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Jess Thorup auf dem Weg zum ersten Training

Youth and experience: Thorup in focus

From striker to head coach

First Team 17.10.2023, 16:00

Jess Thorup is the new head coach of FC Augsburg. The 53-year-old previously coached the reigning Danish champions FC Copenhagen and has already stood on the touchline in the Champions League. He won the title twice in Denmark as well as one domestic cup. Here we look at the new FCA coach in focus.

Before his coaching career, the 53-year-old enjoyed a successful period on the field. The central striker learnt his trade in the youth academy of Odense BK in southern Denmark. Thorup played at this club for six years, making his debut in the Danish top tier at the age of 19. Thorup marked his arrival into professional football by winning the Danish title in his debut season. Two more cup victories followed in the next few years (1991 and 1993). Thorup’s CV also includes a spell in Germany. He spent two seasons with KFC Uerdingen in the 2. Bundesliga, before he moved to Esbjerg fB in 1998 via a short time in Austria with FC Tirol Innsbruck. After a 16-year career, Thorup called time after a period with Norwegian club Ham-Kam.

As a coach, Thorup can draw on a wealth of experience, with 12 years and over 400 matches under the Dane’s belt. He began his time in coaching with his former club Esbjerg following retirement in 2006. Initially in the role of co-trainer, Thorup eventually took the post of head coach at the club and surprisingly won the Danish Cup in 2013 after promotion back to the top tier. This success led to him being named coach of the year in his home country and after an impressive stint in Esbjerg, he moved into the national team picture. He then led the Denmark U20 and U21 sides.

Proponent of youth

Thorup puts great emphasis on the development of young players and helped nurture talents like Andreas Christensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Yussuf Poulsen, all of whom went on to impress in the Bundesliga, during his time with the Danish national sides. With the young Danes, he made his first mark on the European stage after his side were only beaten by eventual champions Sweden in the semi-finals of the U21 EUROs. After two successful years, Thorup returned to club football with FC Midtjylland. During what is the longest stint of his career so far (165 games), he won the Danish title for the first time as a coach in the 2017/18 season, and finished in the top three in the league over three successive seasons. After two spells in Belgium, firstly with KAA Gent (82 matches) and then with KRC Genk (five matches), Thorup’s coaching journey took him back to Denmark in 2020, this time to serial winners Copenhagen.

Champions League with Copenhagen

In his debut season, he achieved a respectable third place, but the following year he celebrated another title, four years after his first with FC Midtjylland. Thorup appeared on the touchline 82 times for the Blue-Whites, coached in two UEFA Champions League group games and helped to develop talents like current Wolfsburg forward Jonas Wind and young gun Rasmus Højlund of Manchester United.

After a year-long break from coaching, the 53-year-old now returns to Germany around 20 years after his time as a player with KFC Uerdingen. In Augsburg, the Dane will link up with his former protégé Niklas Dorsch (from their time in Gent) and will stand on the touchline at the WWK ARENA. He has signed a contract with FCA until 30th June 2025.

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Jess Thorup