Nagelsmann given chance by Germany after Bayern disappointment
Julian Nagelsmann hit a rare low ebb when he was surprisingly sacked by Bayern Munich earlier this year, but has now been given the chance to lead his native Germany at next year's European Championship on home soil.
Just 36, Nagelsmann had already carved out a successful career both domestically and on the European stage with Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig before his short-lived spell at Bayern.
He is officially the second-youngest national team coach in German history -- and the youngest for almost a century.
Nagelsmann will be 37 at Euro 2024 and if victorious would be the youngest coach to win the tournament, seven years younger than the 44-year-old Jose Villalonga who took Spain to the 1964 title.
Known for his tactical flexibility, Nagelsmann has shown a penchant for shifting formations mid-game -- a skill honed during his first coaching job as an opposition scout at Augsburg under Thomas Tuchel, the man who replaced him at Bayern.
Nagelsmann's appointment comes almost six months to the day since his firing by Bayern.
Nagelsmann's time at Bayern came to an end with his side second in the Bundesliga and going strong in the Champions League.
He was sacked amid concerns he had lost elements of the dressing room and had failed to progress a team boasting one of the best squads in Europe.
Under Tuchel, Bayern needed a last-day collapse from Borussia Dortmund to win the league title.
Bayern were eliminated from both the German Cup and the Champions League after Nagelsmann's departure.
'Love of the game'
Born in 1987 in the small Bavarian village of Landsberg am Lech, Nagelsmann began his career as a defender at FC Issing before playing for Bayern's derby rivals Augsburg and 1860 Munich.
His playing career was cut short by knee cartilage injuries, forcing his retirement at the age of 20.
Still under contract at Augsburg, Nagelsmann joined the coaching staff of youth team mentor Tuchel.
Tuchel, also a defender whose playing career was ended prematurely by a similar knee problem, praised Nagelsmann's "talent for analysing the game", saying in 2020 "he assesses the opponents down to the last detail".
"You can see Julian's love of the game in his work."
While he never played a match under Tuchel, Nagelsmann said he was "grateful" to his eventual Bayern successor for "giving me the idea of becoming a coach".
He however downplayed the connection between the two as "more hype than reality", saying: "He wasn't my foster father, even if many call him that."
Youngest Champions League coach
Nagelsmann moved to Hoffenheim as a youth coach in 2010/11 and got the top job during the 2015/16 season, making him the youngest head coach in Bundesliga history at 28.
After taking over with the club second last and helping them avoid relegation, he guided Hoffenheim to their first Champions League appearance while becoming at 31 the youngest ever coach in that competition.
His work did not go unnoticed, with Real Madrid among those reportedly monitoring his progress.
Nagelsmann's performances earned him a move to RB Leipzig where he took the club to the Champions League semi-finals and a German Cup final.
His stint at Leipzig showcased his tactical acumen and caught the eye of Bayern.
With Hansi Flick departing to take over as Germany boss, Bayern paid a record 25 million euros to bring Nagelsmann back to his native Bavaria.
In his first match, Nagelsmann won the first trophy of his career with a 3-1 Super Cup win over Dortmund and lifted the Bundesliga shield in his first season.
A quarter-final exit against Villarreal in the Champions League stuck in the minds of the Bayern hierarchy however, with Nagelsmann getting the sack midway through his second season, despite the club potentially being on track for a record third treble.
Nagelsmann's Bayern had lost just three of 37 games before he was sacked.
Despite taking the team to the title, Tuchel lost four of his 12 games in charge to close the season after replacing Nagelsmann, perhaps indicating Bayern's problems ran deeper than just the coach.