Loyalty is very rarely seen in modern football. Gone are the days when a player or manager would dedicate their entire career to a single club.
Premier League had seen the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger lead their clubs for 20-plus seasons. Such statistics are hard to find in the beautiful game these days. Enter Heidenheim FC manager Frank Schmidt.
The Heidenheim manager has won the 2022/23 Bundesliga 2 and in doing so has helped the German club earn automatic promotion to Bundesliga. But how good is the German manager and is he capable of keeping Heidenheim up in the league for 2023/24 season?
Who is Frank Schmidt? – An analysis
Frank Schmidt is a 49-year-old German professional football manager who is the head coach of the newly promoted team Heidenheim in the Bundesliga. Schmidt has been the manager of the club since 2007 and will complete 16 years with the club in September 2023.
The Heidenheim manager played for the German club in the last 3 years of his professional career as a player before joining as an interim coach in 2007. That interim period was supposed to be for only two games, but here we are.
Impressed with his man-management skills and ability to get the best out of the players and resources at his disposal, the Heidenheim board decided to give him the role on a full-time basis.
Luton Town have been promoted to @premierleague👏💯
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Since then he has been a part of the upward trajectory the club has been on, taking the club from the fifth tier of German football to now the Bundesliga. In doing so, they have become just the second club in the 21st century to play in both the fifth tier of German football and the Bundesliga both. RB Leipzig are the other team to do so, but the only difference here being the financial backing Heidenheim and Frank Schmidt never had.
Frank Schmidt’s tactics and style of play
Frank Schmidt has had to mould his teams according to the different leagues he has played in for the last 16 years. The journey from fifth tier to Bundesliga hasn’t been an easy one and Schmidt knew he had to keep more than one plan ready to defy the odds.
He has shaped different teams according to the different league Heidenheim have played in, making them an unpredictable force in German football. This helped him create belief in the squad he has managed over the years, and the players entrusted him with selecting the right lineups for the right moments.
The Heidenheim manager’s tactics usually depends on the opponents. But one thing that never changes are his attacking outlets. Schmidt heavily relies on his attacking duo of Tim Kleindienst and Jan-Niklas Beste.
Kleindienst is a tall centre-forward and acts as a target man for his teammates, making full use of his frame and height. On the other hand, Beste loves to hover around the left flank and drop his shoulder every now and then to beat his markers. Both players have 37 goals and 18 assists between them, making it 70% of Heidenheims goal contribution this season.
Kleindienst has 25 goals for Heidenheim in the 2022/23 Bundesliga 2 season and Beste has 12 goals and assists a piece which made them the most lethal attacking duo in the Bundesliga 2.
Coming to the formation Schmidt prefers, 4-2-3-1 is his go-to system. The traditional formation helps him get the best out of this current set of Heidenheim players.
Frank Schmidt and Heidenheim have had a brilliant last decade and it can only get better from here. With Bundesliga status now all but confirmed Schmidt can now shift his focus towards how can he build a squad that can cope with the difficulties of another new and intense league.
This will be his toughest ever assignment so far in his managerial career. But if Heidenheim’s progress since 2007 is anything to go by, they are not to be taken lightly.