Hoffenheim hit the heights to make Nagelsmann more desirable than ever | Andy Brassell

Coach’s stock has risen again after managing a heavy workload expertly to bring his club into the Champions League reckoning

It was, according to Julian Nagelsmann, “a strange game”, as he resisted basking in the latest episode of his Hoffenheim side’s increasing thrilling end to the season. Given that their afternoon in the sun at Red Bull Arena went to form, emphatically so in fact, with RB Leipzig as leaky at present as Hoffenheim are lithe, one might take issue with the description. It’s pretty much the only area in which Nagelsmann can be challenged.

His sporting director, Alexander Rosen, had told Kicker in an interview on Friday that a top-six finish, and Europa League qualification, would be “a sensational achievement”. Now, after tearing Leipzig to shreds on their own turf, Hoffenheim are well poised to finally capture a prize which looked impossible until very recently – Champions League football, with Die Kraichgauer only two points behind fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen three games before the end of the season.

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