Pioneering reds to the Reds: Why Jürgen Klopp’s pressing is a perfect fit for the age | Jonathan Wilson

The dominant style of football’s hyper-capitalistic age has its origins in the unlikeliest of places A training field near Ostfildern, in the forest south-east of Stuttgart. It’s February 1983, and local sixth-tier side Viktoria Backnang are playing a friendly against Valeriy Lobanovskyi’s Dynamo Kyiv, who are wintering at Sportschule Ruit. For Viktoria’s young player-manager, Ralf Rangnick, it is a revelatory experience. When the ball goes out of play for a throw-in early on, Rangnick counts the Dynamo players, half-believing they had sneaked an extra man on to the pitch. They hadn’t, but such was the ferocity of their pressing that it felt as if they had. And so a seed was planted that has had a profound impact on football’s tactical development. Dynamo kept coming to Ruit and Rangnick, who is now the head of sport and development at Red Bull, kept studying them. As his career developed he became part of a group of coaches fascinated by the possibilities of zonal marking and pressing, radical ideas in a