Coach Whisperer: So it goes on with Klopp and Nagelsmann
Exclusively Munich – Marc Kosicke advises Jürgen Klopp, Julian Nagelsmann and other German top trainers. In the SPORT1 interview, he explains how things are going on with his clients.
He is the man the coaches trust and has made a name for himself as a coach consultant.
In addition to Jürgen Klopp from FC Liverpool, the Bremen-born coach currently looks after five coaches from the Bundesliga. His clients include Hoffenheim’s coach Julian Nagelsmann, David Wagner from Huddersfield Town and Augsburg’s Manuel Baum.
Since FC Bayern is still looking for a coach for the coming season after Thomas Tuchel’s cancellation, the names of Kosicke’s most prominent clients are of course also mentioned time and again.
In the first part of the SPORT1 interview, Kosicke explains what his protégés’ plans for the future look like, what is so special about working with coaches and what talent Klopp has that is hard to learn.
SPORT1: Mr. Kosicke, how often do you have contact with your coaches?
Marc Kosicke: Completely different. Usually when it’s important. The trainers have little time for small talk.
SPORT1: What is the secret of your success?
Kosicke: What is success? My greatest success is working every day with people I like, like me and trust me. I don’t get my hopes up, I won’t tell anyone’You coach Real Madrid. And I also say to young trainers:’Eyes open when choosing a career’. When one of my three sons wants to be a coach, I’d say,’Think it through, it’s a tough job and every failure is publicly exploited,’ I’ve led large teams during my time at Nike and have a passion for leadership. The trainer’s field of activity has changed a lot. In the past, the coach was the one who stood on the pitch and exaggerated: “today old against young”. Today, trainers have to lead entire departments of specialists, physiotherapists, nutrition consultants, doctors and co-trainers. And press work has become much more intensive through the Internet and social media. And in this constellation, it gives me a lot of pleasure to be a feedback provider with an external perspective for the trainers.
SPORT1: How do you see the development of Julian Nagelsmann? He has been a professional trainer for two years now. In the beginning he was the comet trainer or boy wonder. Then came the first crisis.
Kosicke: The spirits he called out for are now being punished. At that time, Julian Nagelsmann was made head coach in great hope so that TSG Hoffenheim would not relegate. Then he saved the club sensationally and took fourth place next year, qualifying TSG for the international competition for the first time in its history. And he got players from other clubs that weren’t so good there, but that he did better. Now he has lost many of these players like Süle, Rudy, Wagner, soon Uth. FC Bayern bought three of these players. That’s a big one. This season is a huge success simply because of the double burden of international competition.
SPORT1: How has he changed in the two years?
Kosicke: In a normal frame. Julian has become a bit more cautious through experience. In the beginning he was like such a young dog on the meadow. And suddenly he realized he was leading a life under the magnifying glass. He’s grown up. The fact that he is now not described every day as a child prodigy actually makes it easier for him.
SPORT1: How concrete has Bavaria been for him so far?
Kosicke: Not at all concrete.
SPORT1: But for a while he was always called the new Bayern coach.
Kosicke: Yes, it was always a topic that was mentioned outside Hoffenheim and Munich. Neither Bavaria asked Hoffenheim nor Julian Nagelsmann asked Bavaria. They inquire, make sense of him. But that happens with many coaches, it’s just part of it. Julian also has a contract. He has only been a Bundesliga coach for two years and is very good at assessing that. It’s nice that his work is appreciated. I firmly believe that he will train Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund or Arsenal at some point, but not yet. He feels very comfortable in Hoffenheim. Now you have to see what happens next. The club also puts a backpack on it, of course, by selling good players. So according to the motto:’The Nagelsmann makes something out of the next troupe’ One has to consider whether this will work in the long run.
SPORT1: Dietmar Hopp doesn’t open the box either and gets good players. Are you abandoning Nagelsmann?
Kosicke: I don’t know if they’ll let him down, but let’s see what comes out in the end.
SPORT1: How long should he stay in Hoffenheim?
Kosicke: To summer 2019.
SPORT1: Would foreign countries also be an issue after that?
Kosicke: Why not? Life is dynamic. Perhaps he will stay even longer in Hoffenheim, because he likes it there, because he has built something up. It always depends on the constellation and the momentum. Is the club looking for a trainer it would fit? I wouldn’t rule out a break after Hoffenheim either. That he says to himself,’I know I’m good, I’ll get another job someday, but now I’m looking a little beyond my own nose.'”
SPORT1: And what do you feel?
Kosicke: My feeling is that he definitely fits a top club in Germany.
SPORT1: Your best buddy is Jürgen Klopp, why does it work so well for him at Liverpool FC?
Kosicke: Good question. I think Jürgen simply has an idea of football and the owners of the club have said right from the start that this one idea takes time. And Jürgen has an unbelievably good knowledge of human nature and knows which players fit in, not only in terms of their abilities, but also in terms of their character. Aki Watzke (Hans-Joachim Watzke, Managing Director of Borussia Dortmund, Note. d. Red) once said that there are many good coaches for a team, but if you need a coach who can pull a whole club and an entire city, then that’s Jürgen Klopp. You can’t learn that either, he just did.
SPORT1: Can you describe that?
Kosicke: Jürgen manages to convince everyone of his idea and invites everyone to join in. And this is connected with hard work, a lot of passion and also with setbacks that one has to endure. He has this extraordinary ability to always keep everyone’s energy levels high. The biggest thing about it is that he’s always’The Normal One’. When we are together, we talk about the most normal things in the world, watch series and play table tennis. We both studied sports and occasionally pinch each other. He is simply grateful for the life that he now leads and that he can always be Jürgen Klopp. Also as a trainer. He doesn’t feel so much pressure because he remains true to himself.
SPORT1: Again, the question. Has he changed in Liverpool?
Kosicke: He speaks much better English (laughs). No, seriously, he hasn’t changed at all. His life has changed. In the past, he was able to travel to the USA as a successful German coach. Or Mexico. Now everyone there knows him. I noticed that when he visited me in South Africa. Liverpool is simply a global brand. Everyone recognizes him, even with a cap. He’s not the smallest, either. That’s a bit of a pity. Jürgen can no longer move so freely. And that’s probably why he prefers to be at home with his wife and sons.
SPORT1: Is Bavaria the next address for Jürgen Klopp or is that out of the question?
Kosicke: You have to say, Bavaria was once a topic, because Jürgen knows Uli Hoeneß very well. But it was never the right moment, never became concrete. At that time Franz Beckenbauer was still President, in 2006 Jürgen was on stage with him as a TV expert. They still get along and have contact. But Jürgen can end his career as a coach sometime, even without having coached FC Bayern.
SPORT1: Will he be in Liverpool much longer?
Kosicke: He has a contract until 2022. And I don’t think the road isn’t over yet. But there are always several factors involved. What you shouldn’t underestimate when you move to England is the lack of winter break. This shortens the lifetime. In the time when the German coach or the German player celebrates Christmas, flies into the sun, comes back, starts working again, flies back into the sun for the training camp. That is about four weeks and during this time there are 13 games in England and no Christmas Eve. Christmas goes to the hotel, Boxing Day, cool culture, but 13 games at three degrees, wind and drizzle, no break. As I said. Life is dynamic.
SPORT1: Is this impression deceptive or is a Jürgen Klopp now too big for FC Bayern?
Kosicke: No, that’s nonsense. No coach in the world is bigger than any club. In general, the club is getting bigger and bigger. Jürgen is not too big for Bayern Munich or Bayern Munich too big for him, he could do that very well. Bavaria and Klopp – that would be fine. But it’s not something that’s on the agenda right now.
SPORT1: Would Bavaria irritate him at all?
Kosicke: We haven’t talked about whether that excites him now. But training one of Europe’s biggest clubs is not something that isn’t appealing. Everything has to be right, it has to fit. Bavaria is looking for a coach for summer, but Jürgen still has a long contract. Jürgen is currently not worried about training any other club than the Reds.
SPORT1: And he’ll fulfill his contract in Liverpool?
Kosicke: I assume so.
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