Julian Nagelsmann, 28, to take charge of Hoffenheim next year
He will become Bundesliga's youngest ever coach
German has yet to pass his senior coaching exams
Whether or not in homage to legendary Manchester United manager Matt Busby’s idea that “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough,” a German soccer club has taken the bold step of appointing a coach who is just 28 years old.
Next summer Julian Nagelsmann will become the German Bundesliga’s youngest ever coach when he takes charge of the team, despite having yet to even pass his senior coaching exams. He doesn’t turn 29 until July 23.
Hoffenheim, which sits 17th in the Bundesliga table, confirmed that Nagelsmann will remain as manager of the club’s Under-19 side until June 2016, before succeeding Huub Stevens – a man 33 years his senior.
Stevens replaced the sacked Markus Gisdol as Hoffenheim boss on a one-year deal Monday.
“We know this is a courageous step but we see in (Nagelsmann) such a huge coaching talent that we want to give him a chance,” Hoffenheim sports director Alexander Rosen said in a statement.
Hoffenheim gained promotion to Germany’s top division in 2008 and is owned by billionaire Dietmar Hopp, who is one of the founders of German software corporation SAP AG.
The 75-year-old has overseen Hoffenheim’s promotion from the eighth tier of German football to the Bundesliga and also funded the construction of the club’s 30,000-seater Rhein-Neckar Arena – which opened in January 2009.
Described by one Hoffenheim insider – who preferred not to be named – as “one of the biggest coaching talents ever in German football,” Nagelsman will be younger than four of the current Hoffenheim squad when he takes over.
The youngest coach to win a Bundesliga title is former Germany international Matthias Sammer, who was 34 when he guided Borussia Dortmund to the championship in the 2001-02 season. He was appointed in July 2000, aged 32.
“I am looking forward to a very tempting task and I would like to thank everybody for the trust and the opportunity given to me,” said Nagelsmann, who has been handed a three-year contract.
Nagelsmann has guided Hoffenheim’s Under-19 side to the final of the German championship in both of the last two seasons, winning the trophy in 2014, while he was also the first team’s assistant coach during the 2012-13 campaign.
Given Alex Ferguson had 39 years of managerial experience under his belt by the time he retired, Hoffenheim’s next boss will still be a sprightly 67 if he manages to emulate the former Manchester United manager’s longevity in the sport.