David Wagner (soccer)

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David Wagner
David Wagner 110919 1.jpg
Wagner as Schalke 04 manager in 2019
Personal information
Full nameDavid Wagner [1]
Date of birth (1971-10-19) 19 October 1971 (age 49) [1]
Place of birth Frankfurt, West Germany [2]
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) [1]
Position(s) Striker
Club information
Current team
Young Boys (manager)
Youth career
SV Geinsheim
Senior career*
1990–1991 Eintracht Frankfurt 1 (0)
1991–1995 Mainz 05 94 (19)
1995–1997 Schalke 04 29 (2)
1997–1999 FC Gütersloh 49 (7)
1999 Waldhof Mannheim 5 (0)
1999–2002 Darmstadt 98 76 (21)
2002–2004 TSG Weinheim 23 (8)
2004–2006 Germania Pfungstadt 0 (0)
National team
1992 Germany U21 1 (0)
1996–1998 United States 8 (0)
Teams managed
2011–2015 Borussia Dortmund II
2015–2019 Huddersfield Town
2019–2020 Schalke 04
2021– Young Boys
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

David Wagner (born 19 October 1971) is a professional football manager and former player. He is currently manager of Swiss Super League side Young Boys.


Wagner grew up in West Germany and made his professional debut with Eintracht Frankfurt in 1990 and played as a striker for several clubs in the first and second divisions of German football. The son of an American father and German mother, Wagner played for the United States national team, earning eight caps between 1996 and 1998.

From 2011 to 2015, he managed Borussia Dortmund II. Wagner left in November 2015 to take the job at Huddersfield Town, which he led to the Premier League via the 2017 EFL Championship play-off Final. He left Huddersfield in January 2019, soon afterwards taking the manager position at Bundesliga club Schalke 04 in July 2019.

Early life and club career

Wagner was born in Frankfurt, West Germany. [2] His biological father is from Thailand, [3] his mother is German. [4] Before his birth, Wagner's mother married an American. [3]

Wagner was a journeyman striker for his playing career, playing primarily for Mainz 05, Darmstadt 98, FC Gütersloh, and Schalke 04. He also had short at Waldhof Mannheim, Eintracht Frankfurt and TSG Weinheim and Germania Pfungstadt. He enjoyed his best spell at Mainz scoring 19 times in his four years at the club. Former teammate and lifelong friend Jurgen Klopp recalled that "He wasn't very consistent, even if he does not want to hear it [...] He was a big talent, but not every day. He was very a young player when he came from Eintracht Frankfurt to Mainz, a very skilled boy, very quick, a good striker." [5] He was part of the Schalke squad that won the 1997 UEFA Cup.

International career

In 1996, Wagner was recruited along with fellow Bundesliga player Michael Mason by manager Steve Sampson for the United States national team. Sampson had never seen either of them play but had been recommended Wagner and Mason by U.S. player Thomas Dooley. Dooley, like Mason and Wagner had American citizenship but had been raised in Germany. Wagner had played for Germany's U18 and U21 teams earlier in his career. While this gave him additional credibility with Sampson, his earlier international career risked making him ineligible to play for the United States.

Wagner made his debut in a friendly 3–1 win over El Salvador in Los Angeles on 30 August 1996, in which he was substituted at half-time for Brian McBride. He made five appearances the following year and two more in 1998, all but one as a starter. [6] [7]

In April 1997, after Canada lost to the United States in a World Cup qualifying match in which Wagner played, the Canadian Soccer Association complained to FIFA that Wagner should be ineligible to play for the United States based on his appearances for Germany's youth teams. On 2 May 1997, FIFA announced that Wagner was eligible to play for the United States because his games with the German teams were exhibitions, not official matches. [8] However, Wagner was rarely called into the U.S. team afterward and he was not named to the squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Managerial career

Borussia Dortmund II

Following his playing career, Wagner became a manager, working mostly with his former 1. Mainz 05 teammate Jürgen Klopp. Wagner was appointed as Borussia Dortmund II manager with effect from 1 July 2011. [9] He left the role on 31 October 2015, amidst rumours that he was going to join Klopp's backroom staff at Liverpool. [10] [11]

Huddersfield Town

On 5 November 2015, Wagner was appointed manager of English club Huddersfield Town following the departure of Chris Powell. [12] He brought Christoph Bühler, who had left Borussia Dortmund on 1 November 2015, with him as his assistant. [10] [13]

In the summer of 2016, Wagner brought in 13 players from across the continent, including Danny Ward, Chris Löwe, and Aaron Mooy. He took his players on a bonding tour of Sweden, where they had to survive with only basic equipment for a few days. [14] The team's success in the early 2016–17 season was largely accredited to the squad's tight bond, something that Wagner claimed was a direct result of this Sweden trip. A few weeks later, they visited Austria and kept two clean sheets in matches against Bundesliga sides Werder Bremen and Ingolstadt 04. [15] After an unbeaten start to the 2016–17 season, Huddersfield were top of the table at the start of September, [16] including a win at St James' Park against Newcastle United. [16] [17]

On 29 May 2017, Huddersfield secured promotion to the Premier League for the 2017–18 season, following a victory on penalties in the play-off final against Reading. [18] [19] On 30 June 2017, Wagner signed an improved two-year contract. [20] He was praised for his achievements in keeping Huddersfield in the Premier League at the end of the 2017–18 season, a feat regarded by bookmakers as improbable and described by The Guardian as "the Premier League's greatest survival story", with Wagner in particular noted as "a leader of rare charisma and intelligence." [21]

On 14 January 2019, Wagner and Huddersfield Town agreed to terminate his contract by mutual consent, with the team in last place and eight points from safety. [22]

Schalke 04

On 9 May 2019, Wagner was appointed as manager of Bundesliga club Schalke 04 on a three-year contract until 30 June 2022. [23] In the second half of the 2019–20 season, Schalke set a new club record of 16 league games without a win between 25 January and 27 June 2020. [24] The winless streak continued with an 0–8 defeat against Bayern Munich in the first match of the 2020–21 season. [25] After a 1–3 defeat against Werder Bremen, the 18th winless league match in a row, Wagner was sacked on 27 September 2020. [26]

Young Boys

In the summer of 2021, Wagner was heavily linked with the vacant manager's position at recently relegated Championship side West Bromwich Albion, however talks broke down. [27] On 10 June 2021, Wagner was appointed manager of Swiss Super League reigning champions Young Boys. [28]


Wagner is married. The couple has two daughters, Lynn and Lea. His daughter Lea works as a sports presenter for the public regional broadcasting company SWR. [29] She is also part of the team of reporters for Sportschau on ARD. [30]

Career statistics



Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
ClubSeasonLeagueNational Cup [lower-alpha 1] ContinentalTotal
Eintracht Frankfurt 1990–91 Bundesliga 100010
Mainz 05 1991–92 2. Bundesliga 8 [lower-alpha 2] 00080
1992–93 2. Bundesliga4311214512
1993–94 2. Bundesliga35710367
1994–95 2. Bundesliga811091
Schalke 04 1995–96 Bundesliga16210172
1996–97 Bundesliga1301051191
FC Gütersloh 1997–98 2. Bundesliga23400234
1998–99 2. Bundesliga26310273
Waldhof Mannheim 1999–2000 2. Bundesliga501060
Darmstadt 98 1999–2000 Regionalliga Süd 19600196
2000–01Regionalliga Süd3111003111
2001–02Regionalliga Süd26430294
TSG Weinheim 2003–04 Oberliga Ba-Wü 23800238
Pfungstadt2004–05Regionalliga Süd000000
Career total277571115129359
  1. Includes DFB-Pokal
  2. Appearances in 2. Bundesliga Süd as the league was split into a 'North' and 'South' due to the merging of clubs from former East Germany


National teamYearAppsGoals
United States 199750


Managerial record by team and tenure
Borussia Dortmund II 1 July 201131 October 2015164574760034.8 [31]
Huddersfield Town 9 November 201514 January 2019154513370033.1 [32]
Schalke 04 1 July 201927 September 202040121216030.0 [32]
Young Boys 1 July 2021Present0000! [32]



Schalke 04


Huddersfield Town


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