Former Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund II coach David Wagner has been appointed head coach of English Championship club Norwich City.
After leaving Dortmund in 2015, Wagner joined Huddersfield Town and achieved promotion to the Premier League with the ‘Terriers’ via the play-offs in the 2016/17 season.
The former USA international built a Huddersfield team around a core of German-based players including former Dynamo Dresden centre-back Michael Hefele, 1860 centre-back Christoph Schindler, 1. FC Kaiserslautern left-back Chris Löwe and Union Berlin striker Collin Quaner.
Wagner kept the team in the Premier League in 2018/19, but with the team in last place in the Premier League, he was replaced in January 2019 by then BVB U23 coach Jan Siewert.
In 20/21 Wagner took over as Schalke 04 coach, but the crisis-ridden club which at the time was €180m in debt, dismissed Wagner after just 9 months in post after a series of 16 winless games.
In an exclusive interview with GGFN, Massimo Mariotti, who was Wagner’s assistant with Dortmund’s U23s and then worked with the German coach at Schalke 04, shared his concerns about the situation Wagner inherited at Schalke: “The club were €180m in debt and the situation for him was really difficult for him to change the culture of losing in the club.” Mariotti gave his support to Wagner as a Norwich coach: “I think he is the right guy, he brings a very high level of professionalism and can achieve a lot.”
Wagner took over from Gerado Seoane at Young Boys, which he led to a second-place finish in the Swiss league last season.
Speaking to GGFN, Stoke City’s Mario Vrančić, who played under Wagner with Borussia Dortmund II in the 2011/12 season and for Norwich City between 2017-21, said: “David is a perfect fit for Norwich, he has all the technical and personal qualities you need in a coach. The style of football he brings is intense and very challenging to play against, I would expect him to get the team playing in a high tempo, high pressing style similar to Liverpool. He is also a top bloke outside of the pitch.”
Wagner is reported to have signed a rolling one-year contract at Carrow Road. His first game will be the FA Cup match against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.
GGFN | Ben McFadyean