Managers at the top of football are paid to win trophies, that is what they do, and that is why they receive salaries that match some of the world’s top players’ wages. However, a strange trend has emerged in the past few seasons where Cup winning managers have been unceremoniously removed from their positions swiftly after lifting trophies.
Louis Van Gaal, at the end of the 2015/16 season, held the FA Cup aloft but that was his last act as Manchester United manager. Thomas Tuchel was the latest manager to find that winning a domestic cup was not enough for him to stay in a job. Borussia Dortmund’s board felt that, while Tuchel winning the Cup was impressive, he was not worth the hassle that his obsessive micromanagement involved.
Since Jürgen Klopp’s spell in charge, Dortmund have managed to climb back towards the top of both German and European football and have become a really big club with high expectations.
It was, perhaps, a small surprise then that the man they brought in to replace the outgoing Tuchel was Peter Bosz who’s CV, while interesting, is hardly glittering. He has had spells in his native Netherlands at De Graafschap and Heracles Almelo as well as Vitesse before taking over at Ajax last season.
He also spent time in Israel at Maccabi Tel Aviv, but in a world full of super coaches like Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, Bosz didn’t seem to be the obvious choice. So why then, did Dortmund’s CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke pay a reported €5 million to prize Bosz away from Ajax.
There appear to be three key reasons that Dortmund was keen to acquire Bosz’s services, with the first one stemming from his time at Feyenoord as technical director.
Dortmund have always been a club who look to sign young and exciting players for reasonable fees.
It is important to them that they can sign high-quality players, without spending the kind of money their rivals Bayern Munich have splashed in recent years.
Bosz excelled at finding those kinds of players when at Feyenoord. He brought in Gio Van Bronckhorst, Roy Maakay and Denny Landzaat alongside others and they all shone brightly. He clearly has an eye for a good player and the ability to sell his club to them.
Watzke also would have been impressed at his ability to thrive as a manager when faced with relatively meagre resources. Dortmund are, of course, richer than any other club Bosz has managed so far, however, they are competing with clubs both at home and in Europe with far larger wallets than them.
In his spell at Vitesse, from 2013-16, Bosz managed to get them into a European competition twice in a row and even had them top of the Dutch league after 17 games of the 2013-14 season.
He also managed to establish Heracles Almelo as a top-flight club after winning them promotion. His greatest achievement, however, came this season where he managed to steer Ajax’s band of young players to the final of the Europa League. He has proven that, even on a tight budget and against bigger teams, he can deliver results.
Finally, and perhaps for Dortmund most importantly, Bosz has shown that he can improve and develop young players both tactically and technically while playing great football.
His spell at Ajax saw players like Kasper Dolberg, Bertrand Traore, Matthijs de Ligt and Jaïro Riedewald come on leaps and bounds. In their Europa League semi-final against Lyon, his side’s average age was just 22 years old, and they won a thrilling two-legged tie 5-4 on aggregate.
He managed to craft a team that could both keep the ball at times but also press hard and be quick and more direct when they need to be. Despite their defeat in the Europa League final to Manchester United, Bosz showed that he could create something special.
Dortmund will be getting a coach that should suit them and their philosophy down the ground.
He will aim to improve the many young, exciting talents that Dortmund have like Christian Pulisic, Ousmane Dembele, Alexander Isak and Emre Mor while playing exciting football.
He might not be able to topple Bayern’s dominance but don’t be too surprised if next May Bosz is standing in Borsigplatz with a trophy in his hands.