The meeting with Werder Bremen is likely to be a highly emotional occasion for the 31-year-old: it is the last time the Landsberg native will stand on the sidelines at the PreZero Arena as Hoffenheim boss. After nine years at the club, Nagelsmann is leaving in the summer to become RB Leipzig coach.
His departure from Hoffenheim is bound to cause some sadness. "'This club means so so much to me. I've spent almost a third of my life here. I've met so many interesting and nice people and I've learned an unbelievable amount," said TSG's longest-serving coach in a wide-ranging interview for the latest edition of the club magazine SPIELFELD.
In the summer of 2010, Nagelsmann left TSV 1860 Munich to become the TSG B-Youth assistant coach and was promoted to head coach a year later. Having served as the assistant coach for the senior squad in the second half of the 2012/13 season and watched on as the team miraculously beat the drop in Dortmund on the final day, the Bavarian was then made head coach of the U19s. He led the team to the German Championship in his very first season.
From relegation to Europe
The next step in the Nagelsmann success story came almost three and a half years ago, when he took over the reins as head coach with Hoffenheim in the relegation zone. He first steered the club to safety, then guided them to the Europa League before a third-place finish in the Bundesliga the following season secured Champions League qualification for the first time.
His time in charge of the senior squad began on 13 February 2016. Hoffenheim were second from bottom in the table at the time Nagelsmann was appointed, but in his first match in charge they picked up an important point in a 1-1 draw away to Werder Bremen − the very same opponents he will face in his last home game in charge on Saturday. "My first match in Bremen was naturally a highlight that I'll never forget. Not just because it was my debut, but because of our speedy success. Straightaway, we scored a goal thanks to link-up play between Strobl and Kramaric − just as we'd practised in training."
TSG Hoffenheim and Julian Nagelsmann have enjoyed extraordinary success in their time together. Nagelsmann has picked up 191 points from his 114 matches, transforming the team from relegation contenders to UCL participants. He will be hoping to sign off by helping the club into the Europa League. Three points against Werder will be key to achieving that objective.