On Monday(29/11/21), Manchester United confirmed the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as their interim manager. There has been much speculation surrounding the type of formation and other tactics that Ralf is likely to use. Ralf has exclusively coached in Germany and has never been in charge of a top-tier European club. Hence, there is an element of mystery surrounding his achievements. We will take a look at Rangnick’s coaching career with a view of recognizing his efforts at not-so-rich clubs.
#5 Schalke 04 (2004-05)
Rangnick took over Hannover 96 in the summer of 2001 and instantly won them promotion to Bundesliga. In their second season in the Bundesliga, Hannover 96 were in a relegation battle and Rangnick was sacked. Schalke appointed him as their new manager in September 2004.
Under Rangnick, Schalke finished as runners-up in the Bundesliga to Bayern Munich and were also defeated by the Bavarians in the DFB-Pokal final. In the UEFA Cup, they progressed to the knockout rounds but were eliminated by Shaktar Donetsk. However in Rangnick’s second season, things did not quite go to plan and he was sacked mid-season.
#4 1899 Hoffenheim (2006-2011)
After years of hard work, Rangnick finally received due recognition for his efforts at Hoffenheim. Hoffenheim were playing in the Regional league in 2006 and won promotion to 2. Bundesliga under Rangnick. Then for the first time in their history, Hoffenheim played in the Bundesliga in 2008/09.
Rangnick’s relentless pressing philosophy became immensely popular throughout Germany during this period. He was quite dynamic when it came to formations but always liked his forwards to press as high as possible. Rangnick resigned midway through the 2010/11 season citing indifferences with the club’s transfers.
#3 Schalke 04 (2011)
Schalke welcomed back Rangnick with open arms in March 2011. Just weeks later, Schalke thrashed defending champions Inter Milan in the Champions League. They scored five goals at San Siro and captured everyone’s imagination with their style. In Rangnick’s coaching career , this was a memorable victory. However, they could not overcome Manchester United in the semi-final.
Schalke began the 2011/12 season by lifting the DFL Supercup after a shootout victory over Borussia Dortmund. After just 23 games as the manager, Rangnick resigned citing chronic fatigue as the reason. This was a real shame as everybody could sense that Rangnick was developing a great footballing unit.
#2 RB Leipzig (2015-2016)
Due to his health, Rangnick took on a sporting director role at Red Bull’s football properties in 2011 rather than a more hands-on job. But in 2015, he decided to take up the mantle of manager again after sacking Alexander Zorniger. In the 2015/16 season, Leipzig played exceptionally well in the 2. Bundesliga and were promoted.
Rangnick coached them for 36 games and won 21 of those ties. By the end of the season, he resigned as coach after announcing Ralph Hassenhuttl as his successor. He went back to his old job of sporting director, mainly overseeing RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg.
#1 RB Leipzig (2018-19)
Hassenhuttl’s Leipzig finished second in it’s first ever season in the Bundesliga and created history. However, the next season they failed to progress beyond the group stages of UCL and finished sixth in the Bundesliga. On the back of these results, Rangnick once again decided to coach Leipzig temporarily.
In the 2018/19 season, Leipzig finished third in the Bundesliga under Rangnick. In the DFB-Pokal, they went to the final where they lost to Bayern Munich. But in the Europa League they were disappointingly knocked out in the group stage itself.
Looking at Rangnick’s coaching career, it is clear that he is a master at gaining promotions with small clubs. However, only time will tell whether he can manage big egos and succeed at Manchester United.