Ralph Hasen­hut­tl could be set for his first job since his Southamp­ton sack­ing in Novem­ber 2022.

The Aus­tri­an coach was a sur­prise appoint­ment at Southamp­ton fol­low­ing the sack­ing of Mark Hugh­es in Decem­ber 2018 and remained in charge for just under four years.

In that time, Southamp­ton became known for their aggres­sive, high-press­ing approach that Hasen­hut­tl brought from his time at RB Leipzig and fans often felt that they could beat any­one on their day. The style was in stark con­trast to the cur­rent pos­ses­sion-based style of Rus­sell Mar­tin with Hasenhuttl’s focus on tran­si­tions chalk and cheese to Martin’s prin­ci­ples of con­trol.

The prob­lem was, Southamp­ton had their day increas­ing­ly infre­quent­ly towards the end of Hasenhuttl’s time in charge and there was a feel­ing that things had gone slight­ly stale.

The deci­sion to sack Hasen­hut­tl was made in ear­ly Novem­ber 2022, two days after a damn­ing 4–1 defeat at home to New­cas­tle Unit­ed that left the Saints in the rel­e­ga­tion zone after six defeats in nine games.

Despite how his spell at the club end­ed, Hasen­hut­tl is still held in high regard by the major­i­ty of the fan­base who recog­nise the good work he did with lim­it­ed finan­cial back­ing across his tenure, but also appre­ci­ate his time at the club had run its course.

Now, after 16 months out of the game, Hasen­hut­tl could be set for a return to the dugout.

Ralph Hasenhuttl in talks to become Wolfsburg manager

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Accord­ing to Sky Sports reporter and Bun­desli­ga expert Flo­ri­an Plet­ten­berg, Hasen­hut­tl is one of the can­di­dates for the vacant man­age­r­i­al post at Wolfs­burg fol­low­ing the sack­ing of Niko Kovac.

Plet­ten­burg con­firmed the inter­est on ‘X’ with a post that spoke of how talks have tak­en place between Wolfs­burg and Hasen­hut­tl, with the ex-Saints boss ‘one of the pre­ferred options’.

Giv­en the fact that Hasen­hut­tl has had the best part of a year and a half out of the game, he is not like­ly to rush into a project he does not believe in, but Plet­ten­burg has con­firmed that the infor­ma­tion he has received sug­gests that it is a job that ‘Hasen­hut­tl can real­ly imag­ine to take over’.

Wolfs­burg are 14th in the Bun­desli­ga and just six points above the rel­e­ga­tion play-off spot. The one-time Bun­desli­ga win­ners have not won a sin­gle game in their last 11 league match­es and find them­selves on a real down­ward tra­jec­to­ry.

Should Hasen­hut­tl take the man­ag­er role he will have his work cut out, but the man­ag­er dubbed as ‘excep­tion­al’ by Pep Guardi­o­la in 2020 has pedi­gree in Ger­many hav­ing guid­ed RB Leipzig to a remark­able sec­ond placed fin­ish in their debut top flight cam­paign in the 2016/17 sea­son.

The infec­tious pos­i­tiv­i­ty Hasen­hut­tl had become syn­ony­mous with in his tenure at Southamp­ton was replaced with a jad­ed, tired out­look by the end of his time at St Mary’s. How­ev­er, time out of the game should have revi­talised the Aus­tri­an and Southamp­ton fans will no doubt keep a keen inter­est in how their for­mer boss per­forms should he be appoint­ed the new Wolsf­burg man­ag­er.

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