From Austria to Germany, how high can Klopp's prodigy go

          Just how good is Gladbach’s Marco Rose?

          2020/06/18 18:30
          By Connor Andrews

          When Sky Sports accidentally mistook Martin from Wakefield for Huddersfield’s incoming coach during a game against Manchester City at the start of last year, fans of the relegation threatened side quickly realised they might be in serious trouble.

          Their actual new manager, Jan Siewert, went on to record 12 losses from 15 games in his first top flight job in football, as his new side finished bottom of the league on a horrendous 16 points. And it didn’t go much better in the Championship either, the German was sacked after just four games this season with three defeats.

          37-year-old Siewert’s management career hit a giant stumbling block before it had even got started, but who could blame him, not turning down the riches of the Premier League after barely starting in management, Huddersfield were the ones whose decision making was in question.

          But they were just following a trend. Borussia Dortmund had become one of the new hotbeds for the next big thing in management, David Wagner and Daniel Farke had both promoted Championship sides after leaving the Dortmund junior team, and Siewert was next in line at an organisation that had brought Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel to the top of European football.

          But, as often happens in football, red follows yellow, with the new big German coaching talent pool emerging from energy drinks giant Red Bull, now stealing the spotlight from the Yellow Wall.

          ©Getty / picture alliance
          Everyone now knows Julian Nagelsmann is the stand-out up and coming coaching talent in world football after guiding his RB Leipzig side past former great Jose Mourinho with ease in the last round of the Champions League. His ability in turning faltering players into world beaters and constant tactical shifts are making even Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp look over their shoulders.

          Meanwhile Ralph Hasenhüttl remains incredibly highly rated after taking RB Leipzig to second place in their first ever Bundesliga season, while RB Salzburg’s extraordinary performances in this season’s Champions League under Jesse Marsch raised eyebrows everywhere.

          The list of high-end Red Bull developed coaches is endless, and now there’s a new name who’s well on course to heading to the top of the pile: Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Marco Rose.

          ©Getty / Maja Hitij

          While Rose might well be drawing comparisons to Nagelsmann with his recent energy drink related emergence, it’s the Dortmund links that began the story, or more accurately Mainz, with Rose signing on to play alongside fellow defender Jurgen Klopp in the second Bundesliga.

          Both he and Klopp not only grew a friendship, but a formidable understanding of the game. Upon Klopp’s retirement in 2001, he moved straight upstairs as head coach, and with Rose at the back, they gained a first ever promotion to the Bundesliga in 2004, where they then finished mid-table despite having the smallest budget and stadium in the division. 

          “I trust Marco in everything,” Klopp said about his former teammate and player.

          ©Getty / Alexander Heimann

          In his final year as a player, Rose once again gained promotion to the Bundesliga before retiring to work as their assistant manager alongside another soon to be big name, Thomas Tuchel, helping establish Mainz as a Bundesliga regular with a brand-spanking new stadium and bright future ahead.

          Rose took his first head coaching job in Leipzig, but with Lokomotive, not Red Bull. Nonetheless he still drew their attention, receiving an offer to join Salzburg’s youth set up in Austria, and after huge success in winning the 2016/17 UEFA Youth league against gargantuan academy sides in Manchester City, PSG and Barcelona, the fun was set to continue as he stepped up to the first team.

          Rose’s Salzburg were utterly dominant in Austria, achieving an eye-watering 2.34 points per game in the league as head coach, whilst his debut season saw an astonishing run to the semi-finals of the Europa League, knocking infinitely bigger sides in Real Sociedad, Borussia Dortmund and Lazio, before narrowly missing out on the final after an extra time loss to Marseille.

          Leipzig had a tough choice to make last summer and opted for Nagelsmann over their guy after his unprecedented heights with Hoffenheim. Gladbach were the beneficiaries though, and despite this Bundesliga season being all about Bayern Munich, the two bright new talents currently squabbling for Champions League below them might have an even bigger say next season.

          Rose’s Gladbach even led the Bundesliga for spells this season, and with investment this summer into the youth he’s fully utilized, they could hang around at the top for even longer.

          With a philosophy similar to that of Klopp, Rose’s young Borussia side have been unbearable to play against this season, not so much for his friend’s gegenpressing style, but the sheer speed in which they move the ball forward and co-ordinate attacks, more reminiscent of Klopp’s runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool.

          ©Getty /
          He’s turned slightly average German Bundesliga lifers, Jonas Hofmann and Patrick Herrmann, into constantly dangerous attacking outlets, while he’s helped front pair of Alassane Pléa and Marcus Thuram move to the top of a crowded list of top young French talent.

          Gladbach’s attempts to return to the Champions League eventually unravelled through a combination of injuries, inconsistency, and Bayer Leverkusen leapfrogging them into the top four with some incredible form in 2020, meaning Rose will have to wait for his place in the elite unless points are dropped elsewhere.

          However, Gladbach may be slightly relieved they’re set to shield their star man from the spotlight for another season, as big performances against English and Spanish sides in the Champions League are often what catches the eye of big clubs on the lookout, similar to how Nagelsmann cemented his status after ousting Tottenham in March, against the man who announced his arrival with a run down the Old Trafford touchline.

          Unlike Nagelsmann though, Rose learned something else in Mainz and Dortmund that always pays dividends for Klopp, that charm and charisma that can lead a fanbase. While Nagelsmann shows his age with some outrageous outfits and reactions, Rose keeps a steady keel as a calm and collected presence.

          The kind of presence that can set a lost club like pre-Klopp Liverpool back in the right direction, and with the likes of Barcelona, Juventus, and arguably still Manchester United and Arsenal looking rather rudderless, 2020/21 might not only be a huge season for the Bundesliga and Marco Rose in his continued rise to the top, but also for the sides looking for him to take them there.

          ©Getty / Bongarts

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