Arsene Wenger might be spending his last season as Arsenal’s manager after 2 storied decades in charge. The French gaffer isn’t certain about extending his stay at the Emirates beyond the end of 2016-17, and the club is preparing for what could be a certain exit next summer.
So many names have been mentioned in the past as Arsenal’s potential next manager, but more recently, Ralph Hasenhuttl, RB Leipzig’s manager has been identified as the most likely successor to the 67-year-old.
Under the 49-year-old Austrian, the newly promoted Leipzig have taken the Bundesliga by storm, playing all 13 games without a loss and sitting top of the league, 3 points clear 2nd placed Bayern Munich.
Hasenhuttl’s achievements within such a short while have seen him emerge as a favourite for the Arsenal gig, and here are 5 unknown facts about the man who could be barking out orders on the Emirates touchline soon.
His greatest attacking strengths are set-pieces
Hasenhuttl wants to get the goals by all cost and doesn’t like to see the dead balls getting wasted. Though Leipzig might have scored just 5 of their 29 goals from set pieces in the 13 Bundesliga games played thus far, but trust the taskmaster perfectionist to continually push his charges in training to get it right.
While at Ingolstadt 04 last season, scoring from set pieces was his team’s trademark, and it was the main reason they escaped relegation. 60% of all Ingolstadt’s goals came from penalties, free kicks and corner kicks.
The team scored just 33 goals in all 34 league games, and 20 were set-pieces. It was enough to see them pick 10 wins and 10 draws and eventually finish in 11th position.
Has more than 1 way of getting the results
While most managers stick with just a style of play, a system and almost a single formation all through many seasons, Hasenhuttl brings dynamism to the fore.
From 4-4-2, 4-5-1, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-1-1, 4-2-4, and most recently 4-2-2-2, the Austrian is always changing tactics to suit a particular game, and will easily and quickly switch a formation once things aren’t going as planned in matches.
Was never considered good enough to play for Bayern Munich 1st team
During his 16-year professional playing career, the ex Austria international striker made 450 appearances for 8 European clubs.
He had the last stint before hanging the boot with Bayern Munich between 2002 and 2004 . However, it was with the club’s reserve team which were playing in the Regionalliga Süd – the 4th tier of the German football league system at the time.
In 57 games for FC Bayern Munich II, Ralph managed to score 14 goals, but he was never considered good enough for even a place on the substitutes bench of the elite’s club first team.
He is a firm believer in talents nurturing
Ralph has built his team around young players at RB Leipzig since making his arrival. Not many Bundesliga managers dare do that, but the Austrian believes in young talents.
21-year-old midfielder Naby Keita was brought from Leipzig’s sister club Red Bull Salzburg. 19-year-old former Nottingham Forest winger Oliver Burke, arrived over the summer, while striker Timo Werner, 20, was bought from VfB Stuttgart.
Germany youth international and Olympic gold medalist Lukas Klostermann has been part of the club since 2014 and so has the 22-year-old forward Marcel Sabitzer.
All has played very important roles in the rise of the club this term.
He once spied on Klopp disguised
While at Dortmund, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp once had a preseason tour at Austria. At the time, Hasenhüttl had been sacked from the first ever club he managed Unterhaching.
Aware that the great Bundesliga tactician he had always looked up to was in town, the Leipzig manager, hiding under a helmet and riding a mountain bike, assumed the status of a nobody and observed Dortmund’s training session.