Premier League: Ralph Hasenhuttl: Who is the man Southampton want as their new boss?

Premier League: Ralph Hasenhuttl: Who is the man Southampton want as their new boss?

Mark Hughes’ ill-fated reign at Southampton is at an end, and the Saints are casting around for a replacement.

Top of the list of candidates is Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhuttl. An unknown quantity to many outside of Germany, Hasenhuttl has earned a reputation as one of several rising star coaches in the German-speaking world. Success at Ingolstadt and RB Leipzig has seen the 51-year-old linked to jobs at both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in the past.

So, if he does come to St. Mary’s, what can Southampton fans expect from Hasenhuttl, and can he put an end to their current malaise? Sportsmail has the lowdown.

Southampton are lining up Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhuttl as their next manager

Southampton are lining up Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhuttl as their next manager

Southampton are lining up Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhuttl as their next manager

Mark Hughes was sacked by Southampton on Monday after just three wins in 22 league games

Who is Ralph Hasenhuttl?

As a floppy haired striker for Austria Vienna, the 51-year-old picked up several league titles in his homeland before becoming something of a Bundesliga journeyman in the second half of his playing career.

His coaching career only took off at his second attempt, as he led lowly VfR Aalen into the German second division before moving to Ingolstadt and hauling them into the top flight.

It was at RB Leipzig, though, that Hasenhuttl became a household name. Tasked with keeping the freshly promoted side in the Bundesliga, he led them to second place in his first season and secured Europa League football in his second.

The 51-year-old led Ingolstadt to the Bundesliga in 2015 after winning the Bundesliga 2 title

The 51-year-old led Ingolstadt to the Bundesliga in 2015 after winning the Bundesliga 2 title

The 51-year-old led Ingolstadt to the Bundesliga in 2015 after winning the Bundesliga 2 title

Why didn’t he stay at Leipzig if he was so successful?

Having enjoyed two seasons of Bundesliga success and a run to the Europa League quarter-finals under Hasenhuttl, the fans were still singing his name at the end of last season.

Yet tactics, transfer policy and long-winded contract negotiations had seen Hasenhuttl’s relationship to sporting director Ralf Rangnick rapidly deteriorate. 

Come the summer, it was clear the two men could no longer work together, and Hasenhuttl had to go.

Hasenhuttl left RB Leipzig this summer after a fallout with Ralf Rangnick - but the fans love him

Hasenhuttl left RB Leipzig this summer after a fallout with Ralf Rangnick - but the fans love him

Hasenhuttl left RB Leipzig this summer after a fallout with Ralf Rangnick – but the fans love him

What kind of coach is he?

Hasenhuttl has often been compared to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, and even earned the nickname ‘Klopp of the Alps’ while at Ingolstadt. Like Klopp, he wears his heart on his sleeve, and is not averse to the occasional display of touchline emotion.

He is also much more at home in a tracksuit than a shirt and tie. After he donned a suit for Leipzig’s Champions League debut last season, Hasenhuttl admitted that his players had laughed at him in the dressing room. Tactically, too, he is a man after Klopp’s own heart, setting his teams up to press energetically and seek a direct route to goal.

Yet Hasenhuttl is less of a showman than the Liverpool boss. A more reserved character in press conferences and more of a disciplinarian on the training pitch, Hasenhuttl is more likely to give critics an icy stare than a disarming joke.

Hasenhuttl has often been compared to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for his style of play

Hasenhuttl has often been compared to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for his style of play

Hasenhuttl has often been compared to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for his style of play

How do his teams play?

Underdogs Ingolstadt were something of a destructive force under Hasenhuttl, and they scrapped and snarled their way to unexpected survival in their first year in the Bundesliga. Yet Hasenhuttl naturally tends towards attacking football, and he was able to truly unleash those instincts at Leipzig.

Built around the tenacity and class of Naby Keita in midfield, his Leipzig side surprised the Bundesliga with exhilarating, pacy football in his first season.

Ferocious counter-pressing, excellent transitional play and the raw pace and deadly finishing of Timo Werner made Leipzig a match for any team on their day.

Southampton fans can be reassured that Hasenhuttl knows how to battle against relegation

Southampton fans can be reassured that Hasenhuttl knows how to battle against relegation

Southampton fans can be reassured that Hasenhuttl knows how to battle against relegation

Will he hold his own in the Premier League?

In theory, the pace and openness of modern Premier League football should suit Hasenhuttl well.

His only problems at Leipzig came later in his tenure, as opposing teams started to set up defensively and he struggled to push through a more possession-based approach. When his team are the underdogs and there is space to counter-attack, he should flourish tactically.

Southampton fans, meanwhile, can draw hope from Hasenhuttl’s record. At both Aalen and Ingolstadt, the Austrian took over with the club in the relegation zone. At both clubs, it took him just 18 months to turn misery into magic and lead them to promotion. 

Saints fans will hope he can cajole rather than console their players come the season end

Saints fans will hope he can cajole rather than console their players come the season end

Saints fans will hope he can cajole rather than console their players come the season end



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