FEATURE | Former Fortuna Düsseldorf coach Christian Preußer tasked with revamping Borussia Dortmund II

Will Edin Terzić win a title for Borussia Dortmund? If he does the new Borussia Dortmund II coach, whoever that ends up being, will play no small part in the success, if the 21/22 season is anything to go by.

Today Kicker report that Enrico Maaßen’s successor has been found: Christian Preußer is set to become the new BVB U23 coach with an announcement expected in time for the training start on Friday.

The appointment of the 38-year-old will be a big career break for the former Fortuna Düsseldorf and RW Erfurt coach who was sacked by Fortuna in February. The Berlin-born coach was replaced by Daniel Thioune after only eight months having accumulated only 20 points in 21 games.

A wealth of experience

Preußer, in spite of his young age, brings a wealth of experience. He was in charge of SC Freiburg II taking them from the fifth tier the Oberliga to the 3. Liga during his time with the club which is well-known for the strength of its academy, Freiburg II are the only other Bundesliga club whose second side is represented in the third tier, the highest an U23s team are permitted to play in Germany.

Preußer has gained a good reputation for youth work which is vital for an academy lead team like BVB. During his time in charge of Freiburg’s U23s between 2016-21, some top talents made the leap to professional football including BVB’s new centre-back Nico Schlotterbeck and his brother Keven of Freiburg’s first team and Tunisia international right-back Mohamed Dräger, now at FC Luzern.

Critically, Dortmund is gaining a highly experienced coach who brings considerable experience in the third tier with RW Erfurt where he rose through the ranks from U19s to first-team coach between 2009-16.

Enno Maaßen is a tough act to follow

Dortmund II have evidently overperformed in the past season. Not only have they been supporting the injury-hit first team with players in key positions such as in defence where they have had to cede players like Lennard Maloney and Antonios Papadopoulos but also players like striker Steffen Tigges and defender Tom Rothe.

In addition, Maaßen who led ‘Die Amas’ (BVB II) to the Regionalliga-West title in 20/21 also managed key injuries in his own squad including Germany U20 goalkeeper Luca Unbehaun and right-winger Marco Pašalić and the highly talented Immanuel Pherai turning the team around from a midseason slump to an overall impressive ninth-place finish.

Preußer, who himself had a modest playing career for BSC Berlin Altengliecke in the Regionalliga-Nordost will have to manage a team in a major upheaval in terms of the playing staff including many regulars including the side’s top strikers who have scored 16 goals this past season between them. Berkan Taz joins Waldhof Mannheim and Richmond Tachie has departed for SC Paderborn, US U20 defender Lennard Maloney also departs for 1. FC Heidenheim.

Promising arrivals in the strike force but question marks about the defence

However, Dortmund’s strike force, a weakness in the past season scoring only 51 goals overall, has the potential to be an asset in the 22/23 season. Justin Njinmah who joined from Werder Bremen II has the ability to build on the 18 goals he has scored in 34 matches in his professional career so far. The Swiss-born striker who qualifies for England through parentage. Bradley Fink is also joined by a new arrival former Bayern Munich striker Michael Eberwein who returns from Hallescher FC.

Midfield has been beefed up with Falko Michel from VfB Stuttgart II and Can Özcan from Fortuna Düsseldorf II. On the wing, Jayden Braaf from Manchester City U23s is one to watch.

BVB II conceded 48 goals in the past season which is wide off the mark the club are aiming for even if this is the first season in the third tier since 2014, the departures from the defence are compensated by the arrival of centre-back Bjarne Pudel from SC Wiedenbrück, Croatian defender Mario Suver from 1. FC Nürnberg and Valentino Vermeulen who joins from PSV Eindhoven.

The departure of second-choice keeper Stefan Drljaca should be more than compensated for by the arrival of Hertha’s Poland U21 international Marcel Lotka who indeed will be challenging Unbehaun for the top slot. Niklas Lübcke from ETB Schwarz-Weiss Essen also comes in as third choice keeper.

Strong Pedigree from his time with Freiburg II

Preußer’s preferred tactical formation with Fortuna was 3-5-2 and 4-4-2 and he has gained a reputation, particularly with SC Freiburg II with which he had a 56% win rate and he led to the Regionalliga-Südwest title in his first season in 2016/17, for an attacking possession-based football. The system is familiar to BVB fans and the club will benefit from his ability to develop talent and mould young players.

The strong combination of skills should suit BVB U23s but he was rightly criticised whilst at Fortuna and gained something of a reputation for having a ‘thin skin’ when his back is against the wall whereas in contrast a steady hand was Maaßen’s key strength. Perhaps the move to the 2. Bundesliga and Fortuna Düsseldorf came too early? Either way, BVB II will be a new chance and one with great promise.

The signings including the new coach look promising but as every coach knows the second season after the promotion is always the hardest, so it remains to be seen whether BVB II’s transfer business which Preußer will have, of course, have had little to no input in is what is needed to hold the class or even improve on this season’s mid-table finish.

Borussia Dortmund II kick off their third-tier campaign on 22 July.

Ben McFadyean

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