Though nicknamed 'Baby Mourinho' by Germany international Tim Wiese, the talents of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's new head coach, Julian Nagelsmann, are little known outside of Sinsheim.
The announcement that the 28-year-old has replaced Huub Stevens, and become the Bundesliga's youngest-ever coach in the process, had even the most well-informed football fans asking 'Julian who?' bundesliga.com provides some of the answers...
1) Injury heartache
Born in the Bavarian town of Landsberg am Lech, Nagelsmann played for TSV 1860 Munich's youth sides. While former team-mates Christian Träsch and Fabian Johnson went on to establish themselves in the Bundesliga, a knee injury sustained shortly after he had joined FC Augsburg cruelly ended Nagelsmann's ambitions of joining them, aged just 20. "At first, I didn't want anything more to do with football," Nagelsmann, a defender in his playing days, said. "It was very sad for me that I had to end my career so young."
2) Famous role models
Though Nagelsmann cites FC Bayern München coach Pep Guardiola as a source of inspiration, he acknowledges Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel (r.) has had the biggest influence on him. While Augsburg reserve team coach during the 2007/08 season, Tuchel gave Nagelsmann the task of scouting upcoming opponents. "That was my way into coaching," Nagelsmann explained. "I learned a lot from him."
3) Bundesliga know-how
When Markus Babbel left Hoffenheim in December 2012, Nagelsmann was asked to be part of interim coach Frank Kramer's staff, becoming the youngest-ever Bundesliga assistant coach at the age of 25. "When Frank Kramer called, I had to laugh. I didn't think he was being serious," said Nagelsmann, who stayed on in the role under Marco Kurz and Markus Gisdol as the club successfully fended off relegation during a turbulent 2012/13 campaign. "It was an extremely positive experience... I had never known sporting crises before that."
4) Under-19s success story
As surprising as Hoffenheim's decision may appear at face value, it is based on football's undeniable proof of ability: silverware. After taking charge of the Sinsheim club's U19 side, Nagelsmann led them to the national title in his first season and finished runners-up at the end of the 2014/15 campaign.
5) Statistical gold
Although Nagelsmann is the youngest permanent head coach in Bundesliga history, he is not the youngest ever to oversee a Bundesliga match. On 23 October 1976, Bernd Stöber (r.) took charge of 1. FC Saarbrücken in an interim capacity for their trip to 1. FC Köln, aged 24. Die Molschder lost the game 5-1.
6) High praise
Tuchel, for one, seems confident that the same fate will not befall Nagelsmann when he takes to a Bundesliga dugout for the first time against SV Werder Bremen this weekend. "He's a very inquisitive and very hardworking young coach," he said of his former Augsburg scout. "He has enjoyed exceptional successes in youth football. I'm very happy for him and I believe in him."
Unsurprisingly, there are shades of Tuchel, among others, in Nagelsmann’s rationale. "I like to attack the opponents near their own goal because your own way to the goal is not as long if you get the ball higher up," he said. "I like the way Villarreal play and they have a great way of coaching young players. I also like FC Barcelona and Arsenal as well as the work of Arsene Wenger." The appointment of Nagelsmann seems to hark back to the days of Ralf Rangnick's high-pressing style of football when Die Kraichgauer took the Bundesliga by storm and sat top at Christmas in their debut season (2008/09). Nagelsmann's philosophy is as much a nod to the past as it is to the future.
8) Waiting in the wings
Despite his lack of top-level experience, Nagelsmann has hardly been plucked from obscurity to perform a stop-gap job following Stevens' resignation on 10 February 2015 due to health reasons. In part down to his stellar work with the U-19s, he had already agreed a three-year deal to take charge of the club in summer 2016 as early as 28 October 2015.
9) Swotting for badges
Catapulted into the spotlight ahead of schedule, Nagelsmann will have to juggle the daily rigours of being a full-time Bundesliga head coach with his studies. The Landsberg am Lech native is due to complete his senior coaching license exams in March, but has been given the green light by the DFL and the DFB (the German Football Association) to take up the Hoffenheim reins pre-certification.
10) A perfectionist
There clearly are no doubts that Nagelsmann might choke in his finals. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Sports Science, and passed his A-licence coaching exams with top marks. "I know what to expect from him," Bremen head coach Viktor Skripnik (r.) told the media ahead of Saturday’s showdown. Perfection, by the sound of things.