Southampton have confirmed the appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl as the club’s new manager.
The ex-RB Leipzig manager will be in the stands to watch his new side take on Tottenham at Wembley before taking charge against Cardiff this weekend.
Getting the Austrian is considered as quite the coup for Southampton, despite their lowly position in the Premier League, so let’s learn a thing or two about the man tasked with keeping the Saints in the Premier League:
Hasenhuttl is a 51-year-old Austrian manager who is best known for his recent spell at RB Leipzig. He was born in Graz, Austria and enjoyed a playing career that spanned nearly 20 years, finishing his career in Germany with Bayern Munich II. The ex-forward was an Austrian international in his younger years and was capped eight times by his country. He also becomes the first man from his home country to manage in the Premier League.
Hasenhuttl has spent the entirety of his managerial career working in Germany, which may be a cause of concern to some Southampton fans. His career started at third division side SpVgg Unterhaching before spells with VfR Aalen and Ingolstadt. Hasenhuttl’s work in the lower divisions of German football was not going unnoticed and it was after his time at Ingolstadt that Leipzig decided to take the plunge and decide that he was the man to guide them through their Bundesliga adventure.
His big break in Germany
The biggest success of Hasenhuttl’s early managerial career came while at Ingolstadt. The Austrian joined the club and guided them from the bottom of the table to tenth place in his first campaign. Just one season on, he took the club into the top flight for the first time in their history, winning the 2.Bundesliga. His achievement of taking the club into the top flight remains highly regarded in German football. Hasenhuttl continued to impress as he managed to keep the club in the top flight and avoid relegation at the first attempt.
Style of play
Hasenhuttl’s teams are known for their counter-attacking style of play, something that could suit Southampton in their current situation. Caring little for possession, Hasenhuttl installs a big focus on transitional phases of play, ensuring that his teams can attack at speed in a bid to catch their opponents off guard. This style worked to devastating effect during his first season at Leipzig as he guided them to a second-place finish in their first season in the Bundesliga.
Why did he leave Leipzig?
Things were not quite the same at Leipzig last season for Hasenhuttl. The demands of European football and the newfound identity of being one of the ‘bigger’ teams in the Bundesliga meant that clubs had began to figure them out. Leipzig had become less of a surprise package and clubs began to adjust to their style of play, sitting deeper during games and allowing them far more possession of the ball in an attempt to prevent them from playing on the counter-attack. As the club’s progress started to slow down, a mutual agreement was made that would see the now Southampton boss step down.
Who has he worked with?
His Leipzig side included the likes of Naby Keita, Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg, three crucial members of his squad. All three thrived in the top flight under Hasenhuttl, with Keita clearly catching the eye enough to earn a big-money move to Liverpool. Werner played a big part in his success, scoring 21 goals in all competitions under Hasenhuttl in their eye-catching campaign. Both he and Forsberg continue to be linked with moves away from Leipzig after impressing in Germany, a sign of how highly they are regarded.