It is no longer news that RB Leipzig sit comfortably in second position on the German Bundesliga table with 36 points from 16 games and 3 points behind league leaders, Bayern Munich. This newly promoted club with relatively unknown players such as Tino Werner (their top scorer with 9 goals), Baby Keita, Emil Forsberg, just to mention a few, have blown us away with their superlative performances but very little is known among football fans about the man behind the orchestra, Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Ralph Hasenhuttl began his managerial career at SpVgg Unterhaching,where he started out as a youth coach, before becoming an assistant manager and manager in which he finished with Unterhaching in sixth and fourth place respectively in Liga 3. In 2011,Hasenhuttl moved to third division side,VFR Aalen;saving them from relegation and earning them promotion to the Bundesliga 2 via a second place finish the following season.
From there, he moved to FC Ingolstadt 04 where he took them from the bottom of Bundesliga 2 to a tenth place finish.The next season, he led Ingolstadt to the Bundesliga via winning the Bundesliga 2. In his first season in the Bundesliga, he led Ingolstadt to an eleventh place finish before choosing not to extend his contract. Now at Leipzig, Hasenhuttl has become an amazing magician putting together a wonderful team.
Hasenhuttl has taken the Bundesliga by the storm through his style of play which involves a lot of high pressing, intensity and patience in attack and defense. For example, Leipzig go into every game with one notion, “make life miserable for the opponents”. This they do by pressing the opposing center backs with their forward players,who have no other choice than to turn the ball over to their full backs;the suffocation shifts to their positions with Leipzig’s full backs eliminating the opposition forwards from receiving the ball.Therefore, the opposition defense line have no option than to put the ball into row Z; hence, Hasenhuttl uses the magic rectangle (4-2-2-2 formation) to devastating effect.
Hasenhuttl shares a lot of similarities with Jurgen Klopp not only in football philosophy but in persona as well; his ability to motivate players is visible from the touch line. One of the greatest attributes of Hasenhuttl is his ambition; as proven by his managerial track record and it is no surprise that there are strong reports(which he confirmed )linking him to Arsenal. He always dreams of bigger things as evidenced in his public declaration of wanting to play in the UEFA Champions League and his dream will be fulfilled at the end of the season either by Leipzig or Arsenal (should Wenger refuse to renew his contract ).
In conclusion, only the future will determine if we have seen the rise of the god among managers, a man of men (in terms of managers) or just a decent manager.