On Thursday, 13 May at 20:45 CEST in Berlin’s Olympiastadion, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund will battle it out in the 78th DFB-Pokal final. For BVB, this will be their tenth final, while for the much younger RB Leipzig, it will be their second final after finishing runners up in 2019. For both coaches, however, this final will be a first: Julian Nagelsmann and Edin Terzic are hoping to win their first bit of silverware as coaches in professional football.
Silverware aside, both coaches will have a record to their name as soon as the game gets underway. In the history of the DFB-Pokal, which has operated under the current name since 1953, there has never been a younger pair of coaches going head-to-head in the final. Terzic is 38 and Nagelsmann only 33, giving an average of 35.5, which brings them ahead of Michael Lorkowski and Jürgen Gelsdorf, who squared up in 1992. Lorkowski (37 at the time) served up a shock as his Hannover 96 side beat Borussia Mönchengladbach, coached by 39-year-old Gelsdorf, on penalties. This was the last time that a second division side lifted the trophy. That won’t change next week, but Lorkowski and Gelsdorf’s shared record will be broken by Nagelsmann and Terzic.
However, the youngest ever average for two coaches in a German cup final was, and will remain, Alwin ‘Alv’ Riemke (30) and Dr. Otto Neumann (37) in the 1939 Tschammer-Pokal final between 1. FC Nürnberg and Waldhof Mannheim, which was not played until 28 April 1940 in Berlin’s Olympiastadion due to the outbreak of the second world war. Riemke, who had already won the Swiss double with Lausanne as a player coach at the age of 25(!), led Nürnberg to a 2-0 victory in the final, making him the youngest ever cup-winning coach in German football history.
Eight months later, incidentally, he returned to the final, still 30 years old, but lost to 40-year-old Georg Köhler’s Dresdner SC. Riemke began a career with the DFB in the post-war years, sat on the committee and was part of the delegation at the 1966 World Cup.
The youngest ever coach to win the DFB-Pokal, as the competition is now called, more neutrally and in decisive dissociation from the years of national-socialism, was Hans-Dieter Tippenhauer. The then 35-year-old led Fortuna Düsseldorf to the 1979 final against Hertha BSC and watched his side take the trophy with a 1-0 thanks to a Wolfgang Seel goal in extra time. Nagelsmann, who turns 34 on 23 July, could therefore set a new record next Thursday.
The youngest ever coach to lose a DFB-Pokal final was Hermann Gerland, who was 33 (same age as Nagelsmann) when his VfL Bochum side lost the 1988 final against Eintracht Frankfurt. The next youngest in the list are Jupp Derwall, who later became national team coach, in 1961 with Düsseldorf and former Duisburg coach Willibert Kremer in 1975 – both were 35 years young.
Should BVB win the cup next week, Edin Terzic would become the seventh youngest head coach winner since the war. Bremen’s Thomas Schaaf (1999) and Gladbach’s Bernd Krauss (1995) were the same age as Terzic is now. Ahead of him: Ludwig Janda (1956, Karlsruher SC), Michael Lorkowski (1992, Hannover 96) and Udo Lattek (1971, Bayern), who were all 36, and of course Hans-Dieter Tippenhauer (1979, Fortuna Düsseldorf), leading the way with 35.