It is a memory that still provokes a smile from Thomas Tuchel’s teacher at the Simpert-Kraemer high school in his home town of Krumbach. Tuchel was studying for the German equivalent of his A-Level in physical education but the rest of the class had decided to head for the pub. “Basically to drink a few beers,” says Hans Komm. And then there was a knock on the office door. It was Tuchel and he wanted to know if Komm could instead get some footballs out for him to practice with. “Every other student was drinking a beer at the pub – and he was running around the pitch with a ball,” says Komm. “Thomas was very disciplined. He did not drink alcohol – never throughout his whole time as a student. He was eager, talented and always wanted to win. He was also a little stubborn. He had his own mind and didn’t really always hear other people’s thoughts. He wanted to go down his own path.” Such drive made him an invaluable part of the school football, handball and volleyball teams. Krumbach is a Bavarian town of only 13,000 people but, inspired by Tuchel, the footballers triumphed against some of the biggest schools in Germany at the 1987 national finals in Berlin. “Even then, he always had this tactical approach to sport – and would make changes and swap the football or volleyball team around,” says Komm. “He had an independent mind and, when it mattered, he worked hard and seriously. I feel great pride to see what he has achieved.” Tuchel’s father was a coach at the local SpVgg Krumbach club and, according to their director Jonas Schlosser, “also had high expectations of the players”.