Just How Well do Tuchel and Klopp Know Rangnick?

Ben Wylie

How Well do Tuchel and Klopp Know Rangnick?

With Ralf Rangnick officially unveiled as the Manchester United manager, he will have his sight set on replicating the achievements of his fellow countrymen Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel with a United squad that on paper looks primed for success.

Both Klopp and Tuchel have lifted the Champions League, and have transformed their respective clubs for the better. There is little doubt over the large influence Rangnick has had within both managers’ chosen styles and footballing philosophies, and we take a look at just how well the two know the new United man.

Manchester United Ralf Rangnick Specials

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Jurgen Klopp and the love of Gengenpress

The fast-paced, high-intensity gengenpress style football played by Liverpool has become synonymous with boss Jurgen Klopp, credited by many for the development of this style of football, however, fellow German, Ralf Rangnick, is the true mastermind and pioneer behind the high pressing style having played this way long before the Liverpool boss.

Rangnick’s infatuation with pressing football began in a friendly against Dynamo Kiev, with the German reportedly counting the number of opposition players on the field with his side afforded such little time on the ball. Rangnick then adopted, developed and ultimately revolutionised the style making it his own, with the philosophy seen all across the world nowadays.

Despite being the relatively undisputed founder of gengenpress, Rangnick may envy the successes Klopp has delivered using his practises, with the latter being far more successful in terms of honours. The last time Klopp faced Rangnick, his Borussia Dortmund side were on the end of a 4-1 defeat to Hoffenheim, with Klopp vocal in praising his counterparts tactics and style, even going so far as to say that was how he wanted his side to play.

Almost immediately, Klopp adopted this style often favouring the 4-2-3-1 with two wide players, or a 4-3-3 formation offering width to his teams, and facilitating the intensity integral with gegenpressing. After unprecedented success in Dortmund lifting back-to-back Bundesliga titles and guiding BVB to their first Champions League final in 15 years, Klopp arrived at Merseyside.

During his reign, he has transformed Liverpool into one of the hardest opponents in the league, offering opposition players no time on the ball exhibiting an authentic Gegenpressing style. Liverpool’s counter-attacking football has yielded great success, delivering a first Premier League title, as well as a sixth Champions League. Rangnick often speaks fondly of his relationship with the Anfield manager and although never having worked together, clearly have huge respect for one another. Despite never being on the same side, Rangnick just might be Klopp’s biggest ally throughout his trophy-laden career, with obvious imprints of his managerial style seen within his teams.

Manchester United Ralf Rangnick Specials

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Thomas Tuchel and his defensive excellence

Similar to Klopp, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel took charge of Mainz and Dortmund before becoming a successful Premier League manager, with only a short stint in Paris separating the two.

However, unlike Klopp, Tuchel played for and studied under Rangnick with the Old Trafford boss even giving him his first shot at management. In a career cut short by injury, Rangnick offered Tuchel the opportunity to coach his U15s Stuttgart team, persuading him to take up management at just 24.

As mentioned, Tuchel followed a similar career path to Klopp however until his time in London, never reached the heights Klopp did, only winning one piece of silverware in Dortmund, the 2016/17 German Cup. During his time at PSG, despite winning consecutive league titles and taking the Parisians to their first Champions League final, Tuchel was deemed unsuccessful and let go.

With superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on the books, Tuchel struggled to play his pressing brand of football as their work rates didn’t meet the demands of the German. After the questionable tenure of Frank Lampard at Chelsea, Tuchel was hired mid-season to turn round a dysfunctional squad with realistic aims of a top four finish. The German achieved this, and surpassed all expectations leading Chelsea to their second Champions League title just five months into the job.

From the off, impressions of his time under Rangnick were clear, with Tuchel opting for a 3-4-2-1 formation, pushing the whole team further into the opposition half. To facilitate this idea of a high-pressing side, Chelsea use wing-backs as opposed to traditional full-backs, often forcing opposition wingers further back down the pitch to help deal with the added attacking pressure from the sidelines.

Additionally, Tuchel’s favoured midfield pairing at the Bridge see’s Jorginho partnered with workhorse N’Golo Kante, with the Frenchman famed for having seemingly unlimited stamina typically covering every blade of grass on the pitch. Since Tuchel’s appointment, Chelsea have gone from strength to strength, currently sitting top of the league, and in similar vein to Klopp, Rangnick must be heavily credited for the style of football played by Chelsea since January, with clear signs of the German’s philosophy at the Bridge.


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