5 things to know about Domenico Tedesco, new coach of Belgium

Its fifth position in… six years

After making his debut in charge of VfB Stuttgart’s youth team at the age of 22 (August 2008-2015), then those of Hoffenheim (2015-March 2017), Domenico Tedesco entered his professional career as coach of Ezgebirge Aue (March-June 2017 )… red lantern of the Bundesliga antechamber. He manages to save the club by scoring twenty points out of a possible thirty. His lucky adventure at Schalke 04 (July 2017-March 2019) ended abruptly the day after a slap inflicted by Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola (0-7) in the second leg of the round of 16 of C1.

Spartak Moscow (October 2019-2021), where he was twice elected best coach of the Russian league (August and September 2020) and RB Leipizig (December 2021-September 2022) with whom he won the 2022 German Cup will follow thanks to Christopher Nkunku, and played in C1 before being sacked the day after the defeat against Chakhtior Donetsk.

An Italian-German… of course

Domenico Tedesco was born in Rossano, Italy into a Calabrian family whose name means ”German” in Pirlo’s language. It was written, but the story doesn’t tell if that’s why this printer’s son and his family emigrated to West Germany, Bad Württemberg, when he was 2 years old. Amateur player at ASV Aichwald, brilliant student, graduate in engineering, his multicultural profile was acclaimed by the Belgian media even before his appointment as coach was made official. “Like many Red Devils, Domenico Tedesco is multicultural, noted the newspaper Tuesday morning The last hour. A not so trivial attribute for our national team. Polyglot, he can for example converse with Romelu Lukaku in different languages (German, Spanish, Italian, English, Russian, French). Roberto Martinez had already mentioned this important point of our country with this mixture of cultures that allows this generation to adapt to different situations”.

A baby coach like Nagelsmann

In September 2018, the Bundesliga offered Europe two newcomers who were experiencing their baptism of fire on the Champions League benches when they would still have been old enough to play in it: Domenico Tedesco, at Schalke 04, 33, and Julian Nagelsmann, at Hoffenheim, 31 years old. Classmates during their coaching training at the Hennes Weisweiler Akademie, Tedesco finished first in the class ahead of his younger brother. Before that to set the record of youngest manager to lead a C1 knockout match in 2018-2019 (33 years and 161 days). Nagelsmann, the youngest manager in Bundesliga history, will take over from him in February 2020 (32 years and 211 days).

Ruhr champion at 600,000 euros per month

For his debut in the Bundesliga with Schalke 04, in 2017-2018, Domenico Tedesco achieved a master stroke by conquering the title of champion… of the Ruhr. The first from 2009-2010. And beyond the rivalry with Borussia Dortmund, his team finished second, behind Bayern, and qualified for the Champions League for the first time since the round of 16 against Real Madrid in March 2015. Quite a renewal after the disappointing tenth place from the previous season, of which the Italian-German is the main architect. Then linked until 2019 with a salary of 600,000 euros a year, one of the most modest of the elite, he had seen his contract extended by two years with a double salary and a bonus of 250,000 euros for qualifying in C1.

At Schalke, Domenico Tedesco especially launched Amine Harit in the Champions League. (U.Speck/WITTERS//Sports Press)

Italian catenaccio, Russian possession and German hamburgers

Since his first season in the top flight with Schalke 04, Tedesco has been unanimous in leading a physical squad, impressive in terms of regularity and defensive solidity and focused on the counterattack. The style advocated then recalls the Italian “catenaccio” of the 90s. But the new coach of the Red Devils, passionate about data and Football Manager, is above all a pragmatist who adapts his philosophy to the staff he leads.

At Spartak Moscow (2019-2021), who will leave for family reasons, his young and technical team is illustrated by ball possession. His humor should seduce the Belgians: at Schalke, after an already very intense morning training, the coach had made the play by promising an even tougher session at the stadium in the afternoon… When they arrived in the Veltins-Arena lounges at the By lunchtime, the players had found cooks making burgers.

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