Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Julian Nagelsmann ahead of the English Premier League champions’ meeting with Hoffenheim in the UEFA Champions League next Tuesday.
Guardiola won three Bundesliga titles back-to-back during his time as head coach of Bayern Munich, with Nagelsmann becoming the league’s youngest ever coach midway through the Catalan’s final season in Germany.
Guardiola and Nagelsmann never went head-to-head – the former leaving Bavaria in the summer of 2016, three months before a then 29-year-old Nagelsmann oversaw a 1-1 draw for Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena – but the City manager has a good idea of what to expect on Tuesday.
“I’m really, really impressed [with Nagelsmann]. Taking over Hoffenheim in such a bad situation so young. He will have a lot of success in his career. He’s already at a good team in a top competition. It’s the first time we meet, but hopefully it won’t be the last.”
Watch: bundesliga.com met Nagelsmann ahead of Hoffenheim's first assault on Europe last year
“Footballers are good all over the world,” he told Real Madrid legend Jorge Valdano on Spanish television. “There are nuances, though. In Germany there are more long drives into space and passes played into that space rather than to a players’ feet.
“But there are young coaches who have come through like Julian Nagelsmann or Thomas Tuchel, who, if they coached in Spain, you’d think they were Spanish.”
The first Champions League meeting between City and Hoffenheim will take place at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena, before the return fixture at the Etihad Stadium in December. Guardiola is expecting a vibrant atmosphere on Tuesday.
“[The Bundesliga] is a very well organised league with amazing stadiums which are always full. There is a culture of travelling support. When you arrive at the stadium, you see Bayern and Dortmund shirts all together. The clubs encourage parents to take their children to the stadium with affordable prices. There is loyalty to the fans.”