After his sudden dismissal from Bayern Munich at the end of March, 36-year-old Julian Nagelsmann has the opportunity to polish his image in Europe as one of the most talented managers, after being appointed coach of the wounded Germany 9 months before hosting the 2024 European Cup.
The sacked coach from Bayern 6 months ago officially became the second youngest coach in the history of the German national team after Otto Nirtz (34 years old) in 1926, while the "Manchaft" is trying to regain its balance after the disappointment of exiting the group stage at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Following in the footsteps of Jurgen Klopp, who regained Liverpool's achievements, Nagelsmann suffered his first failures last season after being sidelined as Bayern manager during the crucial weeks of the season.
Nagelsmann (left) when he was coach of Hoffenheim with his role model Jürgen Klopp (Reuters)
In the Alps, where he was enjoying his holiday during the international break, he learned from the newspapers about the decision of CEO Oliver Kahn and Bosnian sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić.
For the native of Landsberg am Lech 60 kilometres from Bayern's headquarters, the coaching of the most successful team in German history has turned into a nightmare.
In an interview with Die Welt am Sonntag on March 18, he said: "Before I arrived, I imagined all the things that could happen as Bayern coach. There's one thing you can't prepare for: how white or black are things going on?"
Nagelsmann (centre) with DFB officials after taking over as national team coach (Getty Images)
Tuchel behind the release of his talent
On a Sunday at the end of winter, Bayern lost at home to Leverkusen (1-2), and without his knowledge it was Nagelsmann's last game at the helm of the Bavarian side.
Record-holder Recordmeister spent between €20 million and €25 million to snatch the coach from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2021, in order to sign him for five years to replace recently sacked Hansie Flick from the German national team.
While still linked with Bayern, the club appointed Thomas Tuchel, the former PSG coach, in his place, the latter having launched his coaching career in 2008.
After a serious knee injury at the age of 20, when he was a tall centre-back (1.90m) with Augsburg reserves, Nagelsmann accepted his then-coach's suggestion to keep an eye on opponents.
His coaching career has seen a meteoric rise. At an age when some players have not reached the peak of their careers, he has broken records for early starts among coaches in Europe.
In February 2016, after Dutch coach Hope Stevens left due to heart problems, he was appointed coach of Hoffenheim and at the age of 28 became the youngest coach in the top flight in a major European tournament.
The club was teetering in the penultimate place in the Bundesliga, and Nagelsmann narrowly saved them and kept them in the top flight.
Two and a half years later, after finishing third in the Bundesliga, he oversaw the team's first Champions League game at the age of 31 at Hoffenheim.
In August 2020 in Lisbon, a year after moving to Leipzig, he came off the bench for a Champions League semi-final match just days after his 33rd birthday.
Nagelsmann leads a Bayern Munich training session (Reuters)
Acquisition and change of rhythm
In mid-March, he summed up his philosophy of play while presenting his coaching thesis of "controlling the game through possession and changing the tempo."
Under Bayern's colours, he did not lose his temper in front of the media: "I'm not an actor. You ask me questions and I answer. Simply because I don't want to play any role at all."
Before moving to Leverkusen, he talked about snitch inside the dressing rooms, after the media revealed his tactical plans.
On the pitch, he showed his "muscles". He expressed his anger at a referee in mid-February, before quickly apologizing. He was fined €50,<> by the German federation.
His relationship was sometimes tense with some of the team's officials, even if Joshua Kimmich, one of his most prominent defenders, confirmed that the coach did not lose the confidence of the dressing rooms, contrary to what was later explained by Kahn and Salihamidzic, knowing that he lost only 3 games out of 37 with Bayern.
He won the 2021-2022 Bundesliga title with Bayern, but was eliminated from the Champions League by Villarreal in the quarter-finals.