Jurgen Klopp showed the potential for coaching greatness early in his career, according to former Mainz forward Benjamin Auer.
Auer, who was coming off a starring role with Germany at the U-20 World Cup in 2001, moved to Mainz the following year.
Mainz were helmed at the time by Klopp, who secured his first head coaching job in 2001 when he was appointed manager of the 2. Bundesliga outfit.
Even in his maiden role in the dugout, Auer recalls that Klopp showed some of the coaching potential that would eventually lead him to massive success with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.
"First of all, I was warmly welcomed by him and the whole club. Jurgen was still in the early stages of his career but even then [he was] an absolute motivator. Moreover, he always had new ideas," Auer told Goal.
Klopp wasn't the only high-profile German coach Auer worked with during his playing career, as the forward also played under current Germany boss Joachim Low at Karlsruher during the 1999-00 season.
That campaign did not treat Low or Auer kindly, as Karlsruher were relegated from the 2. Bundesliga and Low was sacked before completing the season.
Still, Auer remembers Low as an innovator, calling his training sessions a "quantum leap" forward from what he knew previously.
"He had a special way of talking," Auer said of the 2014 World Cup winner. "The way he stressed sentences, that stuck with me and that is how he still talks today.
"I have found him to be very innovative professionally. The training methodology we had under him at the Karlsruher was a quantum leap from what I knew from my youth.
"I also have very positive memories of him in human terms. He always showed us young players what we could improve and how. Unfortunately, we were not successful under him. In the end, we were relegated, but that was not due to Jogi Low, but to the composition of the squad."
After leaving Karlsruher, Low would go on to manage in Turkey and Austria before becoming an assistant manager under Jurgen Klinsmann with Germany in 2004. Low was promoted to head coach in 2006.