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Sport: Little-known 'Professor' can transform United

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Alexander Baumjohann is backing his former mentor Ralf Rangnick to not only survive but thrive in the Manchester United pressure cooker.

German coach Rangnick has been appointed United's interim manager until the end of the season after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was mercifully sacked last month.

Baumjohann, the former Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers star, played under Rangnick at Schalke 04 - including a Champions League semifinal against United in 2011.

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Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick gives instructions to Alex Baumjohann and Edu in 2011. © Getty Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick gives instructions to Alex Baumjohann and Edu in 2011.

"He is like a professor, right? He knows everything about football," Baumjohann said on the latest edition of Stan Sport FC.

"I remember when he took over, 2011, when Felix Magath got sacked and we had two weeks because there were national games. So those two weeks we just worked so much on tactics and he showed us how to play, the way he wanted to play, pressing and all this stuff. Three or four weeks after we beat Inter Milan in Milan, 5-2, and we really outplayed them.

"His knowledge is just incredible and I think he's the right coach for Manchester United."

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Ralph Rangnick of RB Leipzig reacts during a UEFA Europa League match. © Getty Ralph Rangnick of RB Leipzig reacts during a UEFA Europa League match.

Rangnick, who also enjoyed success at RB Leipzig, has a strong track record of developing young players and implementing an effective pressing system.


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Baumjohann admitted it would be "interesting" to see how he managed United superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba but believed he had the nous to do so.

"This pressure now, I mean he never worked for a club this size, United for me is still the best club in England, for sure," the former Germany under-21 international said.

Davie Selke of RB Leipzig showers his coach Ralf Rangnick with beer. © Bongarts/Getty Images Davie Selke of RB Leipzig showers his coach Ralf Rangnick with beer.

"So it will be interesting and I wish him all the best. I think with his quality, he can make it. When Rangnick took over (at Schalke), we just worked so much on video and on the pitch. When we did games or tactic sessions, he always stopped the training to explain us things, him and his assistant.

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"And you could see straight away that his knowledge is just crazy. When we played our first game our players saw what he explained to us, tactic-wise, and we just did what he wanted us to do. Things worked and we really outplayed other teams.

"That gives you as a player the confidence that he is doing the right stuff."

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Baumjohann also shared an interesting story from 2011 as Schalke prepared for its blockbuster Champions League semifinal against United at Old Trafford.

"Me and him, we had to go to the press conference the day before the game.

Normally at the press conference, with the away team, you speak in your own language and you have people there to translate. But he wanted to speak in English, he wanted to show that he is also ready for a job in England. He told me after that his target would be to one day coach in England.

"I think he had some options already but he's waited for the right club and I think Manchester United is the right club for him."

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