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Laptop coaches: Meet the new generation of German managers

Thursday 10th May 2018

Beyond Bayern Munich’s tiresome domestic hegemony, there’s another trend in German. The new generation tacticians mounting severe onslaught on the Bundesliga dugouts.  The “laptop coaches" as they are known in Deutschland.

While many argue managers’ short shelf life may have given rise to the revolution, others reasons it is the ever-increasing level of competition and desire to succeed. Either way, clubs are more willing to take greater risks. Age, experience and exposure discarded for a modern approach.

Indeed enforced creation of youth academies has brought its own good fortunes. There's improvement in overall quality of emerging prospects across the board. So also with managers. And like youngsters being fast-tracked into the senior ranks, promising young bench custodians are promoted swiftly.

We take a look at five managers who are yet to reach their fourth decade who have gained attention this season.

Manuel Baum – Augsburg

Despite being around at WWK Arena since December 2016, Manuel Baum is still pretty much unknown outside Germany. Prior to his arrival, Augsburg was on a downward spiral, heading aimlessly to the drop. However, the 38-year-old steered the supposed sinking ship to 13th.

His magic has continued this term as the club look set to finish in the top half. Interestingly, Baum had no previous top-flight experience before joining Augsburg. Two years with the club’s youth team was all the education he acquired.

Florian Kohfeldt – Werder Bremen

Ten matches into the season, Werder Bremen were winless, rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga and primed for the drop. The River Islanders were simply flat in the final third – racking up a pitiful five strikes. Florian Kohfeldt was promoted from the reserves to try and salvage something.

Like Baum, he had no previous elite experience and spent just two years with the juniors. However, there’s been no trace of naivety since then. Bremen are certain of another year among the elites. More impressive, they’re unbeaten at Weserstadion.

Sandro Schwarz – Mainz 05

Mainz have displayed an unrivalled passion for young managers in recent time. Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel are the most famous exponents of this. So it was unsurprising when they sojourned familiar route for Sandro Schwarz in 2017.

Being born in the city and climbing through the club's ranks as player and coach, Schwarz was no stranger to the inner workings of the club. Although not very rosy, the 39-year-old has managed to drive the Carnival Club from wining and dining to the second-tier.  

Domenico Tedesco – Schalke 04

For the first time since 2014/15 Schalke will compete in the Champions League thanks to Tedesco. The 32-year-old achieved this extraordinary feat in only his first year in charge at the Veltins-Arena.

Under Tedesco, Schalke has developed an identity; modern, attacking football played at pace and with a high degree of tactical intelligence. And it was all done on a low budget.

Julian Nagelsmann – Hoffenheim

While Tedesco is obviously this season's breakout manager, Nagelsmann enjoyed similar success last term where Hoffenheim finished fourth. Not to say Die Kraichgauer have done woefully, however, Tedesco’s team has been a notch above.

The pair has some similarities, though. Both finished top of their class when they completed the football coaching course at the German football association (DFB) and flaunt fearless attractive style.

Toby Prince

If the sport has 11-men on each side, a ball and lasts for 90 minutes then I'll write about it. Simply put, I'm an unrepentant soccer freak that other freaks will, however, call a geek. I do find time for music when not watching the beautiful game, though and have been known to produce the odd track. 


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