Bundesliga: Finely-tuned Hoffenheim thriving under youthful Nagelsmann | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 09.04.2016
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Bundesliga: Finely-tuned Hoffenheim thriving under youthful Nagelsmann

The youngest coach in Bundesliga history has made quite the impression in nine games at Hoffenheim. The team's improvement was maintained with a 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt to move further away from the bottom.

Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 Hoffenheim

(Amiri 61', Uth 89')

Julian Nagelsmann seems to possess the Midas touch at the moment. He's one of the hottest properties in German coaching, and is matching rave reviews with a superb recovery of Hoffenheim's season. Goals from Nadiem Amiri and Mark Uth - two of his in-game substitutions - secured another vital three points at Eintracht Frankfurt.

A week after marking his 50th day in charge, Hoffenheim have bounced up to 14th, keeping a four-point cushion over the automatic relegation spots. Given the situation that he inherited on matchday 20, with Hoffenheim level at the bottom of the table, the turnaround is impressive.

In October, Markus Gisdol was surprisingly replaced by Huub Stevens, the 62-year-old who has a penchant for saving teams from the drop. The club confirmed then that Nagelsmann was ready to take over at the end of the season. But heart problems for the veteran Dutch coach forced him to step down suddenly, giving sporting director Alexander Rosen little choice but to put faith in Nagelsmann.

And that confidence has been repaid immediately. Hoffenheim have resurrected their season and in turn have thrown the relegation battle wide open. Three points in Frankfurt and surprise results for Ingolstadt and Darmstadt mean that Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt now occupy the spots above bottom-placed Hannover.

Although Niko Kovac's Eintracht started brightly, creating several openings, Hoffenheim carved out the better of the attacking situations. On 32 minutes, Andrej Kramaric, who had scored three goals in his last four appearances, cleverly held his position at the far post and was gifted two bites at the cherry. Frankfurt keeper Lukas Hradecky was up to the task, palming clear on each occasion.

A sign of Hoffenheim's improvement is at the back. Niklas Süle and Fabian Schär have developed a fledging understanding in the middle, while Jeremy Toljan at left-back has been an excellent upgrade. Coupled with the defensive shield of Sebastian Rudy, Nagelsmann has sturdy foundations.

Fußball Bundesliga Eintracht Frankfurt gegen TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Nagelsmann has inspired Hoffenheim's recent recovery

Re-energized Hoffenheim

But the biggest improvements are in attack: Kevin Volland, for example, has turned around his season. Despite a long list of suitors from Germany and abroad, Volland decided to commit his future to Hoffenheim with European qualification in sight and his place in Germany's national team unaffected.

Roberto Firmino's departure to Liverpool forced a return to the subject as the former German U21 captain looked disillusioned and disinterested. Many suspected his career had stalled as he reached the age of 22. He managed just five goals before Nagelsmann's appointment and looked a shadow of his former self when Markus Gisdol was in charge.

But the Hoffenheim forward has acquired an edge to his game once again, He has contributed to eight goals in Hoffenheim's last eight games. Amid questions over whether Volland has earned his right to be taken into consideration for Euro 2016, this kind of form will make Joachim Löw's task a little easier.

It's little surprise to see Volland, Kramaric, Amiri and other attacking players come to fore under Nagelsmann, an admirer of the Barcelona school of football. The studious and affable coach is another in the line of promising German coaches who combine attention to detail, great tactical flexibility and superb man-management skills.

Since his appointment, Hoffenheim force turnovers in possession in midfield and break with coordination and speed. His rapid promotion to the top job has earned praise from Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Tuchel, among others, while he was celebrated by Ottmar Hitzfeld at the presentation of his senior coaching license from the German Football Association.

Nagelsmann has freshened up his squad by promoting players from the U19 side who suit his philosophy. Amiri and Philipp Ochs, both of whom won the U19 German Championship under Nagelsmann, have played a prominent role over the last nine games.

The 19-year-old Amiri was brought off the bench on the hour mark and his marauding run, transitioning defense to attack led to the opener. The first goal forced Frankfurt to commit, leaving spaces at the back for the visitors to punish. With a minute left, Mark Uth finished off a loose ball in the box to grab all three points.

Having claimed 17 points out of a possible 27 since the coaching change, Hoffenheim seem to have fought their way out of the relegation mix. With step one achieved, Nagelsmann will now be tasked with taking the club into the top-half of the Bundesliga next season after failing to live up to pre-season predictions of a top-eight finish.