The question had been asked for weeks as the losing continued: what would be the Dortmund Board’s breaking point to replace Peter Bosz as first team manager? The answer is losing to woeful Werder Bremen and extending the side’s winless streak to nine matches in all competition. In steps another Peter – Peter Stoeger, who now gets a second chance at the Europa League after being sacked by Cologne.
Bosz’s legacy will be a mixed one. He set a record for most clean sheets to begin a Bundesliga managerial career as Dortmund dominated the league early. However, a poor showing in an admittedly tough Champions League group seeped into their league form. The Black and Yellow fell from first in October to their current eighth (level on points with Frankfurt and Hannover but ahead on goal difference). Appointed in June after leading Ajax to the Europa League final, Bosz finishes his Dortmund career with eight wins, six draws, and ten losses in all competitions. His time included the traumatic 4-4 draw to Schalke when his side was up 4-0 at the half, failing to get a victory over APOEL in the Champions League, and setting a record for the largest compensation total for a Bundesliga manager paid to another club (€5m to Ajax).
According to CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, Bosz was informed of his termination Saturday evening. The boss admitted Bosz was emotional and took his fate well, adding that it was, “tough decision to let him go because we could see the hard work he was putting in to turn things around”.
In steps the incredibly available Peter Stoeger, who receives quite the promotion despite overseeing the worst club in the league this season. Earlier this month, he was sacked by Cologne after the club dropped out of the Europa League and sat firmly at the bottom of the Bundesliga table, lacking any wins on the season. The Austrian native made over 500 appearances in his club career and 65 for his country. He gained notice in Germany for his work with Austria Wien, with whom he won the league title in 2013 despite his club being vastly outspent by RB Salzburg. Stoeger took over Cologne when they were in the second division, took them up the next season, and as we know eventually took them to Europa League qualification last season. However, as often happens in the league, this season has not seen similar success and Stoeger was sacked to allow Cologne to try something different to remain up.
The news of his hiring was a shock to Stoeger. At the press conference announcing the hire, the 51-year-old shared that he received the call from management when he was flying home to Vienna from Cologne. He hopped on another plane and appeared before the media before the final contract had been signed. Speaking of that contract, it is a short-term one until the end of the season; management would not rule out an extension at that time but also laid out Champions League qualification as a minimum standard for success.
What to expect from the new boss? In his previous stints, he favoured a 4-4-2 formation with double holding midfielders. With Dortmund’s recent defensive record, this more conservative approach likely appealed to the Board as a change of pace from the previous managerial preferred style. Sporting director Michael Zorc and Watzke prefer a more attacking, pressing style of play so the marriage between the club of Klopp/Tuchel and the conservative Stoeger will be interesting to see. If Dortmund fails to turn this around, management will come under criticism for not approaching a bigger name available manager – or even Tuchel. The first test will come soon, with Dortmund travelling to Mainz on Tuesday.