A look back at Ralf Rangnick's history with Sir Alex Ferguson
Manchester United have been searching for a worthy successor to Sir Alex Ferguson ever since he stepped down in 2013.
The man now temporarily tasked with attempting to steer Manchester United back towards success is Ralf Rangnick.
Rangnick is set to be appointed as interim manager until end of the season, The Athletic report.
One added factor in Rangnick’s favour, along with his revolutionary tactical approach and strong recruitment track record, is his previous experience going up against United.
Rangnick led Schalke against Ferguson’s United in 2011 and learned how good the great Scot’s team could be at their best.
How Rangnick got there
Rangnick took over as Schalke boss in March 2011, inheriting a team already into the Champions League quarter-finals.
He then led Schalke to a surprise win over reigning champions Inter Milan over two legs.
A stunning 5-2 away win in the first leg saw Schalke make the victory a formality, with Spanish legend Raul scoring, along with young prospect Joel Matip, now of Liverpool.
Schalke won the second leg 2-1 to seal a 7-3 aggregate victory, having told The Telegraph: “We are leading 5-2 at half-time. Now we have to go out and be equally dominant as in Milan. We will play as if it is 0-0.”
After the second leg, Rangnick told BBC Sport: “Against Manchester, we are clearly outsiders but who knows, if everything comes together maybe we can even reach the final.”
Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for Rangick’s side. He told The Guardian: “They never looked like losing the game and that’s quite a credit to them in terms of playing a side like Inter Milan. They always looked in complete control.”
Rangnick spoke ahead of the tie of his excitement to meet Sir Alex Ferguson and be able to go up against him.
The coach told UEFA.com: “He is the complete boss. You can only take your hat off to the 30 years he has coached and reigned over that club. The fact he still feels that fire and desire to lead the team to titles is extraordinary.”
He added, like a starstruck young protege: “I’m looking forward to facing him and meeting him personally before or after the match.”
A semi-final lesson
After knocking out Chelsea in the quarter-finals, Manchester United were clear favourites against Schalke.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were in the groove and secured a 2-0 away win the first leg, with Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney on the scoresheet, almost putting the tie beyond doubt already.
Ferguson said after the first leg, via The Guardian: “We’ve had some fantastic performances in Europe and Juventus [in 1999] will always be high on the list but this certainly ranks as one of the best.
“Our concentration and the intensity of our play and the speed of our passing was outstanding.”
It was credit to Rangnick’s Schalke that they had prompted United to raise their game accordingly.
United won the second leg 4-2, with Antonio Valencia, Darron Gibson, and Anderson (2) netting Champions League semi-final goals.
United went on to lose the final 3-1 to Barcelona at Wembley.
Schalke were ultimately outmatched, having peaked against Inter in the previous round.
This was Rangnick’s second spell at Schalke and he stepped down later in 2011 to take a spell away from football, before resurfacing with RB Leipzig in 2012 as director and becoming manager in 2015.
Speaking after the second leg defeat, Rangnick told Goal: “He [Sir Alex Ferguson] asked if we could have a drink together after the press conference – we’ll see how long this all takes.”
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