In his nice advent calendar game, Rene Maric chatted something out of the box, revealing which player was one of the smartest gamers he has managed to train so far.
The young assistant coach started his career as an amateur trainer and tactical blogger. He made his name in German-speaking countries especially with his analysis, before joining Marco Rose's U18 team at Red Bull Salzburg in 2016 and quickly winning the UEFA Youth League.
Meanwhile, the 27-year-old has moved on to Rose and Alexander Zickler to Borussia Mönchengladbach, where the "foals" have quickly established themselves at the top of the Bundesliga.
The trainer has started a small advent calendar on Twitter, where he answers a selected user question every day and donates to a charity.
So one user asked which were the most intelligent kickers he had been allowed to train so far. Maric made an interesting selection: Neo-Hoffenheimer Diadie Samassekou, Bald-Liverpooler Takumi Minamino, Captain Andreas Ulmer and Neo-Wolfsburg's Xaver Schlager.
Everyone knows that Sixes Samassekou and Whirlwind Minamino behave smartly on the field. Maric also appreciates the two for their good communication, because "they can also articulate their thoughts deliberately away from the field."
Oldie Ulmer is surprising to some, but for Maric it stands out above all because of the team's tactical intelligence, ie position play, footpaths and, in Salzburg's case: pressing.
Last but not least: Xaver Schlager. The midfield engine from Glasner's VfL Wolfsburg convinced Maric because of his individual tactical intelligence. It means how well the kicker implements, among other things, game plans and guidelines, but also how to hit opponents correctly and keep playing the ball.