Manchester United would have chosen Ralf Rangnick to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjær on the bench and the arrival of such a Bavarian strategist could be the Red Devils’ best decision in recent years, as he is recognized as the master of some of the best coaches today.
Ralf was born in June 1958 in Backnang,Baden-Württemberg, Germany. His career in football began by training as a player in the youth categories of Stuttgart and it would be in 1979 when he had the opportunity to play at a professional level with Southwick of England. In the 1980/81 season, Rangnick returned to Germany to play for VfR Heilbronn.
In the following years, Ralf, according to Transfermarkt, combined coaching with playing for various Bavarian football clubs and decided to end his career as a professional footballer in 1988 after a season with Lippoldsweiler.
At the end of his time as a player, Rangnick took the reins of SC Korb and in the summer of 1990, he would take charge of the Under-19 of Stuttgart,a club that would appoint him Coordinator of the Quarry in 1994.
In 1995, Ralf would take on his first challenge as a coach when he was hired by SSV Reutlingen, a squad in which he spent only one year, and in 1999, after a two-year stint at Ulm 1846, Rangnick returned to Stuttgart to fill the role of coach.
Between 2001 and 2005, the Teutonic managed Hannover and FC Schalke 04. In 2006, Hoffenheim signed Ralf, who at the head of this squad would captivate the fans of Germany thanks to his style of play. Hoffenheim was in the second division when Ralf came to the bench and the strategist took them to the Bundesliga.
One of rangnick’s main fans is Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool manager and who is considered one of the best coaches in the Old Continent after winning the Champions League and the Premier League with the Reds.
In an interview with the newspaper El País in 2020, Ralf recalled a match he held against Klopp’s Dortmund and pointed out that Jurgen managed to win the German First Division by taking his Hoffenheimas as a reference.
“On the fifth day of the 2008/09 season, after promotion to Primera, we defeated Dortmund 4-1. We took them off the field. Klopp, who was Dortmund’s manager, wrote a message to fans on the program for the next match at the Westfalenstadion: ‘The way Hoffenheim pressured us last Saturday should be our point of reference; we must develop Dortmund to play like Hoffenheim.” After that, Dortmund won two Bundesliga in a row. At Liverpool he has taken the model to another level,” he said.
In 2012, Salzburg hired Ralf as their Sporting Director and in 2015 he would move to Leipzig, a squad that belongs to the same group as Salzburg. The German turned Leipzig into a leading team in the Bundesliga and even a contender in the Champions League.
On his philosophy of play, Rangnick, who is considered the father of pressure after loss, known as “gegenpressing”, told the newspaper El País that a team that wants to be in the elite must work at least five different aspects.
“There are five sections in which you must be excellent if you intend to compete at the highest level. First, what do you do to build the play when you want to have possession. To me it’s obvious. If you want to score a goal you need speed, feints that accelerate the action, and verticality. If you don’t have that, you can have 80% of the possession, but you won’t score. Number two: what do you do if the other team has the ball. How, where, and at what height you press. Thirdly and fourthly, work on transitions. What do you want your team to do at the time of recovery and what do you want it to do in the instant after the loss? Those two situations need to be trained in-depth. And fifthly, the set-piece plays,” he said.
In 2019, Rangnick was appointed Red Bull’s Global Head of Sport, a position he left in 2020. A few months ago, the Teuton became the Director-General of Sport and Communication of Lokomotiv Moscow.
Among Ralf’s best pupils are Jürgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, and Julian Nagelsmann, who are in charge of Liverpool, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich, respectively. On Rangnick and his arrival at Old Trafford, Klopp called his arrival “bad news” for the rest of the Premier League clubs.
“Ralf is a very experienced coach. He made two teams appear out of nowhere and become threats in Germany, with Hoffenheim and Leipzig. United will be a very organized team on the pitch, we will have to deal with it. It’s not good news for the rest of the clubs. He is very well regarded in Germany, precisely,” he said Friday at a press conference.
Manchester United would be excited to sign Mauricio Pochettino next summer, but Ralf Rangnick could be the best decision for the present and future of the Red Devils.