RB Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick has revealed he turned down opportunities to sign Bayern Munich pair Philipp Lahm and Robert Lewandowski at separate points in his career.
Rangnick has coached a host of Bundesliga sides in recent decades before helping mastermind wealthy Leipzig’s controversial rise to the 2.Bundesliga as sporting director then head coach.
However, the 57-year-old says he rejected the chance to bring World Cup-winning Germany captain Lahm to Hannover in 2003 before also turning down Lewandowski when at Hoffenheim.
Rangnick told Bild: “At the time Philipp played in midfield and I told the Bayern coach Hermann Gerland that I already have a player like him with Altin Lala.
“In retrospect, it must be said, of course, that we would have had use for Philipp Lahm.”
Rangnick spent five years at Hoffenheim between 2006 and 2011 and passed on the chance to sign Lewandowski – now regarded as one of the greatest strikers in the world – before the Poland international joined Borussia Dortmund from Lech Poznan in 2010.
“At the time I rejected the transfer of Robert Lewandowski,” Rangnick continued.
“We felt that, with how he played in Poland, he was no better than our players [Vedad] Ibisevic, [Demba] Ba or [Chinedu] Obasi.
“Even in Dortmund, Lewandowski was not convincing in his first year. But again in retrospect, one must say, we should have thought again.”