The Premier League’s enigmatic German bosses as Thomas Tuchel becomes the sixth in history

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The Germans have a long and complicated history with English football – but not as Premier League managers. 

Thomas Tuchel is the latest German to test his luck in the top flight after his appointment by Chelsea last month, but you might be surprised to know he’s just the sixth to work here.

We’ve been graced by an abundance of talented Germans on the pitch – Michael Ballack, Mesut Ozil, Jurgen Klinsmann, Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane, but that hasn’t quite translated across to the dugout. 

With Tuchel now in charge at Stamford Bridge following the sacking of Frank Lampard, he’ll be looking to make his mark and get the best out of his fellow countrymen Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, who have struggled to adapt. But will he be a success story like Jurgen Klopp or join a group of Germans who couldn’t quite cut the mustard?

There’s been no shortage of bizarre stories, drama and agony so Sportsmail takes a look back at how they got on in England and what they brought to the job.

Thomas Tuchel is the sixth German boss to coach in the Premier League, but how will he fare compared to the rest?

Thomas Tuchel is the sixth German boss to coach in the Premier League, but how will he fare compared to the rest?

Felix Magath 

Fulham, 2014

The first German coach to set foot on these shores, and it was some marker he laid down – but not exactly in the way he would have hoped. 

Perennial strugglers Fulham appointed their third manager of the 2013-14 season in February as Magath – then 60 – took the reins from Rene Meulensteen, who had overseen a short yet disastrous spell following Martin Jol’s sacking in December.

It was a chaotic time for the Cottagers, but there was to be no calming of the mood in west London as he quickly put the players in their place. From his time in Germany, Magath earned the nickname ‘Qualix’ – a mixture of ‘Felix’ and the verb qualen, which means ‘to torture’.

Felix Magath was tough on his Fulham stars and put them through gruelling training sessions

Felix Magath was tough on his Fulham stars and put them through gruelling training sessions

Some of his training sessions were purely dedicated to running as part of his boot-camp style fitness regime. But not just cardio – pushing the players until they were close to dropping. Results weren’t forthcoming on the pitch from this punishing set-up and the players weren’t responding to it. 

Looking back on his time working under Magath in 2017, ex-midfielder Steve Sidwell recalled a session after a defeat where the coach forced them to stand still in formation because they had not run enough during the game. 

‘He said “You didn’t want to run around yesterday, we are not going to run around today”. And he just blew the whistle and said everyone just stand still.

He pushed the players to the limit and punished them in an old-school style if they disobeyed

He pushed the players to the limit and punished them in an old-school style if they disobeyed

‘It was a cold day too, you couldn’t make eye contact with anyone you had to just stand there and we were there for about 40 minutes just standing there. And he would just walk around, then stop, and walk around to the other side of the pitch and stop.’

The disciplinarian knew how to deal with players who weren’t in his plans, too. He would simply cast them out – quite literally. The likes of Bryan Ruiz, Kostas Mitroglou and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg were all forced to carry out mundane drills on the pitch next to the first team. When a player went over to speak to the keeper, one of Magath’s coach immediately told him he wasn’t allowed. 

But of all his strange methods, his view on healing injured players with cheese took the biscuit. When big centre-back Brede Hangeland was ruled out with a thigh injury, Magath sent one of his coaches to drive to the near-by Tesco to buy a big block from the dairy aisle. 

Felix Magath once tried to heal Brede Hangeland's injury by using a block of cheese

The Norwegian had picked up a thigh injury and a club doctor spent an afternoon applying the cheese to his stricken area

Magath once tried to use a block of cheese to treat Brede Hangeland (R) after a thigh injury 

The club doctor spent the rest of the day applying the cheese to the stricken area, with the boss claiming it would have ‘soothing effects’. It turned out his medical knowledge wasn’t the only thing that didnt work – Fulham were relegated after finishing 19th. He was sacked the following season with the team bottom of the Championship. 

Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool, 2015-present

The man who has set the bar so high for his fellow countrymen. One of the most enigmatic characters in Premier League history, Klopp arrived at Anfield in October 2015 after the sacking of Brendan Rodgers, and at the time he was already seen as one of the best coaches in world football after doing wonders with Borussia Dortmund. 

Having a good reputation and a talented squad helps, but he took the club to a whole other level – slowly turning them into an exciting and dangerous team with a menacing front three. 

First he restored them to the Champions League in 2017, then came painfully close to winning the Premier League in 2019 – missing out to Man City by one point despite an incredible haul of 98. Their efforts weren’t for nothing, though, as they became champions of Europe after beating Spurs in Madrid during the same season.

Jurgen Klopp has entertained us with charm and laid back personality since joining Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp has entertained us with charm and laid back personality since joining Liverpool

The German is known for his hilarious outbursts in interviews, singing and swearing on TV

The German is known for his hilarious outbursts in interviews, singing and swearing on TV 

The signings of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were key as he transformed the Reds into a side capable of winning trophies year in, year out – and the long-awaited Premier League crown followed. The team cruised to their first title in 30 years as they won it with an 18-point margin.

Klopp has become known for his hilarious outbursts during TV interviews, whether it’s yelling Adrian’s name after the goalkeeper’s heroics in the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea and comparing him to Rocky Balboa, his famous ‘boom’ after a 3-0 win over City and claiming he was ‘half p***ed’ shortly after they won the Champions League final. 

Getting on his bad side is a bad idea though, as Jordan Henderson discovered after playing a training session despite being injured – although the German was unable to stay angry for too long. 

He has turned Liverpool into winners but has injected a lot of fun into the team along the way

He has turned Liverpool into winners but has injected a lot of fun into the team along the way 

As his player Gini Wijnaldum explained in 2019: ‘Jurgen was like, “I told you not to train and you still did it”. He was already really angry, shouting. But Hendo didn’t even react. He just walked.

‘Jurgen took his cap, threw it on the ground, wanting to kick it. But when he tried, he slipped and fell on his back. He stood up immediately and tried to kick it again. And he kicked it. The whole thing was on camera so everyone was laughing afterwards, I think I watched it 10 times.

‘Later we had a quiz about it at a team event. And Jurgen could laugh about it, too.’ 

David Wagner

Huddersfield, 2017-2019

A close friend of Klopp and best man at his wedding, Wagner first joined the Terriers in 2015 and was billed as the second coming of his German pal, having worked alongside him in the Borussia Dortmund youth team. 

It took him a couple of seasons to secure promotion but after gradually implementing his style of play on the team and forging a tight bond within the group, they eventually went up via the play-offs in the 2016-17 campaign after a shootout win over Reading. 

Keeping Huddersfield in the top flight at the first time of asking looked a dauting task and was given next to no chance of doing so by the media or the bookmakers, but he kept the team’s heads above water and finally clinched survival with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Chelsea in May.

Wagner, who was born to an American mother and a German father and played international football for the United States, couldn’t make quite the same fist of it in his second season – and left the club in January 2019 by mutual consent with the team rock bottom of the Premier League.   

David Wagner, Klopp's best man, got Huddersfield promoted after an impressive first season

David Wagner, Klopp’s best man, got Huddersfield promoted after an impressive first season 

Jan Siewert

Huddersfield, 2019

Wagner handed over the keys to his fellow German Siewert, who arguably had an even tougher job than he predecessor did with the team 10 points adrift of safety. 

Just like Wagner, Siewert had previously managed the Borussia Dortmund II side, with the club hoping for similar fireworks from a manager who looked like he was cut from the same cloth. It was his first senior role in coaching, and he was hardly a recognisable face – not least to Sky Sports cameras. 

During Huddersfield’s 3-0 loss against Manchester City, the broadcasters zoomed in on a man in the crowd and claimed it was Siewert in the stands, watching his new team ahead of his impending appointment. 

But it turned out to be ‘Martin from Wakefield’, just an ordinary City supporter watching the game. He told of his surprise to see a Sky reporter had come over to him asking if he was in fact Siewert. 

His successor was Jan Siewert but will be known for a mix-up with an ordinary spectator

His successor was Jan Siewert but will be known for a mix-up with an ordinary spectator 

‘It was bizarre. Basically what happened is I was sat in the crowd and suddenly I was aware of a guy coming towards me from the right hand side. He said, “Are you Jan, the new manager?” I laughed and said: “No, no, that’s not me. I’m Martin from Wakefield”. 

‘That was all I heard of it and then suddenly my phone started going crazy, saying “I’ve just seen you on telly”. There was lots of reaction from people in the crowd – just people coming up and having selfies and people patting me on the back and wishing me luck.’

Once Siewert’s appointment was officially confirmed, the club poked fun at the mix-up and filmed a clip of Martin taking a call in the manager’s office, before the real Siewert enters and says: “Not now, Martin from Wakefield”. 

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a torrid spell as he won just once as the Terriers went down in the 2018-19 season with six games to spare. He was given another chance to help the club bounce back, but was sacked after just one point from three games in the Championship.  

Daniel Farke

Norwich, 2019-2020

Very few Norwich fans had heard of Farke when he joined, and some predictable jokes were made by supporters in relation to his surname as they questioned who the club had appointed. 

But Farke, yet another former Borussia Dortmund II coach, quickly dispelled any doubt over his appointment as he won the Championship in the 2018-19 campaign, his second full season in charge. He won the fans over with his passion for the cause and earning a host of chants at Carrow Road.

Despite a brave battle in his spell in the top flight, led by early heroics from forward Teemu Pukki, the Canaries’ efforts to become Premier League mainstays gradually faded and they slipped to relegation, with the club sent down for a record fifth time after a 4-0 home loss to West Ham.

Daniel Farke has always come across passionate and upbeat in his role at Norwich City

Daniel Farke has always come across passionate and upbeat in his role at Norwich City 

Farke always comes across well in his press conferences despite his English not being fully up to scratch, but he made headlines for a bizarre analogy this season as he attempts to take Norwich straight back to the big time. He was responding to a simple question about their poor start to life back in the Championship.

‘Imagine one of my young players and the most beautiful girl in their town asks them for a date to go to the cinema,’ he said. ‘The player would be buzzing and excited and ask his mother to iron his clothes. Maybe go to the hairdresser for a haircut and buy some flowers and get ready for the greatest day of his life.

‘But if this young guy was already with, let’s say Keira Knightley, he might say that is nice but a new haircut is expensive, the cinema is busy and I am bit too lazy to buy flowers. I will probably stay on the sofa and watch a game of football. You are not excited any more.

‘We are not Liverpool or Manchester City. We are not too good for this league. We cannot expect to blow teams away 4-0, 5-0. It is amazing we are producing late winners and dominating games so much.’ 



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