Ralf Rangnick has hit the headlines this week, for two different reasons.
Firstly, the German has been hotly linked with the new Bayern Munich vacancy - a job he either rejected or was himself rejected, depending on what/who you believe.
Secondly, it’s been revealed - via The Athletic - that Man Utd executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward sent a member of his staff over to Germany to pick Rangnick’s brains.
The outlet reports that Woodward wants the scoop on Rangnick’s “experience in setting up the RB Leipzig academy and coaching network,” which has inevitably fueled rumours that he could become United’s new technical director/director of football, or even their manager should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer depart.
Many of you will be more than familiar with Rangnick’s managerial career and seismic impact on German football, but for those that aren’t as informed, here’s all you need to know about the 61-year-old.
Success in Germany
Where to start?
Across two separate spells, Rangnick led Schalke to German Cup, League Cup, and Super Cup glory, plus 2nd in the Bundesliga, and the Champions League semi-finals.
He also lifted the Intertoto Cup at the helm of VfB Stuttgart, stormed to the Bundesliga 2 title with Hannover 96, and in the space of three years propelled Hoffenheim from the third-tier to top-7 in the Bundesliga.
However, it’s his central role in RB Leipzig’s rapid surge up the league ladder that he’s best known for.
As Sporting Director he oversaw consecutive promotions up to Bundesliga 2, then as manager he soared the club into the top-tier, before reverting back to his Sporting Director duties as Leipzig finished 2nd under Ralph Hasenhuttl, and subsequently ventured into the Champions League.
He returned to the hot seat last season, finished 3rd in the league and took the club to their first DFB Cup final, ahead of the summer arrival of Julian Nagelsmann.
The Red Bull Franchise
It’s worth noting that Rangnick was also Sporting Director of Leipzig’s sister club, Australian outfit Salzburg, a role he held between 2012 and 2015 with the club crowned champions in 2014 and 2015.
More recently, he’s taken up a new position as head of sport and development at Red Bull.
He was interviewed for the England job
Many reacted in uproar back in 2016 when it was revealed that a German manager had bagged an interview for the England job following the departure of Roy Hodgson.
“Dan Ashworth [at the time the FA’s technical director] said that if it was up to him it [the England job] would be very realistic, but that there were some other people on the board who’d also have a say, and a few of them thought it should be an Englishman,” Rangnick previously told FourFourTwo.
“Of course, that’s normal. Three days after I went for the interview, they informed me that Sam Allardyce would be taking over as manager.”
Rangnick, who studied English and PE at the University of Sussex, was also offered the West Brom job when Hodgson left in 2012, but turned it down.
Style of management
“Tactics, fitness and rules are all hugely important, but they’re only a means to an end,” Rangnick told The Coaches’ Voice.
“My job - the job - is to improve players. Players follow you as a manager if they feel that you make them better. That’s the greatest, most sincere motivation there is.”
Rangnick is known for his incredible recruitment, finding and developing young talent including Timo Werner and Naby Keita, his ability to build clubs from within, and his impact and influence across all aspects of a club.
What’s he up to now?
As previously stated, Rangnick is currently head of sport and development at Red Bull, a position he took up in the summer.
“The 60-year-old will be active in a consultancy role in this position at the soccer locations of New York, Brazil and Leipzig,” a statement revealed at the time.
In the immediate aftermath of Niko Kovac’s departure from Bayern Munich on Sunday, Rangnick was installed as one of the early favourites in the betting, alongside the likes of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.
However, it’s since been reported that Rangnick has ruled himself out of the running, although The Athletic now claim that it was the club that wasn’t keen.
“Rangnick’s meticulous methods and willingness to leave no stone unturned in search of improvements also worked against him in the eyes of the board: they prefer a more compliant coach.”
What’s he said about Man Utd?
Rangnick’s success as a Sporting Director has inevitably attracted the interest of Man Utd who are keen to appoint a new technical director/director of football.
The German has also been linked with the manager’s job (4/1) at Old Trafford, should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lose his job, and last month he said:
“It’s always difficult to follow someone like Sir Alex Ferguson, who was so successful and in place for a long time – and that’s even harder if you are often changing coaches.
“With every coaching change, the identity changes and this is reflected in the sporting development.
“You can look at the money that team has had available in the last five years and say there has been an underperformance.”