He may be the Bundesliga’s youngest ever head coach but Julian Nagelsmann’s development comes as no surprise to Hoffenheim midfielder Steven Zuber.
At the age of 29, Nagelsmann has taken the Bundesliga by storm and overseen a dramatic upturn in fortunes this season, with Hoffenheim flying high in the European qualification places.
Prior to Saturday’s defeat to RB Leipzig, Hoffenheim had been the only undefeated team remaining in any of the top five European league following 17 matches, after Nagelsmann steered the club away from the threat of relegation last season.
“Quality and skills do not depend on age,” Zuber said in an exclusive interview with Omnisport.
“Therefore I am not surprised about his development.”
Zuber, who played in the 2-1 loss to Leipzig, which saw Sandro Wagner sent off in the second half, continued: “Of course the coach plays an important role.
“However every single person of and around the team does their bit, this is very important. The whole club took this path together.”
Formerly of CSKA Moscow, Zuber added: “I do not like to compare people. Every human is different, every coach has a different philosophy under different circumstances.”
While Hoffenheim’s unbeaten record came to an end at Leipzig, Zuber and his team-mates remain well placed in fifth spot.
Following Borussia Dortmund’s draw and Hertha Berlin’s defeat, Hoffenheim are level on points with BVB, while Eintracht Frankfurt are a point better off in third position.
The club’s run has caught the eye throughout Germany but Hoffenheim’s objectives remain the same.
“Our internal aims have not changed, we still pursue the same goals as we did at the beginning of the season. And in the end if we achieve more, everybody will be more than happy about it,” Zuber added.
“It was not to [be] expected that we [would have] such a successful first half of the season. However, as we have come so far now, we would like to make sure we go on like that.”
The prospect of competing in Europe next season is enticing for Zuber, who recently signed a new contract.
“Every little child dreams of playing international football one day. However, we know where we come from and thus do well to see from match to match.”
As for whether Hoffenheim can take heart from Leicester City’s stunning Premier League triumph in 2015-16, Zuber insisted: “Leicester and Hoffenheim should not be compared.
“We want to create our own thing and are not trying to equal somebody else.”
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