Edin Terzic, son of immigrant parents from former Yugoslavia, lives the dream of Dortmund. Like many other football crazy children born and raised in industrial western Germany, he often spent his formative years imagining scoring headers for the club of his choice, on the black and yellow tracks of course.
Although that dream never came true, Terzic now has the opportunity to mark his outgoing personality differently as Borussia Dortmund’s interim coach on Friday (14:20 ET, live on ESPN+) – until the end of the season. Make no mistake, it’s important to mention the heart part. In a club that is a real emotional fireball, the appointment of Terzic to replace his former boss Lucien Favre gives hope, at least in the short term, for the return of a more passionate and technically active personality.
Grace after the 5-1 humiliation of Saturday at home in Stuttgart, but not because of the performance itself. There have been too many stumbles against humble opponents: Just think of the 2-0 loss on Augsburg and the 2-1 defeat on Cologne before the demolition last weekend.
Even the older players were not really detested by their comments after a weekend of defeats. When Captain Marco Reus says we’re not a team that can defend itself well, or describes the performance as embarrassing, the ears are stretched. Mats Hummels used the little used expression too many jokes, which translates best into too many jokes in English.
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There was no sluggishness after a long discussion in the executive suite of the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund with all the managers, including managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke and sports director Michael Zorz. Favre’s fate is sealed.
Letting the Swiss tactician go was not the best option at the time, but the club felt they had no other choice. In a competition with European champions Bayern Munich and improved versions of RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg, fears of not reaching the minimum goal of a top-four finish has become realistic when the club is in fourth place, three points from the top of the table, but who have played one match more than their European rivals.
Favre was and still is a very capable coach and educator. Sources close to the club have always admired his methods and feel for football, but in a company dominated by results, it is legitimate to wonder if he can be called a master coach – someone who can win titles.
It must also be said that this includes the personality. Favre is pleasant and friendly, but somewhat distant, introverted and reserved in his public affairs. At his press briefings, we expected the usual pun that we’ve all heard before.
BVB fans need the fire and the edge of the head coach. Between 2008 and 2015 they had a chief football evangelist in the person of Jürgen Klopp and before Terzic’s appointment, almost none of the next four managers could match him. Favre could never compete in this department and never tried.
If the results do not come out and doubts arise about a style that is often too slow and too heavy, the blows on the carriage make its position untenable. Borussia Dortmund’s over-reliance on the injured Erling Haaland also revealed the true extent of the team’s poor performance.
After Favre was fired, my inbox was full of questions from all over the world about what to do next. Who’s coming to Dortmund? A big name from abroad?
Remember that we are in Germany and there is no tradition of doing what is often done in England and buying out the contract of a head coach or manager in the middle of the season. Instead, the changes are expected to take effect next summer. The usual solution is to fill in the hole, and that’s what Dortmund did.
It was speculated that Enrico Maassen, the promising U-23 coach, might get the green light, but Terzic, who is considered independent of Favre despite being part of his coaching staff, had many advantages, including his existing relationship with the first team. Let’s not forget the impact of Bayern’s promotion to assistant head coach a year ago. Could it happen the same way for Terzik?
Fault! The file name is not specified. Edin Terzic has been a Borussia Dortmund fan for a long time and now runs the club he has loved since childhood. Mario Men/DeFody Images via Getty Images
He made his coaching debut at Werder Bremen on Tuesday-evening with a 2-1 victory. But Terzik – who called, cajoled, directed and rented the technical room all evening – was generally satisfied. Symbolically, he gave 16-year-old Yussufe Mukoko his first call, making him the youngest Bundesliga player of all time, something Favre had never dared to do before.
Terzik then summarised the situation: Sometimes it was BVB football, as I imagine. I’m proud that we’ve given everything from beginning to end. He was very proud of the way they defended the victory.
However, there is still work to be done and the next test will take place on Friday against the biggest surprise of the season: Union Berlin. For the time being, Dortmund and Terzic don’t have to hide, not that the coach presents himself as a bogeyman.
The first favourite to definitively take the lead is Marco Rose of Borussia Monchengladbach, a man who admits to having learned a lot from what he knew when he played under Klopp in Mainz for six years. Rose would have an exit clause that could be activated next summer and, frankly, it’s not difficult to introduce her as Dortmund’s head coach.
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Due to the experience of the head coach of the Bundesliga at both traditional clubs and FC Salzburg, Rose has a preference over the current Austrian champion Jesse Marsch. However, the American could be an interesting candidate for Gladbach if Rose continues.
Maurizio Pochettino could be in conversation, but first he has to master the German language. It will probably be placed elsewhere by summer.
But I’m not going to look at Terzik. He has a Croatian passport and learned a lot under Slaves Bilic in Besiktas and West Ham United. During Klopp’s successful years he also held various positions at the youth academy in Dortmund.
In the end, Terzic is the embodiment of the great football madness that Rourpot is. Born in Menden, just 18 miles from Dortmund, he played semi-professionally in places like Guerne and Wattenscheid to fund his studies in sports science at Ruhr University in Bochum.
Terzic knows Borussia Dortmund like no other, as he attended his first match in the city of Westphalia at the age of nine. Expect the energy, enthusiasm and passion for football to return to the BVB fan menu, with one of them at the helm. Could he cause a title fight in Dortmund? I’m curious.