After two championships with the U17 and one with the U19 (all in consecutive years), Hannes Wolf is leaving Borussia Dortmund and taking over as head coach at VfB Stuttgart.
Wolf was seen as a possible heir to Thomas Tuchel by many people, although the youth teams of Wolf and Tuchel’s side play rather different styles of football.
The academy teams were always good at pressing and ran over teams with their sheer physicality. They liked to use long balls to a tall striker upfront, mostly Janni-Luca Serra, to create chances and lacked some creativity and structure in midfield.
The brilliant quality of the BVB players born in 1998 were another big boost for Wolf. Of course, it’s still difficult to win three consecutive championships and he rightfully gets praised for achieving this feat.
Wolf is very energetic and knows how to motivate his team, keep it under control and helped quite a few players to improve. In Felix Passlack and Christian Pulisic, two have made it as far as starting in the Bundesliga and the young American even in the UEFA Champions League.
Wolf’s coaching of pressing schemes and intensity is a strength as well. His teams usually knew how and when to press without losing their balance.
It’ll be interesting to see how he handles his first job at the professional level after a short first senior stint with Dortmund’s second team didn’t go too well, as he averaged just 1.5 points per game.
While Stuttgart are known to be a rather chaotic club, they do have some hugely talented young players, something that should suit Wolf.
In the end the move might turn out to be good for all sides involved: Wolf, Stuttgart and Dortmund. The 35-year-old could develop into a really good coach at senior level and improve his coaching of possession-play elements.
His presence will be missed at Dortmund, but the club’s decision-makers did the right thing in letting him pursue this opportunity. Lest we forget, Stuttgart are a huge club themselves, and getting the chance to go there for a first job at this level shows just how highly regarded Wolf is.
And who knows? He might turn out to be Tuchel’s heir after all following a successful stint in Swabia.