Lucien Favre was the most important new manager to BVB fans this summer, but he was joined by other new managers like Niko Kovac and Ralf Rangnick. Turnover in the Bundesliga between seasons is not unusual, but the names and nature of some turnover this summer certainly was. For this week’s From the Touchline, we will do something different. We will take a look at the new managers of returning Bundesliga clubs (besides BVB) and see what each’s biggest challenge is going into the season. After looking at these four men, a “successful” season has a vastly different meaning for each.
Let us start at the top with Niko Kovac, the man in the spotlight for the Bundesliga’s returning champions. Unable to convince Jupp Heynckes to extend his return, the Munich Board entrusted the brand to a coach with relatively little club managerial experience. That plus the fact that Bayern rarely hire their former players means Kovac will not only have to win matches but win over the media, Boardroom, and fans. Unlike a Heynckes who was a known commodity, Kovac has a track record of success but it is smaller and with just Frankfurt at the club level. His big challenge this season is can he live up to the hype. The last former Bayern player to manage the club? Jurgen Klinsmann.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is Ralf Rangnick, an absolute legend in German football. Rangnick had retired from managing to help run the Red Bull football experiment, but the odd Nagelsmann situation forced him back into the managerial ranks. Success for Rangnck is for this season competing for trophies while laying the groundwork for his immediate successor at Leipzig (Nagelsmann) as well as grooming his assistant for a future managerial position (Jessie Marsch). His track record suggests an eye on the present with a vision for the future is perfect for Rangnick, but it does not make the task any easier.
Speaking of Red Bull we turn to Adi Hutter. The Austrian manager has won 59% of his total matches managed and has worked his way up the ranks. While succeeding in the Austrian leagues with smaller clubs before finding success with Red Bull Salzburg, Hutter spent the past few seasons in Switzerland winning or drawing 81% of his matches. At 48 years-old, he has a chance to catch the eye of a large club, and with Frankfurt he has Kovac’s blueprint for success. However, we know success in the Bundesliga can be fleeting (unless your Bayern) so this is a chance to show his tactical acumen in a larger setting.
Tayfun Korkut, on the other hand, has good German football experience but few results to show for it. Most recently, the Stuttgart manager spent a few weeks at Leverkusen before being relieved of his duties in 2017. After a successful playing career he is well regarded in Germany and Turkey but can he find the same success on the sideline?
Lucien Favre’s keys to success this season seem daunting, but in some ways much more straightforward than his counterparts at Bayern, Leipzig, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart.