Hoeneß: This last name stands for title and temperament, but also controversy and polarization. After Uli and Dieter, another family representative is preparing to enter the Bundesliga stage. And that doesn’t correspond to the usual clichés.
Stuttgart, Hertha, Hoffenheim, Leipzig, FC Bayern – Sebastian Hoeneß’s vita reads like a “who is who” of German elite football. And this name alone: Hoeneß. It stands for success, for titles. Sebastian champions father Dieter and his uncle Uli won 29 championships, four national championships and champions league titles as well as world championships and European championships as players and officials. Nobody is more successful at this level.
Sebastian Hoeneß’s title collection is rather sparse compared to his father and uncle. There are only two third division championships there. And the 38-year-old’s club vitae mentioned at the beginning is anything but glamorous when you take a closer look – because instead of the first there are almost only the second and youth teams of said clubs. As a player, he came to Hertha II, Hoffenheim and back to the “branches” of the capital club through VfB youth; as a coach over the U19 from Hertha (though Zehlendorf) to the RB and Bayern youth and finally to the second team of the record champions. Now he is still on the verge of moving to the Bundesliga. According to the “kicker” Hoeneß, who just finished third division with Bayern II, is “with almost certainty” new trainer at 1899 Hoffenheim. Time to take a closer look at the 38-year-old, who was previously operating under the radar of the glittering professional world.
Photo series with 19 pictures
As an active player, Sebastian Hoeneß completed 165 games for the second substitute of Hertha BSC. (Source: Picture Point / imago images)
Coaching career well prepared
Sebastian Hoeneß was considered quite talented in his youth, but was not a high-flyer. Similar to father and uncle, he made the best of it – as well as with the meticulous planning of his subsequent coaching career. A certain disposition for this could already be guessed in the last few years of his playing career: “The Basti showed strong leadership qualities and acted like a coach on the pitch”, said for example Karsten Heine, under whom Hoeneß played 114 regional and league games for Hertha II, in an “11 friends” interview about his ex-captain. And when he became aware at the end of the zero years that it would no longer be enough for the 2nd Bundesliga as an active player and that this was not absolutely desirable for him, he began to look into the time after active football.
At the end of his twenties he made his first coaching certificates and in the first year after completing his career he attended top coaches like Huub Stevens, Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola. Although he was only a week’s training observer, these impressions shaped him. In an interview with “Goal.com” he reports on longer conversations with Tuchel and Guardiola. The latter “talked to me intensively about football for one hour at eye level. Just because he felt like it. It was extremely exciting for me.”
The first steps as a trainer in southwest Berlin
Hoeneß ‘first steps as a coach then followed at the well-known talent factory Hertha Zehlendorf, whose youth teams had already trained national players such as Christian Ziege, Antonio Rüdiger and the Kovac brothers. In peace and deliberately in the tranquil southwest of Berlin, where he was not constantly asked about his last name. What was already clear at the time: there was someone here who was willing not to take the second step before the first and to develop bit by bit.
The author of this text also noticed this when he met Hoeneß for an interview in 2011 on the club premises on Berlin’s Uncle Tom Street. Questions about his famous last name were rather embarrassing for Hoeneß, instead he kept highlighting his coaching team and thanking the club management for giving him this opportunity. When the interview was later released, Hoeneß was extremely cautious at first – for a youth coach at a club that is relatively unknown in Germany – because he had previously “had no good experiences” with journalists. Also because of his last name.
Sebastian Hoeneß (left) was not happy as a player at 1899 Hoffenheim, only played three games in the 2006/07 season and then left the club. (Source: Sportnah / imago images)
The relationship with Ralf Rangnick
“From time to time I would like to be recognized as Sebastian – and not just as Hoeneß,” said the former midfielder of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. And he succeeded more and more after the first steps as a trainer in Zehlendorf. Because his work there caught the attention of Ralf Rangnick, who still knew him from Hoffenheim. “At that time he sent out scouts who watched me train and run games without my knowledge,” said Hoeneß at “Goal.com”.
The result: He moved to RB Leipzig, where he worked first as a scout and then as a youth coach. The previous collaboration with Rangnick was not exactly the most successful time in Hoeneß’s career. “Despite my difficult sporting time in Hoffenheim, contact with him never broke off. We still had a good relationship,” said Hoeneß, who sees his failure in Hoffenheim soberly today: “Ralf Rangnick let me play right from the start. Me I failed to do so in the games I played in. “
Why Uli Hoeneß didn’t want to see his nephew at Bayern
Sometimes it can be that simple. And Hoeneß approached his next job at FC Bayern pragmatically – because he moved there after four years in Leipzig in the summer of 2017. His famous uncle Uli was initially “not taken with the idea”, as Sebastian Hoeneß said in an interview with ” Süddeutsche Zeitung “revealed. The reason: “Uli knew what this could entail, that there is always something resonating.”
But he accepted the challenge – also thanks to Hermann Gerland’s advocacy – and mastered it with flying colors. And that despite the fact that some fans were not at all enthusiastic about his obligation and expressed this with signs such as “Big name does not make a great coach”.
But Hoeneß was not put off by this, especially since the move to Munich also appealed to him tactically: “The coaches at RB were trained primarily in the game against the ball. That brought me a lot, but I felt like it, sometimes the other side, namely to get to know the game with the ball, “said Hoeneß, who took over the second team after two years with the A-Juniors last summer.
With the second team from Bayern Munich, Sebastian Hoeneß won his first title as coach with the third division championship. (Source: Jan Huebner / imago images)
And with this he started especially after the Corona break: Thanks to seven wins and only one defeat from eleven games, the Munich team pushed past clubs such as former champions Eintracht Braunschweig or MSV Duisburg to first place. There was a game almost every three days – an unusual situation for the young, inexperienced team (average age: 21.7 years). But Hoeneß ‘team mastered this phase of high stress like no other third division team. A fact that also makes him interesting for the Hoffenheimers who will be represented internationally in the coming season. Because for the TSG – due to the Bundesliga start postponed to mid-September – there will be a game every three or four days.
With the move to TSG, Hoeneß, who has always done well “just go my way and not take too big steps”, would skip a league for the first time in his coaching career. It remains to be seen whether he will succeed. At least that with high expectations due to the last name should not impress him further. And his uncle meanwhile also says: “At the beginning he had many prejudices because his name is Hoeneß. I am very happy that he does such a great job.”