Ralf Rangnick was mocked when he took on Der Kaiser’s tactics but now he is Manchester United boss

Revenge of the nerds! Ralf Rangnick was mocked when he criticised ‘Der Kaiser’ Franz Beckenbauer’s tactics – but now he is Manchester United supervisor and has the final snigger

  • Ralf Rangnick took on the entire German soccer institution again in 1998 
  • Then supervisor at second-tier Ulm, he defined why everybody else was incorrect 
  • He was criticised afterwards as a ‘Kopfmensch’; the closest English phrase is ‘geek’
  • But Rangnick has had the final snigger – he is now supervisor of Manchester United 

The evening the bespectacled nerd in a gray swimsuit and tie took on Der Kaiser of German soccer, Franz Beckenbauer, there would solely be one winner – and it wasn’t Manchester United supervisor Ralf Rangnick.

‘Kopfmensch’ was one of many extra well mannered phrases thrown at Rangnick that evening, which interprets actually an individual filled with head data, the implication being that they lack emotional intelligence. 


Geek is perhaps the closest phrase in English. In equity, he did look a little bit like an artwork critic on Melvyn Bragg’s South Bank Show, by no means a great look when attempting to win over the soccer institution.

Ralf Rangnick's appearance on German TV channel ZDF Sport-studio in 1998 was not very successful - the then-Ulm manager took on the German football establishment's tactical ideas

Ralf Rangnick’s look on German TV channel ZDF Sport-studio in 1998 was not very profitable – the then-Ulm supervisor took on the German soccer institution’s tactical concepts

Rangnick, supervisor at second-tier Ulm, a backwater of German soccer, had the audacity to go on German TV and clarify the tactical revolution his crew was implementing and why everybody else was incorrect.


This was 1998 and Rangnick, 40, was an up-and-coming younger coach explaining to TV viewers why the sweeper system, perfected by Beckenbauer right into a German soccer establishment, was outdated. 

In reality, he just about informed the viewers of ZDF Sport-studio that all the pieces German soccer had ever believed in was now defunct.

Warming to his theme, Rangnick used a tactics board to exhibit why urgent the ball and utilizing a again 4 with zonal marking was far superior to man marking and a sweeper system. 

‘I feel we’ve the issue in Germany that many gamers have been educated in a totally totally different means and maybe that is why it takes a bit longer in Germany to convey that type of soccer to a crew,’ enthused Rangnick, a participant whose profession had peaked within the third division.


‘In Germany, it is primarily about being one-on-one with the opponents. But we have seen right here that it is usually the case that you may be marking any individual but then intentionally transfer away to shut down the house across the ball.’

Rangnick was harshly criticised by many afterwards, including 'Der Kaiser' Franz Beckenbauer

Rangnick was harshly criticised by many afterwards, together with ‘Der Kaiser’ Franz Beckenbauer

Imagine a younger Championship supervisor again within the day telling Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Robson that all the pieces they ever knew was incorrect and you’ve got some concept how daring this take was.

Germany had gained the World Cup in 1990 below Beckenbauer and Euro 96 below Berti Vogts enjoying with a sweeper and each of these coaches had been central to the 1974 World Cup triumph as gamers. 

These had been defining factors of German soccer, their sacred cows.

Sure, they’d been embarrassingly eradicated within the 1998 World Cup quarter-finals by Croatia but their report over that decade did not recommend the nationwide crew was screaming out for tactical reboot.

So the backlash towards Rangnick was large. The nationwide crew supervisor on the time, Erich Ribbeck made a pointed reference to the programme when requested what had upset him most in his first 100 days in cost.

‘I’m upset by all these exaggerated discussions about tactical programs, like on Saturday evenings in ZDF’s Sportstudio, we acquired a colleague allotting platitudes as if each supervisor was a whole moron,’ stated Ribbech, quoted in Ronald Reng’s Matchdays: The Hidden Story of the Bundesliga.

But Rangnick has had the last laugh - now the 63-year-old is manager of Manchester United

But Rangnick has had the final snigger – now the 63-year-old is supervisor of Manchester United

Beckenbauer concurred. ‘All this discuss programs – it is a load of crap. Foreign gamers can do extra with the ball. Ours cannot. Back 4, zonal markings, libero, all of it would not matter a rattling. The again 4 is a deadly mistake.’

Put firmly again in his field, Rangnick would remorse his look. ‘It was a mistake,’ he informed Raphael Honigstein in Das Reboot. ‘It was silly to inform others about my tactics. I was thought of a theorist – that was meant as an insult.’

Indeed, there was widespread rejoicing amongst the German soccer institution when he subsequently failed in Bundesliga at Stuttgart.

However, Ribbech proved to be the worst German nationwide crew ever, his crew eradicated backside of their group at Euro 2000 with one level. 

Beckenbauer was discovered by a FIFA ethics investigation to have breached guidelines in relation to bribery and corruption, although he won’t be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations. 

And Ralf Rangnick is now Manchester United supervisor.


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