Bundesliga club RB Leipzig have confirmed that Ralf Rangnick will take charge of first team affairs for the upcoming season.
He replaced Ralph Hasenhüttl, who left in May, and act as head coach until the arrival of Julian Nagelsmann at the club next summer.
He will be assisted by two men who had been tipped to take the role themselves – Jesse Marsch, who left New York Red Bulls last week, and Robert Klauß, formerly Leipzig’s under-19 coach.
No stranger to coaching
Despite being sporting director at the club since 2011 – a role held simultaneously with the same position at Red Bull Salzburg when the clubs were still ‘officially’ linked – it is not the first time he has also coached the side.
He had previously combined the two jobs in the 2015-16 season, leading the club from the 2. Bundesliga into the Bundesliga. He then handed reigns of the team to Hasenhüttl, who joined from FC Ingolstadt 04. The Austrian led them to second place in their first top-flight season, before a more modest sixth in the last campaign.
After the club refused to extend his contract, which had a year left to run, he stepped down at the end of the season. With Nagelsmann set to honour his contract at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim until he can activate a break clause in 2019, it left Leipzig needing a stop-gap head coach, for which Rangnick always seemed the most likely candidate.
He made his reputation as an innovative coach at SSV Ulm 1846 in the late 1990s, before taking roles with VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96, Schalke 04 (in two spells) and Hoffenheim, whom he also led into the Bundesliga in 2008. His work with those clubs as well as Leipzig even attracted the attention of the FA when the England job was vacant in 2016.
Rangnick given “best possible” support; targets Lookman return
“It was a decision we had to take time to think over,” admitted Rangnick at a press conference on Monday, with club president Oliver Mintzlaff saying that is was “the best solution to continue on our successor path.”
Rangnick confirmed that he will be “on the pitch for the training sessions,” with some of his office-based responsibilities being covered by others. He believed that he has the help of “the best possible coaching staff” in Marsch and Klauß.
Former USA international Marsch will not just be his assistant, as he has signed a two-year deal, meaning he will work alongside Nagelsmann as well. He led New York Red Bulls to the Major League Soccer Supporters’ Shield in 2015 as well as leading the club into three play-off campaigns. He left them second in the Eastern Conference.
Rangnick also confirmed that he was targeting three more signings for the club, including Ademola Lookman, who spent the second half of last season on loan with Leipzig from Everton. Leipzig have already signed Nordi Mukiele, Marcelo Saracchi and Matheus Cunha so far this summer.
Quotes via Bundesliga.