Domenico Tedesco: RB Leipzig’s ‘laptop coach’ masterminding club’s resurgence – The Athletic

August 14, 2022 by No Comments

On the day RB Leipzig lifted the DFB-Pokal, the internet fell silent.

Only one Bundesliga side — investor-led Hoffenheim — publicly congratulated the Saxons on winning the first trophy of their history three months ago. The other 16 top-flight clubs’ social media accounts did not acknowledge the feat at all, a near-total blackout that showed the Red Bull corporation’s football branch is still considered an unwanted outsider in Germany six years after their promotion to the top flight.

It didn’t help that their opponents in the final had been cuddly Freiburg, coached by Christian Streich, the tracksuited social conscience of German football.

RB coach Domenico Tedesco said he had encountered “pure hatred” from someone on the Freiburg bench during the edgy game in Berlin. But now, the 36-year-old smiles benignly when the lack of respect for the club and, by extension, for himself is brought up.

How did it feel to celebrate his and his employer’s greatest achievement in a void? “As long as any criticism (of the club’s genesis and structure) is matter-of-fact, we can deal with it,” he tells The Athletic with a little shrug.

It’s probably best to ignore those who ignore you. But there’s always another option in football. Coaches can head for The Alamo, talk up the external animosity and create a siege mentality in the group. Did Tedesco? He shakes his head. He evidently isn’t the type who makes bellicose speeches or thrives on others’ negative emotions. “I love football and I love coaching. That’s all the motivation I need.”

RB’s lack of history — they were specifically set up in 2009 as a marketing vehicle — will forever rile traditionalists, but even some of them will concede that Tedesco’s personal origin story is irresistibly romantic. It is the modern German (football) dream come true: a tale of intellect and hard work beating the odds of coming from a humble background and having no natural talent for the game.

Tedesco is shown a yellow card in Leipzig’s cup final victory (Photo: Tom Weller/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Tedesco grew up in a small town near Stuttgart, the son of Italian immigrants who had moved from Calabria to Germany’s well-off south west in search of work. His father worked as a printer at a local newspaper, his mother as a cleaner. There was enough food on the table for the three kids but no luxuries.

One day, after one of Tedesco’s games for amateur side ASV Aichwald, someone from the club popped their head into the dressing room and asked if anyone was interested in looking after the under-sixes. Tedesco raised his hand. He found that he enjoyed coaching the kids, won the league before doing his first coaching badge (“we went route one, hitting it early to a really fast forward,” he recalls with a laugh) and later took charge of the under-nines while studying for his engineering degree.

Tedesco found a good job in a company producing car parts for Mercedes but continued coaching. He’d watch the best club teams at the time — Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, Frank Rijkaard’s Barcelona — and try to understand the minutiae of their tactical set-ups, copying as much as possible. He also sent his CV to Stuttgart, the Bundesliga side famous for its excellent youth academy. Following a trial with their under-nines, he was kept …….



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