Nuri Sahin’s coaching career seems to be one to watch, and it might not have happened without former managers Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel.
The former Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder had an incredible start to his career in charge of Turkish side Antalyaspor, with a similar journey to Klopp.
Reminiscent of the Liverpool boss’ breakthrough at Mainz, Sahin was playing for Antalyaspor on October 1 and, four days later, found himself in the dugout.
And just like Klopp’s debut in Germany, Sahin raised many eyebrows, winning 22 of his 34 Turkish Super Lig games, putting Antalya on the periphery of Europe after a relegation fight last season.
“It’s good, it’s different from football, being a player, but it’s good, I love it,” he told talkSPORT.
“We’re doing pretty well, the guys have taken it well that I’ve become the manager here, and the idea of what we want to do, how we want to play, that suits the team.
“It suits the guys, and the mentality has changed a bit, we tried to implement some of our ideas, the results are good so far.”
Before taking the plunge and accepting Antalya’s offer, Sahin first sought advice from Klopp, who coached him to a Bundesliga victory in 2011, which saw him named German player of the season. .
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“We talk constantly and of course he is one of the people I take advice from and talk to,” the 33-year-old said.
“He said move on, he said you’re a good guy, a good person and I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
Does a current nine-game unbeaten streak with seven wins prove Klopp was right?
“Maybe if it can stay that way,” Sahin joked.
The former Turkey international played for Klopp during his peak years at Dortmund, before a blockbuster transfer to Real Madrid worked out.
A loan spell at Liverpool followed, before returning to Dortmund under Chelsea manager Tuchel.
“Thomas had a big influence on my decision to become a coach,” said Sahin, who is not at all surprised to see his former managers’ rise to the top of football.
The duo will find themselves under the arcades of Wembley for the second time in four months in the FA Cup final, both Champions League winners with their English teams, and in the most elite bracket of football managers.
“It’s absolutely no surprise,” said Sahin without a doubt. “I think these two amazing teams and these two amazing coaches, it’s no surprise to me, they’re both doing a brilliant job and I’m looking forward to the game.
“It was clear to me that both of them when I started working with them, I already felt that they were special.
“Even though I had a short period with Thomas and I had an injury and I wasn’t playing at my level, I also had some problems, not problems, but disagreements about certain things with Thomas. , but you could feel that he was an absolutely exceptional manager.
“And the same with Jurgen, they have an aura, a presence, when they stand in front of a team they can get you on board, which is very, very important.”
Klopp and Tuchel, as well as German football as a whole, are known for their obsession with tactics, which came in handy for Sahin’s quick start in management.
However, what makes the FA Cup finalists special are their personal skills, with Sahin learning a lot about the mental side from his former bosses.
He explained: “If you only have good tactics you will not succeed because we work with humans and with people, they have feelings, they have good days, bad days, so only tactics will not work.
“If it’s just tactics, a lot of games will suck because every coach has an idea.”
Sahin clearly has his ideas and is far from a replica of his former bosses, referring to ‘absolute leader’ Jose Mourinho as another example from his time at Madrid.
Nevertheless, Dortmund’s finishing school continues to produce, with Saturday’s final at Wembley likely to see plenty of other north-west German influences along the way.
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