Two steps forward, one step back: an expression that epitomises Borussia Dortmund’s struggles over the past few years. Just when they appear to be on the right track, the wheels come off, and the ‘Schwarzgelben’ have to begin their plan for Bundesliga success all over again.
Marco Rose’s first year at the Signal Iduna Park was far from a successful one. They may have scored more goals in the league in 2021/22 than any previous campaign, but Dortmund still finished a distant second to Bayern Munich, while early knockouts in the DFB Pokal, Champions League and Europa League only compounded the sense of failure.
Still, the consensus amongst experts was that the former Borussia Mönchengladbach head coach had done enough to merit a second campaign in charge, especially given Hans-Joachim Watzke and Co. had already been busy in the transfer market, bringing in Nico Schlotterbeck, Niklas Süle and Karim Adeyemi. Therefore, it was a shock when his departure was announced last week, and his replacement comes as an even bigger surprise.
Edin Terzić is Dortmund through and through – a supporter of the Ruhr outfit, he has previously been on their books as a scout, youth assistant coach, first-team assistant coach and, most recently, manager. The 39-year-old replaced Lucien Favre, his boss, in December 2020 on an interim basis following BVB’s embarrassing 5-1 defeat at home to Stuttgart and ultimately provided success, leading Dortmund to a Pokal triumph and a top-four finish.
Ultimately, he was deemed too inexperienced to take on the job permanently. Instead, he moved into a technical director role at his request, working alongside Michael Zorc and Sebastian Kehl. Although a respected figure at the club, he remains the same manager he was 12 months ago, so what has changed?
It may simply be a case of the hierarchy realising what they had. Terzić brought several players left out in the cold by Favre back into the fold – Mahmoud Dahoud and Łukasz Piszczek, in particular, impressed when given another chance – and, from a motivational point of view, there is little to fault. Dortmund won nine of their last ten game in all competitions, and each of their last eight, to end the 20/21 season on a high. There was a distinct improvement in the team from where they were under Favre, and, for that, Terzić deserves credit.
However, rejuvenating a broken team halfway through a season is different from being given the reins to a project for three years. Dortmund have already spent a considerable amount of money ahead of next season, and more arrivals are likely – FC Köln’s Salih Özcan is the latest player to sign on the dotted line. Is Terzić the right man to lead this revolution? Only time will tell.