Ralf Rangnick

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Ralf Rangnick
2019-03-30 Fußball, Männer, 1. Bundesliga, RB Leipzig - Hertha BSC StP 3875 LR10 by Stepro.jpg
Rangnick as RB Leipzig coach in 2019
Personal information
Date of birth (1958-06-29) 29 June 1958 (age 62)
Place of birth Backnang, West Germany
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Position(s) Defensive midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1976–1979 VfB Stuttgart II
1979–1980 Southwick
1980–1982 VfR Heilbronn 66 (6)
1982–1983 Ulm 1846 32 (0)
1983–1985 FC Viktoria Backnang
1987–1988 TSV Lippoldsweiler
Teams managed
1983–1985 FC Viktoria Backnang
1985–1987 VfB Stuttgart II
1987–1988 TSV Lippoldsweiler
1988–1990 SC Korb
1990–1994 VfB Stuttgart (Under 19)
1995–1997 Reutlingen 05
1997–1999 Ulm 1846
1999–2001 VfB Stuttgart
2001–2004 Hannover 96
2004–2005 Schalke 04
2006–2011 1899 Hoffenheim
2011 Schalke 04
2015–2016 RB Leipzig
2018–2019 RB Leipzig
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Ralf Rangnick (German: [ralf raŋnɪk]; born 29 June 1958) is a German professional football manager, sports executive, and former player who was most recently head of sport and development at Red Bull GmbH. He is considered to be one of the most influential coaches and executives in the world.[2][3][4][5][6]

After an uneventful career as a player, Rangnick began his coaching career in 1983, at age 25. In 1997, he was hired by former club Ulm 1846, with whom he won the Regionalliga Süd in his debut season. Rangnick was then appointed by Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart, winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2000, but was fired following a string of poor results. In 2001, he joined Hannover 96, winning the 2.Bundesliga, but was dismissed in 2004.

After a brief period with Schalke 04, Rangnick signed with 1899 Hoffenheim in 2006, and achieved successive promotions to lead the club to the Bundesliga. He departed the club in 2011 and returned to Schalke 04, where he won the 2011 DFB-Pokal and reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. In 2012, Rangnick joined Red Bull as the director of football at Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig; he also served as the head coach of the latter across two periods between 2015 and 2019.

At Red Bull, Rangnick helped oversee their expansion into European football, emphasizing the recruitment of unproven players and developing youth systems with a worldwide scouting base, alongside an attacking on-pitch philosophy across their clubs.[7][8] As a result, Red Bull clubs rose in market value from €120 million to €1.2 billion during his tenure, with its largest club, RB Leipzig, peaking in value to €270 million in 2019.[9] Their clubs have also seen sustained domestic success,[10][11] and generated sizable profits with player transfers,[12][13] which led to his promotion to head of sport and development in 2019.[14] He resigned from Red Bull in 2020.[15][16][17]

Rangnick is a notable proponent of Gegenpressing, whereby the team, after losing possession, immediately attempts to win back possession, rather than falling back to regroup.[18][19] His sides have been noted for their pressing and high attacking output, as well as for popularizing zonal marking.[20] Rangnick has cited his main coaching influences as Ernst Happel, Valeri Lobanovski, Arrigo Sacchi, and Zdeněk Zeman,[21] and is credited for influencing Thomas Tuchel, Julian Nagelsmann, Ralph Hasenhüttl, and Jürgen Klopp.[22][23]

Early life and playing career[edit]

Ralf Rangnick was born and raised in Backnang by Dietrich and Erika Rangnick, who met in 1945 in Lichtenstein in the Ore Mountains. His mother is from Breslau and his father is from Konigsberg.[24]

Rangnick began his playing career at VfB Stuttgart, but was noted for his strategic talents and was added as player-coach.[25] His playing career was short-lived and was primarily concentrated in Germany, but included a stint at English club Southwick while studying at the University of Sussex.[26]

Coaching career[edit]

Rangnick is recognized as one of the first notable visionaries of Gegenpressing, whereby the team, after losing possession, immediately attempts to win back possession, rather than falling back to regroup together with evolving player’s spatial coverage by increasing memory space and processing pace.[27] He developed this after playing a friendly against Dynamo Kyiv in 1984, being inspired by the pressing philosophy of Valeriy Lobanovskyi.[28][29]

Rangnick was also one of the first coaches to publicize football tactics, notably during a ZDF SportsStudio TV broadcast in December 1998. As a result, Rangnick became known as the "professor"; a title initially used to jeer him, which then grew to be used to show respect.[30][31]

Early career[edit]

Rangnick began his coaching career in the 1980s, first as player-coach at his hometown club Viktoria Backnang, then continuing on to play and coach at VfB Stuttgart II and TSV Lippoldsweiler.[32]

In 1988, he became the head coach at SC Korb, remaining for two seasons before returning to VfB Stuttgart for four seasons to manage the Under 19 team. In 1991, he won the U-19 Bundesliga (German: A-Junioren Bundesliga), the highest honor in German U-19 football. Rangnick then returned to first team management in 1995 with two seasons as head coach at SSV Reutlingen 05.[33] He took the club to a fourth place finish in his first season.[34] They began the following campaign strong, with the club in the midst of the promotion push by Christmas. However, Rangnick would not see the season to its finish as he was sought after by his former club Ulm in January 1997.[35] Reutlingen were in fifth position when Rangnick left the club.[36]

His first match in charge of Ulm finished in a 2–0 loss to Greuther Fürth.[37] Ulm were also positioned in the Regionalliga Süd, and although Rangnick could only manage a sixth-place position from the remainder of the 1996–97 season, they started the following season with a 3–1 win against Karlsruher II.[38][39] They won the Regionalliga Süd Championship in 1998.[40] Rangnick adapted well to life in the 2. Bundesliga, and Ulm mounted a strong promotion push that led them to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history in 2000.

During the winter break of his second season, he signed a deal to move to top flight VfB Stuttgart for the next season. This was supposed to remain secret until the end of the season, but in February it was leaked out into public knowledge. This caused an outcry, especially as the team began to lose ground in the table, and by the end of March, Rangnick resigned from the post prematurely[35] and, on 3 May 1999, took control of Stuttgart[41] for the club's final five matches.[42] His final match was a 2–0 loss to SpVgg Unterhaching.[43][44]

Bundesliga[edit]

VfB Stuttgart[edit]

On 3 May 1999, Rangnick took control of VfB Stuttgart,[41] for the final five games[42] and saw the club finish 1998–99 season in 11th place.[45] He won two out of the club's five final matches.[42] His first match was a 2–0 loss to Bayern Munich.[42] Rangnick was now first team coach at the club he had served as a player and coached at amateur and under 19 level previously. His first full season in the 1999–2000 Bundesliga saw the club finish in a respectable eighth position.[46] The following season was much tougher, however the team succeeded in making the round of 16 in the 2000–01 UEFA Cup after winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup, and the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal. Nonetheless, Stuttgart's Bundesliga form left them hovering in the relegation zone by the halfway point. After their European exit in February 2001, Stuttgart fired Rangnick.[47] His final match was 2–1 loss to Celta de Vigo in the UEFA Cup on 22 February 2001.[48] Stuttgart were in 17th place at the time of his sacking.[49] Rangnick finished with a record of 36 wins, 16 draws and 34 losses.[41]

Hannover 96[edit]

The next season brought a new post, as Rangnick took over 2. Bundesliga side Hannover 96 on 23 May 2001.[50] His first match was a 1–1 draw against Union Berlin on 30 July 2001.[51] His first season was a complete success as they romped home as champions and were promoted to the Bundesliga after a 13-year absence.[52] Their first season back at the top level saw them consolidate with an 11th-place finish,[53] but, as their form nosedived in the second half of the 2003–04 season, Rangnick was fired following a 0–1 defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach in March 2004.[54] Hannover were in 15th place at the time of his sacking.[55] Rangnick finished with a record of 44 wins, 22 draws and 32 losses.[56]

Schalke 04[edit]

After missing out on the role as assistant manager for the German national team to Joachim Löw, Rangnick was hired by Schalke 04 on 28 September 2004,[57] after Jupp Heynckes left just weeks into the 2004–05 season. Rangnick again tasted European action as the club had earned a UEFA Cup spot via the UEFA Intertoto Cup. His first match was in the UEFA Cup.[58] Schalke won 4–0 against Metalurgs Liepājas.[58] He led them through the group phase, but they exited in the knockout rounds to Shakhtar Donetsk.[58] However, the DFB-Pokal was to prove more successful, as Rangnick took the club to the final, where they fell 2–1 to Bayern Munich.[58] Bayern would also pip Rangnick's side in the league as Schalke ended as runners-up.[59]

The next season started well, with Rangnick defeating former club VfB Stuttgart 1–0 and securing the 2005 DFL-Ligapokal.[60] Their second-place league finish of the previous year had also qualified them for the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League, Rangnick's first entry into the prestigious competition. However, the team would fail to progress beyond the group stage, and sat ten points off the pace in the Bundesliga,[61] as well as having crashed 0–6 in the DFB-Pokal to Eintracht Frankfurt.[60] Shortly before the winter break, these results prompted the club to fire Rangnick on 12 December 2005.[62] He left with a record of 36 wins, 15 draws and 14 losses.[63]

1899 Hoffenheim[edit]

Rangnick with Hoffenheim in 2007

Rangnick‘s next appointment as head coach was at 1899 Hoffenheim of the Regionalliga Süd for the 2006–07 season.[64] His first match was a 2–2 draw against 1860 Munich II on 5 August 2006.[65] He proved himself adept as a manager once again, as the team instantly won promotion and played the 2007–08 season in the 2. Bundesliga for their first time in their history.[66] The stay in the 2. Bundesliga was short, as a second-place finish for Hoffenheim in 2007–08 earned the club, and Rangnick, promotion to the Bundesliga for the 2008–09 season.[67] They also reached the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal.[68] During the 2008–09 season, Hoffenheim reached the second round of the DFB-Pokal.[69] In the first half of the season, Hoffenheim won 35 out of 51 available points,[70] however in the second half, the club won only 20 out of 51 points to drop down to seventh place.[70][71]

During the 2009–10 season, Hoffenheim reached the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal.[72] Hoffenheim finished in 11th place in the Bundesliga.[73] On 2 January 2011, Rangnick resigned as head coach of Hoffenheim, citing the sale of midfielder Luiz Gustavo to Bayern Munich, of which he had not been informed, as his reason for resigning from the club.[74][75] Rangnick's final match was a 2–0 win against Borussia Mönchengladbach on 21 December 2010 in the DFB-Pokal.[76] Hoffenheim were in eighth place when Rangnick left the club.[77] Rangnick finished with a record of 79 wins, 43 draws and 44 losses.[78]

Return to Schalke 04[edit]

In March 2011, Rangnick was named as the replacement for Felix Magath as coach of Schalke 04.[79] His first match was a 2–0 forfeit win against FC St. Pauli on 1 April 2011.[80] The game was stopped in the 89th minute after a beer mug was thrown at the assistant, overshadowing Rangnick’s successful debut at Millerntor. At the time of the cancellation, Schalke was leading 2–0.[81] Just weeks after being named the new Schalke coach, Rangnick led his old club to their first UEFA Champions League semi-finals by defeating holders Inter Milan 7–3 on aggregate.[82] However, Schalke were eliminated by Manchester United in the semi-finals.[83]

Schalke began the 2011–12 season by defeating Borussia Dortmund in a shootout in the 2011 DFL-Supercup.[84] On 22 September 2011, Rangnick stepped down as Schalke's coach due to exhaustion syndrome, stating he did not have "the necessary energy to be successful and to develop the team and the club".[85][86] He finished with a record of ten wins, three draws and ten losses.[63]

RB Leipzig[edit]

In February 2015, Rangnick announced he would be taking over as manager at RB Leipzig for the 2015–16 season. Achim Beierlorzer took over until the end of the season following the immediate resignation of Alexander Zorniger. In addition, Rangnick resigned as director of football of Red Bull Salzburg.[87] His first match was a 1–0 win against FSV Frankfurt on 25 July,[88] and he Rangnick secured promotion from to the Bundesliga with the win against Karlsruher SC on 8 May 2016.[89][90] On 16 May, Leipzig announced Ralph Hasenhüttl would take over from Rangnick.[91] Rangnick finished with a record of 21 wins, 7 draws and 8 losses.[92]

On 9 July 2018, Rangnick took over, once again, as manager of RB Leipzig.[93] This came a year after Sam Allardyce was selected over him to manage England.[94] Rangnick won his first match on his return 4–0 against Swedish club Häcken in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.[95][96] RB Leipzig eventually won the tie 5–1 on aggregate.[97] They then eliminated Universitatea Craiova in the third qualifying round.[98] The first domestic match (and victory) came against Viktoria Köln in the German Cup,[95] as Leipzig won the match 3–1.[99] Leipzig's first Bundesliga match took place on 26 August 2018.[95] Leipzig lost to Borussia Dortmund 4–1.[100] Leipzig qualified for the Europa League group stage after knocking out Zorya Luhansk with a 3–2 aggregate score in the play-off round.[101] In the group stage, they were drawn against RB Salzburg, Celtic, and Rosenborg,[102] finishing 3rd position in group stage.

Notwithstanding, the club ended the season 3rd in Bundesliga, qualified to the UEFA Champions League for the 2019–20 season, and reached the DFB-Pokal final, losing to Bayern Munich. Rangnick finished his second term as coach with a record of 29 wins, 13 draws and 10 losses.[92]

Management career[edit]

Red Bull[edit]

In June 2012, Rangnick became the director of football for both Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig. Under Rangnick’s leadership, by 2018, RB Leipzig saw promotion from regional league (tier IV) to the Bundesliga (tier I), and reached the UEFA Champions League; their highest domestic finish was runners-up in 2016–17 season, while their highest European finish was the semi-finals in 2019-20 season.[103] Despite consistent off-field success, RB Leipzig won one trophy, the Saxony Cup, with Rangnick. Meanwhile, Red Bull Salzburg won Austrian Bundesliga and Austrian Cup multiple times, and reached the Champions League and UEFA Europa League.[104][105]

In 2019, Rangnick was promoted to Head of Sport and Development for Red Bull GmbH, thus overseeing global football initiatives, including New York Red Bulls and their takeover of Red Bull Bragantino.[106][107] Under Rangnick's tenure, New York Red Bulls won the Supporters Shield in 2013, 2015, 2018, while Red Bull Bragantino gained promotion to Série A in 2020.

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of matches played on 25 May 2019
Team From To Record
G W D L Win % Ref.
VfB Stuttgart II 1 July 1985[32] 30 June 1987[32] 70 28 16 26 040.00
Reutlingen 05 1 July 1995[33] 31 December 1996[33] 51 26 12 13 050.98 [34][36]
Ulm 1846 1 January 1997[35] 16 March 1999[35] 75 36 18 21 048.00 [37][39][43]
VfB Stuttgart 3 May 1999[33] 24 February 2001[47] 86 36 16 34 041.86 [41]
Hannover 96 23 May 2001[50] 8 March 2004[54] 98 44 22 32 044.90 [56]
Schalke 04 28 September 2004[57] 12 December 2005[62] 65 36 15 14 055.38 [63]
1899 Hoffenheim 22 June 2006[64] 2 January 2011[75] 166 79 43 44 047.59 [78]
Schalke 04 21 March 2011[79] 22 September 2011[85] 23 10 3 10 043.48 [63]
RB Leipzig 29 May 2015[87] 16 May 2016[91] 36 21 7 8 058.33 [92]
RB Leipzig 9 July 2018[93] 30 June 2019 52 29 13 10 055.77 [92]
Total 722 345 165 212 047.78

Philanthropy[edit]

In 2018, Rangnick established the Ralf Rangnick Foundation which aims to support children in their development and enable their personalities to flourish.[108][109]

Honours[edit]

Manager[edit]

Ulm 1846

VfB Stuttgart

Hannover 96

Schalke 04

RB Leipzig

  • DFB-Pokal runner-up: 2019

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