It was not a surprise when the 2-1 home loss spelled the end of Peter Bosz’s reign at the Borussia Dortmund helm. What was a surprise, was the appointment of Peter Stoeger.
The Austrian was recovering from the axe himself after Cologne relieved him of his duties after a 2-2 draw against Schalke, which left them bottom of the table.
From injuries to key players, and an atrocious run of form to the unforgiving German Winter, which caused some training sessions to be abandoned, the odds were stacked highly against the former Cologne Boss.
However, nearly three months from the day the Austrian put pen to paper, the fortunes of BVB have turned and they are back in contention for a Champions League spot.
Dortmund have not lost a league match under Stoeger and their only defeats have come against, Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa League and Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal.
Much of this has been down to a defensive solidarity which was absent during, during the last 10 games of Peter Bosz’s ill-fated reign.
Dortmund’s inability to hold onto a lead was extremely concerning under Bosz, and this became evident when they let a four-goal lead against arch-rivals Schalke slip through their fingers like sand, in the Revierderby last November.
Resilience and determination has been further enhanced under Stoeger, as BVB have picked up lots of points after coming back from behind and scoring in the dying stages of the game, this being prominent in the 3-2 victory over Atalanta in the Europa League, where two late goals from Chelsea loanee Michy Batshuayi ensured that Dortmund progressed to the round of 16 stage.
The Belgian has been a revelation under the Austrian boss and looks to have found himself at home at the Signal Iduna Park.
Whether the former Marseille goal scorer will be donning the famous yellow and black of the German champions, remains to be seen, but Stoeger will most likely try to woo him to stay in Germany.
BVB have a side with exceptional potential and players such as Christian Pulisic, Emre Mor, and Jordan Sancho will only improve year on year.
Stoeger’s man management skills and his ability to get the best out of players has been compared with former BVB and current Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who always seemed to extract every ounce of effort and talent from every player he managed.
The jury will most likely be out when the season climaxes and the World Cup begins; however with Dortmund sitting in third place right now, the Austrian and former Cologne Manager certainly has not disgraced himself this season.