Cologne - He's the man that guided SC Paderborn 07 into Germany's top flight for the first time in their history, but what else do you know about FC Schalke 04's new head coach Andre Breitenreiter?
bundesliga.com takes a look back at the ambitious 41-year-old's whirlwind career so far...
Born in 1973 in Langenhagen, Lower Saxony, Breitenreiter played for a range of Hanover-based clubs before joining Hannover 96 as a 13 year old. Just four years later, the ambitious attacker made his debut for the then Bundesliga 2 outfit in the DFB Cup.
Breitenreiter’s debut season in Hannover colours ended on a high as the 96ers, against all the odds, won the 1991/92 DFB Cup. Breitenreiter made three appearances and even scored the goal that knocked favourites Borussia Dortmund - coached by Ottmar Hitzfeld at the time - out of the competition in the third round.
It wasn’t just his performances in the DFB Cup that made other sides stand up and take note. In the early 1990s, the budding Germany international featured at every youth level from the Under-16s upwards, before sealing a move to Bundesliga giants Hamburger SV in 1994.
Breitenreiter’s Bundesliga debut in a HSV shirt will live long in the memory. Just 15 minutes into the North-South derby with FC Bayern München, he put on the afterburners, left Lothar Matthäus red faced with an audacious nutmeg and kept his head to fire beyond none other than the great Oliver Kahn.
Beset by injury
Despite that promising start, his playing career hit the skids just days later when he suffered a broken jaw in training. He spent months on the sidelines, and was never quite the same player again. One injury setback after the other followed, with Breitenreiter leaving Hamburg for VfL Wolfsburg in 1997 and moving on again to promoted side SpVgg Unterhaching two years later.
Unterhaching’s leading Bundesliga goalscorer with 15 goals in 49 games, Breitenreiter is perhaps best remembered for netting the opener - at present club Schalke - in an eventual 5-3 defeat on the final day of the 2000-01 season, when Schalke were pipped to the title by FC Bayern München in the final seconds of the campaign.
Breitenreiter spent the tail-end of his playing career at lower league clubs such as SC Langenhagen, Hessen Kassel, BV Cloppenburg and Holstein Kiel. He made his final appearances in the colours of Oberliga side TSV Havelse, before eventually hanging up his boots in 2010.
Seal of approval
Breitenreiter resumed his career as a scout for 1. FC Kaiserslautern. In 2011, former club TSV Havelse offered him the position of head coach, which he snapped up without hesitation. It wasn’t until 2013, however, that he received his coaching badges, graduating as third best student in his year group.
Just as he had as a player, Breitenreiter hit the ground running behind the wheel at Havelse. The Lower Saxony outfit had a seven-point deduction to make up at the foot of the Regionalliga Nord when he came in, but they managed to survive and even finished fifth a year later, as well as qualifying for the 2012/13 DFB Pokal by virtue of lifting the Niedersachsenpokal. After adding 1. FC Nürnberg’s name to the scrapheap in the first round, Breitenreiter’s stock went through the roof.
Piece of history
Seeking a new challenge, Breitenreiter moved to Paderborn, where he enjoyed unprecedented success, winning promotion to the Bundesliga at the first attempt. Despite topping the table at one point in 2014/15, however, the club's maiden top-flight voyage ended in relegation to the second tier on the final day.