BORUSSIA DORTMUND HIRE LUCIEN FAVRE
The 2017-18 season was brutal in Dortmund, newly appointed head coach Peter Bosz didn’t even finish out the season and interim manager Peter Stöger was shown the door at the end of the season. After two consecutive coaches from the same tree (Klopp & Tuchel) the team finds itself starting fresh. Dortmund looked to Lique 1 and landed Nice’s Lucien Favre, the BVB board would finally get their man after targeting him at Borussia Mönchengladbach prior to signing Bosz.
Favre, a former player, spent most of his career in his home country of Switzerland with a single season spent in France (Toulouse) before closing out his playing days after his second stint at Servette FC in 1991. Favre did enough to earn twenty four caps for Switzerland, but only managed a single goal during that time. He started his coaching career as the U-14 assistant coach at FC Echallens before moving on to Academy Manager of Neuchâtel Xamax.
His first managerial post was at Yverdon Sport in 1997 before moving on to his former club Servette FC, then FC Zürich where he won best Swiss manager two years in a row. Favre then left Switzerland for the first time in 2007 to take over Hertha BSC, which would be a preview of his abilities as a manager in the coming years. In 2008-09 Hertha BSC would have the 13th largest budget in the Bundesliga, but Favre managed to parlay that in a 4th place finish that included a stunning 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich. Favre would be sacked in September of next season, another preview of things to come, which left him free to take over at Borussia Mönchengladbach in February of the 2010-11 season. This is where Favre would really show his managerial acumen, taking a team that was seven points into the relegation zone (16 points from 22 games) and pushing them to Bundesliga safety after beating VfL Bochum in a two-legged relegation playoff. The following seasons would be Favre’s crowning achievement in the Bundgesliga, a 4th place finish would land them in the Champions League playoffs followed by finishes of 8th and 6th before directly qualifying for the Champions League with a 3rd place finish in 2014-15. 2015-16 would start very poorly for Borussia Mönchengladbach, losing all five opening league games and ending with Favre resignation in September. Favre would turn up in France at OGC Nice after flirting with the Everton job, and promptly take them to 3rd in Ligue 1 and head back to the Champions League.
Tactically, Favre is definitely not in the gegenpressing mold that Dortmund fans came to love under Klopp and Tuchel. He still favors a 4-3-3, and has used a 4-4-2 in recent years, but it mostly resembles a 4-1-4-1 with a withdrawn DM shielding the center of the defensive line. He favors a fluid counter-attack that has worked well since his days at Mönchengladbach. Favre’s biggest summer signings (DM Axel Witsel, CB Abdou Diallo, CM Thomas Delaney, RW Marius Wolf, and CF Paco Alcácer) added strength to the core of his preferred formation, and fans will need to get used to a lower tempo attack with a more deliberate build up.
Borussia Dortmund is in a bit of an upswing in terms of roster makeup after selling off Wonder Kid Ousmane Dembele (£105M to Barcelona) and scoring threat Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang (£57M to Arsenal) in the 2017/18 season. This followed a larger loss of man power in the 2016/17 season when Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mats Hummels, and Ilkay Gündogan all left for bigger paychecks. A few clever signings, most notably Manchester City product Jadon Sancho, have BVB in a position to make a solid run at Bayern Munich’s perch atop the Bundesliga in the coming seasons.