By Michael Kryschak@michaelkryschak

Why Hasenhüttl could be the man to turn things around at Wolfsburg

FC Ingolstadt 04, RB Leipzig and now VfL Wolfsburg - Ralph Hasenhüttl is back in the Bundesliga after an eventful stint in the Premier League.
"I'm very grateful for the Bundesliga. It's the league in which I was able to make a name for myself and where I learned what it took to be a good coach. The Bundesliga prepared me for my time in the Premier League", said new Wolfsburg coach Ralph Hasenhüttl.

After 173 games and almost six years away from the German top League, Ralph Hasenhüttl was announced to be the successor of former Wolfsburg manager Nico Kovač. The Croat only managed two wins in his last 20 games with "die Wölfe". The board hopes to have found a new long term manager in Hasenhüttl.

At the end of the day, a long term project is exactly what Hasenhüttl himself is looking for. His return to the Bundesliga is a heartfelt one - with a special goal in mind: "The Bundesliga for me is one of the top leagues out there. Together we can make sure it gets even better - I want to play a part in that", said the Austrian.

Hasenhüttl already played a vital role in making the Bundesliga "better" - he was the first coach of RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga in 2016/17 - and he managed them to a more than respectable second place in their debut season in the first division. 20 wins, 7 draws and 7 losses for a newly promoted team are outstanding results! "He improved the whole squad, his work ethic is fantastic", said then sporting director of RB Leipzig Ralf Rangnick about Hasenhüttl. His work in Leipzig even put him in contention for the role as the next Bayern Munich coach, but those plans never came to fruition.

Before he helped shaping Leipzig into the team they are now, Hasenhüttl wrote history with another German club: FC Ingolstadt 04. In 2015, Ralph Hasenhüttl helped the club to their first and only promotion to the Bundesliga, but not only that: in the clubs debut season they managed to get 11th place in the table - far more than anyone could have expected from them! Club manager Thomas Linke called Hasenhüttl "the reason for the club's success." This seemed to be true: After Hasenhüttl's exit to RB Leipzig in 2016, with whom he'd be successful again, Ingolstadt weren't able to stay in the first division. They are currently playing in the 3. Liga, Germany's third division.

After his exciting and successful years in the Bundesliga, the Austrian couldn't keep up with his own success - his second year for RB Leipzig was rather unsatisfying for the club bosses, ending in the termination of Hasenhüttl's contract, after the season had ended. His new adventure: the Premier League.

Hasenhüttl surprised everyone when he signed a contract with then Premier League club Southampton. In 173 games, Hasenhüttl enjoyed a mixture of good an bad times. His eventual exit from the English club turned out to be a wrong decision from the club boss: Southampton's form got worse and the club were heading into the second division - without the Austrian who kept them safe the years before.

Those exhausting years abroad made Hasenhüttl take some time off. Not only from the manager business, but from football in total. "I felt empty and I needed to clear my mind, do things which I enjoy apart from football", said Hasenhüttl in a recent interview with Sky Germany. "But then I started to watch and analyse matches differently - not like a fan, but once again like a coach. That's when I knew I wanted to get back!"

Because of his stints at Ingolstadt and Leipzig, Hasenhüttls still holds a lot of credit in the Bundesliga and in the minds of a lot of clubs - such as Wolfsburg who first showed interest in January of 2024. About three months later and now Hasenhüttl was able to enjoy a debut win with Wolfsburg when they beat Werder Bremen 2-0. History has proven that Hasenhüttl performs extraordinarily well in the first year with his new club - maybe he can be the man to get Wolfsburg back to where they want to be: competing for and in European competitions.

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