Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann tends to hog the headlines when it comes to talented young, German coaches in the Bundesliga, but Schalke’s Domenico Tedesco is hot on his heels.
The 32-year-old Schalke boss, only two years older than Nagelsmann, has quickly developed a reputation as another of the game’s brightest touchline talents. Last Friday evening, he watched his side dominate Mainz at the Veltins Arena and ease to a 2-0 win that took the Royal Blues back into the top four of the Bundesliga table – temporarily at least.
Germany international Leon Goretzka continued his excellent recent form by scoring for the third game in a row, before the indefatigable Guido Burgstaller was rewarded for another tireless display with a third goal of the season.
Mainz offered little in attack, but that had less to do with their own lack of threat than Schalke’s tight control of the game, facilitated once again by Tedesco’s clever use of tactics and personnel.
Watch: Inside Schalke's Tedesco Express
As he had done at Hertha Berlin on Matchday 8, he fielded two strikers, but in reality, Burgstaller, Franco Di Santo and Amine Harit made up a front three that put relentless pressure on Mainz’s three central defenders.
In support from attacking midfield came the in-form Goretzka, while Max Meyer looked assured in a deeper role and Bastian Oczipka and Daniel Caligiuri offered width. Schalke’s own three at the back made sure goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann was a spectator for much of the match.
Fährmann, whom Tedesco made club captain at the beginning of the season, was in awe of his coach’s abilities after the game. “He has a God-given gift [for coaching],” said the 29-year-old to Eurosport. “Sometimes you find people who can convince you of something when they tell or explain something to you. He’s got that gene from God.”
The 'keeper continued: “In a short space of time, he’s really announced himself as a coach. He has a brilliant knowledge of the game as well. He’s one of the most complex coaches I’ve ever come across.”
Tedesco took his coaching badges with Nagelsmann and, for now at least, can enjoy the sight of his team above Hoffenheim in the standings.
Whether that is the case after Nagelsmann’s charges visit Wolfsburg on Sunday evening remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: under Tedesco, Schalke are certainly heading in the right direction.