'You don't have a ready-made team' - Bayern boss Nagelsmann reflects on Hoffenheim tenure

By Sports Desk March 11, 2022

Julian Nagelsmann acknowledged the differing challenges between his current Bayern Munich role and former club Hoffenheim ahead of his return on Saturday.

Nagelsmann became the youngest Bundesliga head coach in history when he took charge of Hoffenheim in February 2016, before guiding them to their first-ever Champions League qualification the next season.

The 34-year-old managed 116 top-flight games at the Hoffenheim helm, more than any other coach in the club's history, before his departure to RB Leipzig in 2019.

He averaged 1.65 points per game in the league during his tenure - the best points average of any Hoffenheim boss in Bundesliga history - with his successor, and current head coach, Sebastian Hoeness ranking second (1.46).

Hoeness' side sit fourth in the league this term and are looking to equal a club record with a fifth straight top-flight victory, while they are also on the current longest winning run in the Bundesliga (four).

Hoffenheim have also collected three wins in their last five league home games against Bayern - in the first eight, they had remained winless (D3 L5) - but despite the challenge Nagelsmann is looking forward to his return.

"Of course, when you grow up in a club and take your first steps, you have formative moments there," he told reporters on Friday when asked about his memories of Hoffenheim. 

"As a Bayern coach, you're more a manager than a coach. Maybe that's not the case in Hoffenheim because you have to train the players a bit more there.

"You don't have a ready-made team there, you have to develop them. Of course, I miss [Hoffenheim director of football] Alexander Rosen too, we have a very good relationship.

"The Heidelberg area is the only region I can imagine living in long term - next to Munich.

"Hopefully the whistling [at the PreZero Arena] is over, that would certainly have been louder a few weeks after my departure. I'm looking forward to it, also because fans are here for the first time."

 

Nagelsmann, whose side sit nine points clear at the Bundesliga summit, also detailed his relationship with his successor Hoeness as he heaped praise on Hoffenheim's recent form.

"They have won their last four matches and are strong in a number of different rankings as well," he added. "They tried to play a lot of balls behind our backline earlier this season, so we will need to be prepared for that.

"[Hoeness] is doing very, very well. He's both a good coach and a good guy. We talk on the phone from time to time.

"He's one of those colleagues with whom you can exchange ideas and not shy away from exchanging ideas about content. I'm really happy for him about the current situation."

Manuel Neuer returned in midweek for the 7-1 crushing of Salzburg in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash, but Nagelsmann remains without the injured Corentin Tolisso, Leon Goretzka and Alphonso Davies for the next league fixture.

However, he will be able to call upon Jamal Musiala once more in the middle and the Bayern boss has been impressed with the youngster's development.

"He's developing very well and becoming more consistent and reliable," Nagelsmann said of Musiala. 

"We know that he's a very talented attacker. He's extremely important to us, and we are glad to have him here."

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