 that Tuchel had been appointed Klopp's successor at Dortmund on a three-year deal. The careers of the two strategists overlapped for a time at Mainz, Klopp having been in charge of the first team during Tuchel's time with the U-19s, before vacating the hot seat to join BVB in 2008 - ending an 18-year association with the club as player and coach.
There are some striking similarities between Klopp and Tuchel, but it's from watching the work of FC Bayern München's Pep Guardiola that Tuchel appears to have derived particular benefit. "Outstanding, schematic use of the ball, brilliant individuals like Lionel Messi and top stars putting in the grittiest, most diligent defensive efforts I’ve ever seen," he recalled. "I learned everything about the game - especially during Guardiola’s time at Barcelona."
Tuchel, however, credits his former mentor at Stuttgart, Hermann Badstuber, as his greatest influence. "I've never known a coach to that's had so much expert knowledge while being such a creative thinker, to question himself so much, work so hard and yet remain so modest. He was a massive influence both personally and professionally. He became like a sporting father figure to me [...] His death was a great loss." Hermann, whose son Holger currently plays for Bayern, passed away in 2009, aged 53.