Who are Barcelona’s two assistant coaches arriving with Hansi Flick?

Barcelona announced on Friday that Xavi Hernandez will not continue to coach the club during the final year of his contract, although that did not come as a surprise. It did not take long for his replacement to be confirmed, albeit not officially, as former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick.

The 59-year-old is scheduled to sign a two-year contract with Barcelona next week, and two coaches will join the coaching staff, replacing Sergio Allegri and Oscar Hernandez. Toni Tapalovic rose to fame as Bayern's goalkeeping coach for 12 years, turning Manuel Neuer into the best in the world, in the eyes of many.

His exit from Bayern was controversial, with Neuer describing it as his “heartburst”, after Bayern's senior management made the decision due to a difference of opinion in his methods. Since then, he has not been linked.

As a player, Tapalović navigates the lower divisions in Germany, having come through Schalke's system. After a 13-year career as a reserve player, he retired in 2011, before taking over as Bayern's goalkeeping coach. So far, it appears that Tapalovic will be Flick's assistant, rather than goalkeeping coach, as Barcelona already has Jose Ramon de la Fuente in his place, who has been in his position for 13 years.

Meanwhile, Marcus Sorge played for 15 years as a striker in the lower divisions, and began his coaching career in 1999 after retiring. After three years as Ulm coach, he began coaching Freiburg's youth team, taking over as coach for a brief four-month spell, which led to his dismissal in 2011.

Sorge returned to action in the youth ranks, now at Bayern, before being appointed coach of the German under-19 national team in 2013, winning the European Under-19 Championship the following year. In 2016, he became assistant coach of the German first team, and left with Flick in 2023 when he was sacked.

Both are likely to face a language barrier, although if Flick has been preparing for the job for as long as thought, since January or February, it is likely that both will be aware of the moves. However, Flick will have two experienced heads alongside him, in contrast to the relative inexperience of Xavi's coaching staff.


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