FEATURE | What will Marco Rose bring to Borussia Dortmund?

It was common knowledge that Marco Rose had a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Borussia Mönchengladbach at the end of the season, which made the latter’s statement on Monday surprising only in its timing. Sporting director Max Eberl confirmed the 44-year-old will leave Borussia Park at the end of the campaign to move to Borussia Dortmund.

In the aftermath of the announcement, Rose has attempted to reassure Gladbach supporters that he remains committed to the club, saying he stands by his current employers “100%”. It is not uncommon for personnel changes to be revealed so far in advance in Germany – last week, Dayot Upamecano’s switch to Bayern was confirmed five months early, while Julian Nagelsmann stayed at Hoffenheim for a whole season after agreeing to join RB Leipzig. Still, this will do little to help Gladbach’s stability.

For Dortmund, it was important to settle on a new boss as early as possible, although they could do with Rose immediately. Unfortunately, Die Schwarzgelben’s Hansi Flick-style experiment with Edin Terzić hasn’t worked out. Since replacing Lucien Favre, to whom he was assistant manager, Terzić has amassed 1.4 points per game in the Bundesliga – significantly less than his predecessor’s 1.7. He has failed to sort out Dortmund’s passive start to matches, and the team remain far too reliant on Erling Braut Haaland to provide moments of magic.

Rose, meanwhile, has already earned himself a reputation as one of Europe’s best young coaches. At Red Bull Salzburg, he led their U19 side to a UEFA Youth League triumph before making the step up to the senior team. Given Salzburg’s financial superiority over their domestic competitors, winning the Austrian Bundesliga is almost a formality, but their performances on the European stage attracted attention. Salzburg reached the Europa League semi-finals and quarter-finals in Rose’s two seasons at the helm.

He has continued to get results in Germany, taking Gladbach back to the Champions League last season. They have already made the round of 16 this term, the first time they have progressed beyond the group stage since the tournament was rebranded in 1992.

Rose’s arrival is unlikely to lead to a tactical overhaul – his Gladbach side are usually deployed in a 4-2-3-1 formation also used by Terzić – but Hans-Joachim Watzke and Co. will be hoping he can bring a new energy to the team. Gladbach are noticeably aggressive in their pressing, and his belief in quick transitions should work well with the fast, athletic players he will have at his disposal in Dortmund.

Gladbach’s results against Bayern will have also caught Watzke’s eye. While Dortmund have lost five of their last six against the Bavarians and won just once, Gladbach have defeated the German champions two times in three matches under Rose. If BVB want to get their hands back on the Bundesliga title, they will need to prove they can prevail against the best of the best, and the incoming manager has the track record to show it can be done.

Rose’s biggest obstacle could well be something he cannot control. Reports in Germany have suggested Dortmund could lose up to 10 players should they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League. That number is exaggerated, but Haaland and Jadon Sancho, for example, are unlikely to be happy in the Europa League or worse, the inaugural Europa Conference. Rose will want to hit the ground running – several big-name departures would do little to help his cause.

Dortmund fans expecting Rose to bring some of his Gladbach stars with him to the Signal-Iduna Park are set to be disappointed. Florian Neuhaus and Marcus Thuram, in particular, have grown in stature over the past couple of seasons, but Rose has emphasised he will not be raiding his former club when he takes up his new job.

One positive for Rose, at least, is the clarity of his task at Dortmund – he has to bring silverware. Since winning the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal in 2012, the Ruhr outfit have won just one major trophy, the Pokal in 2017. For Germany’s second-most successful club, that is underwhelming. While any cup would be met with appreciation, knocking Bayern off their perch in the top tier is the pinnacle – should Rose achieve that, he could well end up a Dortmund legend.

Jon Radcliffe


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