Berlin, May 30 (IANS) Head coach Thomas Tuchel and Borussia Dortmund are getting divorced one year before the current contract expires in 2018, the eight-time German football champions announced on Tuesday.
Swiss Lucien Favre will most likely take over from the 43-year-old. It is up to the 59-year-old Favre to guide the 2013 Champions League runners-up back to the top echelon of European football and to be a serious rival to Germany’s number one, Bayern Munich, reports Xinhua news agency.
The relationship between the country’s most talented squad and the coach, whose character is described as something between a genius and a man obsessed, was not one to last. For weeks now, their problem with one another was a major topic in the German media. Though tragic, the outcome seemed to be inevitable.
Despite having fulfilled the club’s goals this season by winning the 2017 German Cup and securing an automatic Champions League place by finishing third in the league, Tuchel was isolated in the Dortmund club. The differences between significant parts of the squad and their coach grew in the last month.
Tuchel did not hesitate to challenge the authority of the club management such as CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and managing director Michael Zorc. Both in the end saw the necessity to strike back and secure the club’s future and stability. As a consequence, Dortmund have to accept Tuchel’s financial demands, said to be at least two million euro ($2.23 million), and at the same time buy out Favre from his contract at the French side OGC Nice that runs to 2019.
Tuchel did a good job when it came to re-building the team and returning it to the top of the domestic game. However, the tough struggle to achieve the current success has left a painful mark on team spirit and the close communal feeling, the club considers so important. Dortmund could no longer count on unity.
Tuchel is now expected to take a sabbatical to recover and to be ready for a future role at a club like Arsenal in the English Premier League or Bayer Leverkusen. Football fans in Germany will keep a close eye on Tuchel’s next steps as he is regarded to be at a turning point in his career.
He has proved he can deliver success and many feel he is talented enough to follow the examples of Ottmar Hitzfeld or Jupp Heynckes. But Tuchel’s reputation has been damaged in Dortmund, his first top club and the first time he has worked with top stars on an international stage.
Tuchel has however also shown himself to be a far from easy character, one that can cause problems as he not somebody that makes compromises. His deficits in man management have exacerbated the situation. Only a few days ago, Tuchel was sharply criticised by team captain Marcel Schmelzer as he excluded midfielder Nuri Sahin from Dortmund’s Cup final squad only hours before the game. Schmelzer said the team had been shocked by the coach’s decision as Sahin is a vital part of the squad.
But Tuchel is not the only one that needs to carefully consider his next step. Dortmund’s strongman Watzke is now forced to find a successor who can conquer the fans’ hearts. Tuchel was never a folk hero, but winning the first title in five years has given him a lot of credit among Dortmund fans.
Favre is regarded on the one hand as being a special coach who can develop stars. On the other, his time at the Bundesliga clubs Hertha BSC and Borussia Moenchengladbach showed that he required almost cotton wool treatment from the club management to keep his motivation alive. A few years ago, Bayern Munich considered hiring Favre but reconsidered after learning about Favre’s complex character.
In comparison to Tuchel, pundits say Favre is far more open. Former Bayern and Dortmund coach Ottmar Hitzfeld called Favre a sensible choice for Borussia as he has proved himself to be a top class coach in his time at Moenchengladbach and Nice. It will be important for Dortmund to develop a close relationship with the Swiss as he is a coach who dedicates his entire time to his club’s demands.
In contrast to Berlin and Moenchengladbach, Dortmund gives Favre the chance to be a part of the European football orchestra. He has proved in Nice that he can make the club a force to be reckoned with in France, and on a much lower budget. Favre additionally managed to integrate a special character like the eccentric Italian striker Mario Balotelli into his squad.