They call the shots from the touchline and a team's success or failure ultimately rests squarely on their shoulders, but who are the head coaches joining Bayern Munich's Niko Kovac, Borussia Dortmund's Lucien Favre and Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann in the Bundesliga dugouts this season?
bundesliga.com has the lowdown.
Augsburg: Manuel Baum
Baum's whole career as a player and now as an emerging coach has all been within easy reach of his hometown, Landshut. A former teacher who merely planned on taking a three-year break from the classroom when he was appointed Augsburg's youth academy head coach in 2014, the 38-year-old's excellent man-management and tactical expertise mean he is unlikely to be returning to academic education any time soon.
Bayer Leverkusen: Heiko Herrlich
The 46-year-old flew somewhat under the radar last season, but that is not to say he should have. The former Germany international striker had only managed in the lower leagues prior to his appointment at Leverkusen in 2017/18, but he hit the ground running, instilling an eye-catching, attacking style of play to help a previously under-achieving Leverkusen side finish seven places and 14 points better off than in 2016/17. The fearsome weapons at his disposal this term could see the Werkself do some serious damage.
He led Croatia to 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification and guided Eintracht Frankfurt to DFB Cup glory last term, but 2018/19 will provide the 46-year-old with the fiercest test of his coaching credentials yet as he goes on the hunt for silverware in Munich. Kovac won the Bundesliga in 2002/03 in his second and final season as a player at Bayern, so is well aware of the expectations he now faces.
Watch: Kovac's top 5 goals
Back in the Bundesliga after almost three years away, the Swiss tactician will have Dortmund fans salivating at the prospect of what's to come, given his record at former clubs Hertha Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Known for his meticulous methods and ability to turn good players into outstanding ones - Marco Reus and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are two of his more famous alumni - BVB look to be a force to be reckoned with again this season.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Dieter Hecking
Rotten luck with injuries last season meant Gladbach finished in a disappointing ninth place. However, with a full squad to choose from this term, 53-year-old Hecking – who won the DFB Cup with Wolfsburg and was named Coach of the Year in 2015 – will be determined to squeeze out the full potential of his side and challenge for a top-four finish.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Adi Hütter
The 48-year-old has some big shoes to fill in replacing Kovac, but comes with qualifications to thrive having guided RB Salzburg to a league and cup double in 2014/15, as well as winning the Swiss championship with Young Boys Bern last season.
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Friedhelm Funkel
The Bundesliga's oldest statesman at 64, Funkel brought Düsseldorf back to the big time as Bundesliga 2 champions last season. The former midfielder holds the record for both most promotions (six) as coach and most relegations (eight) – a tally he will be eager to avoid adding to in 2018/19.
Freiburg: Christian Streich
The charismatic Black Forest native has been in his job longer than any of his current top-flight counterparts, having assumed control of first-team affairs on 29 December 2011. A disciplinarian with a knack of polishing raw youth team players into established pros, there is never a dull moment whenever Streich's around.
Hannover 96: Andre Breitenreiter
Things may not have gone as planned for him during his spell at Schalke in 2015/16, but Breitenreiter has since underlined his status as a coach of considerable substance. After taking charge of Hannover in March 2017, he won promotion to the Bundesliga just a couple of months later, before finishing a comfortable six points above the relegation zone in 2017/18. He was recently rewarded for his good work with a new contract, keeping him at the club until June 2021.
Hertha Berlin: Pal Dardai
The Hungarian is the second-longest serving coach currently in the Bundesliga, having taken over in the German capital on 5 February 2015. Over the last few seasons his teams have been a tough nut to crack on home turf, but have struggled with inconsistency away from home, a shortcoming Dardai will look to remedy as Hertha seek to improve on their 10th-place finish in 2017/18.
Now going into his third full season at the club, the Bundesliga's youngest-ever head coach [he was 28 when he took charge in February 2016] will look to bow out on a high note ahead of joining RB Leipzig next season. He has driven Hoffenheim to fourth and third-place finishes over the last two campaigns, but with the club having qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time ever, this promises to be the most challenging season for him yet.
Rangnick shot to fame just over a decade ago when he guided Hoffenheim to back-to-back promotions and into the Bundesliga for the first time ever. He had a successful spell in charge of Schalke too – winning the 2011 DFB Cup – but has mainly operated as a sporting director in recent years. He will come out of the shadows this season, though, keeping the seat warm for the incoming Nagelsmann, and will no doubt endeavour to ensure a return to the Champions League.
Mainz: Sandro Schwarz
The 39-year-old has followed a well-trodden path at Mainz, earning promotion to first-team coach after stints in charge of the club's youth teams and reserves. Schwarz's debut Bundesliga season was a tough one in 2017/18, but he still steered the side clear of relegation and will be aiming to do the same this time around too.
Nuremberg: Michael Köllner
With the Nurember struggling and looking over their shoulder at the Bundesliga 2 relegation zone in 2016/17, Köllner stepped in as caretaker coach for the last few games of the season. His calm and meticulous approach impressed the club's management board, who handed him the role full time in 2017/18. After earning promotion as runners-up to Düsseldorf, this is the 48-year-old's first taste of the Bundesliga.
A rising star in Germany, several eyebrows were raised at the 32-year-old's appointment at the start of 2017/18, even if he had saved second-tier Aue from relegation the previous year in just 11 games at the helm. However, after steering the Royal Blues to second place in the Bundesliga last term, any doubts about Tedesco's ability have been firmly put to bed – so much so that Schalke are now even quietly being tipped as title challengers this season.
Domenico Tedesco led @s04 to a 2nd place finish in his 1st full season and back into the #UCL. 👏Die Knappen fans, can he lead the club to glory?? 🤔 . . . #S04 #Schalke #Schalke04 #Gelsenkirchen #veltinsarena #königsblau #Bundesliga #Football #Soccer #Germany #fussball #futbol #goals #lovefootball #thebeautifulgame
VfB Stuttgart: Tayfun Korkut
Ill-fated spells holding the reins at Hannover 96 and Bayer Leverkusen did not deter Stuttgart from appointing Korkut in January 2018 – and their faith in the 44-year-old has been richly rewarded. Floundering near the relegation zone when he took over, Stuttgart subsequently charged up the standings, winning 31 points in 14 games to finish seventh. To put that into context, only Bayern won more points (34) over the same period. A repeat of that kind of form over a full season could make things very interesting in the top half of the table.
Werder Bremen: Florian Kohfeldt
Another of the younger generation of tacticians making a name for themselves in Germany's top flight, the 35-year-old was promoted from coaching the reserves in October 2017 and, heading into the 2018/19 season, Bremen are yet to lose a single game on home turf under him.
"Come at me bro!"— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) 27 February 2018
Werder have still never lost a home game under Florian Kohfeldt 🏰 pic.twitter.com/lOJ9iFOQEn
Wolfsburg: Bruno Labbadia
The 52-year-old was Wolfsburg's third head coach in 2017/18 and successfully saved the club from relegation, albeit via a two-legged play-off tie against Holstein Kiel. With a full pre-season to work with his squad , which is filled with experienced internationals, Labbadia will want to finish considerably higher in 2018/19.