EPL

Tuchel excited for Hasenhuttl battle as Chelsea and Southampton's Rangnick disciples face off

By Sports Desk February 19, 2021

Thomas Tuchel's view of football was changed by Ralf Rangnick and in Ralph Hasenhuttl he is looking forward to going up against another coach who worked alongside him.

Chelsea head to Southampton on Saturday and Tuchel will pit his wits against Hasenhuttl, who coached RB Leipzig during Rangnick's time as director of football at the Red Bull Arena.

Tuchel was a defender at Ulm for Rangnick between 1997 and 1998 and, following the premature end to his playing career due to a knee injury, was hired as a youth coach at Stuttgart by him two years later.

Rangnick is credited with revolutionising German football by introducing an intense high-pressing, counter-attacking style that was widely adopted.

His influence on Tuchel is clear, with Chelsea allowing the fewest opposition passes per defensive action (PPDA) in the Premier League since his first game in charge against Wolves on January 27.

Across the entire season, Southampton rank fourth in the league with a PPDA of 10.7, behind only Liverpool (10.4), Chelsea (10.3) and Leeds United (8.9).

"I was a player with Ralf Rangnick. I played in the third and second division and learned from Ralf that it's not necessary to follow the striker to the toilet," Tuchel told the media.

"He made a third-division team stronger than we actually were with brand new tactics, the back four not man marking but defending in the space in a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1.

"That was a gamechanger for me to watch football games after my experience with Ralf. It was different because I had a totally different view of what's going on.

"Ralf had his influence at Leipzig when he worked with Ralph as more or less the father of everything that happened in Leipzig.

"There are many coaches influenced by this philosophy, but I truly believe everybody has to find his own style, everybody needs to be authentic. You need to be yourself. You cannot copy anybody.

"The way from Ralph is very impressive. He had a very good season at Ingolstadt, very successful at Leipzig and now a big impact with his aggressive style of playing at Southampton.

"This is the challenge that we have to face. I cannot give you a reason why there is a trend, this is too much of a question for me right now."

Tuchel is unbeaten in six games since taking over at Chelsea, winning five straight since a 0-0 draw with Wolves in his first match.

Olivier Giroud found the back of the net in their 2-0 success over Newcastle United last Monday and Tuchel intends to give the France striker time to stake his claim for a new deal, with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.

Tuchel said: "No decision is made because it's too soon to make these decisions. [It's] too soon in the season and I haven't had enough time to make these decisions because I just started three weeks ago and we need more time to get to know the group better. Everybody deserves more time to show their value.

"What I can say is that I am super happy that he's here. He's one of the top strikers in the box, he's physically strong, he has an incredible first touch and he's strong in headers.

"He did an amazing game against Newcastle. He's very strong, very positive in training, very impressive.

"Right now, he plays a key role in the squad with a lot of young offensive players. He is a key figure, maybe not because he plays every three days 96 minutes, but because of the way he behaves and with his experience on a daily basis, he has a huge impact in the most positive way.

"This is what I can say. When the decision arrives, we will make it."

Related items

  • European Super League: Zidane says Madrid breakaway talk 'is not my job' European Super League: Zidane says Madrid breakaway talk 'is not my job'

    Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane deflected questions about the proposed breakaway European Super League, insisting it was a matter for president Florentino Perez.

    Madrid were among 12 clubs to announce their involvement in the controversial new competition on Sunday.

    Los Blancos have been European champions a record 13 times, but this tournament would rival the Champions League.

    The anti-competitive nature of the format, which would mean the 12 'founding clubs' could not be demoted, has been widely criticised, yet Zidane would not give his opinion.

    Speaking ahead of Wednesday's game against Cadiz, the coach said: "That's a matter of one person, of the president.

    "I'm here to talk about the game, not to talk about other things. The rest is not my job."

    UEFA could yet attempt to expel Madrid, along with fellow semi-finalists Chelsea and Manchester City, from this season's Champions League.

    The idea of banning Super League players from international football has also been mooted.

    But Zidane, who refused to give an opinion again when asked if he had spoken to Perez, insists his squad are not distracted by the matter.

    "We don't talk about it in the locker room," he said. "We have a game to get right."

    While there is uncertainty around how the remainder of this season might play out, as well as Madrid's involvement in competitions going forward, Zidane is determined his players will keep pushing to win LaLiga.

    A goalless draw against Getafe at the weekend saw the champions lose ground in the title race, slipping three points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

    Having held Liverpool in Europe in their previous match, Los Blancos could have three consecutive 0-0 draws for the first time since March 2006.

    And Cadiz beat Madrid 1-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season. They are the only LaLiga opponents Zidane has never defeated and could become the first promoted side to achieve a league double against Madrid since Real Burgos in 1990-91.

    But Zidane is not ready to concede the title, adding: "We've been here eight months and [people say] it's all over. I was on the street, the players were worthless...

    "And that's never the case. The important thing is that there is life. We're competing, which is what we like, and we're going to compete until the last day.

    "Whatever happens, we're going to compete until the last day. I don't know if we're going to win, but we're going to put all the strength in it."

    Zidane confirmed Madrid would again be without record signing Eden Hazard, who has not featured since March 13 due to a calf injury.

    The €100million winger has played just 646 minutes across 14 games in all competitions this season, scoring with three of his 14 shots and creating six chances and a single assist.

  • European Super League: IOC president Bach says 'profit-driven approach' threatens sport European Super League: IOC president Bach says 'profit-driven approach' threatens sport

    "Profit-driven" projects like the European Super League threaten the existing structure and mission of sport, according to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach.

    Bach appeared at the UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland on Tuesday.

    The furore caused by 12 of Europe's leading clubs announcing a breakaway competition that would see them leave existing structures in place under UEFA and FIFA continues to cause intense debate.

    Bach warned that self-interest and commercialism would come at a huge cost for European sport.

    He insisted such an approach was not what was needed as society rebuilds as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

    "We have to realise that this European sport model is under threat today," Bach said. 

    "In fact, the very existence of the values, solidarity and volunteer-based model is under threat. 

    "It is challenged by a purely profit-driven approach that ignores the intrinsic values the social mission of sport and the real needs of the post-coronavirus world. 

    "It is under threat because the social mission of sports organisations is losing ground to the purely profit-oriented goals of commercial sport providers and investors. 

    "If everything is only looked at from a business perspective. If only the economic rules are applied to measure the impact of sport on society then the social mission of sport is lost.

    "In this polarising environment narrow self-interest and egotism have been gaining ground over solidarity, shared values and common rules. 

    "We can only address the challenges of the post-coronavirus world in solidarity. This means for us solidarity within sports organisations and solidarity among sports organisations."

    At the same conference, FIFA president Gianni Infantino condemned the European Super League.

    Infantino warned clubs involved they "cannot be half in or half out" and must fully commit to the breakaway competition.

  • European Super League: Plans came at the worst moment in football history - Calderon European Super League: Plans came at the worst moment in football history - Calderon

    Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon was frustrated to see 12 elite clubs plotting a European Super League at a time when football needs "solidarity and unity".

    Madrid were among a dozen teams to announce their involvement in a new breakaway competition on Sunday.

    The lucrative tournament would be a rival to the Champions League, but the 12 "founding clubs" would compete every year and could not be demoted.

    While reigning European champions Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain have not yet signed up, which Calderon says is "really important", this threat to the sport's structure comes as clubs attempt to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

    For this reason, Calderon - the main man at Madrid between 2006 and 2009 - finds the plans particularly painful.

    "The first thought that came to my mind when I read the news about this announcement was that perhaps it came at the worst moment in football history," he told Stats Perform News.

    "Many clubs are suffering, are struggling financially because of the pandemic. I think football needs more than ever solidarity and unity to overcome this problem.

    "So, I think it's bad news for football and I hope that common sense comes back to everyone and they manage to sort out this situation in the best way possible."

    COVID-19 has made money particularly tight at Madrid, where they are also renovating the Santiago Bernabeu.

    "Maybe this is the money we need to sort out all the problems we are having and we are facing in the next few years," Calderon suggested.

    But UEFA's threat to deny Super League players the opportunity to represent their countries at international level could yet derail the proposals, according to the ex-Madrid chief.

    Calderon said: "If that really happens, if they fulfil their threats, I'm sure the clubs will reconsider going on with the project.

    "It's impossible if UEFA and FIFA ban clubs and players in the way they have [said] in their statements. I find it difficult that they'd go on with the project."

    But that is not the only problem for Calderon, who believes Super League clubs would quickly find their existence tedious playing the same opponents without additional leagues and cup competitions.

    "I think they already have the opportunity to see those teams playing against our team," he said.

    "But also in our country, and I think in other countries it's the same, fans want to travel to other stadiums, they want to win [against] their neighbours. There's a rivalry always between the clubs from the same country.

    "And also there's something interesting nowadays that any club can win three or four competitions, or at least, compete to win them.

    "With the Super League, there'll only be one champion. The others won't get a trophy. That's another thing that I don't think they've taken into account.

    "Now Barcelona is out of the Champions League, but they won the [Copa del Rey]. So, if they play in the Super League, they'll only be able to win one title.

    "That's another interesting thing for fans, for players and for clubs."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.