Former Ajax manager Peter Bosz has taken over as coach of Borussia Dortmund following Thomas Tuchel’s acrimonious exit from the Westfalenstadion.
Bosz spent just one season at Ajax, leading the Dutch giants to second place in the Eredivisie and a place in the Europa League final. He’s signed a two-year contract with Die Schwarzgelben, and the €5 million fee they paid for him makes Bosz the Bundesliga’s most expensive manager ever.
So, what can we expect from the 53-year-old Dutchman?
Familiarity with the league
Bosz is familiar with German football, having spent a year in the Bundesliga with Hansa Rostock during his playing days. He speaks perfect German and understands the Bundesliga landscape, which could prove invaluable as he settles into his new digs at Dortmund. Dortmund’s first choice was Nice manager and former Gladbach boss Lucien Favre, who spent 8 years coaching in Germany. While Bosz doesn’t have that level of experience, he should be reasonably comfortable.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) June 6, 2017
A vibrant, attacking style
Despite playing as a defensive midfielder during his career, Bosz has forged a reputation for bright, positive soccer, eschewing defensive tactics for a beautiful, flowing style of play. His Ajax team was a great example of that this past year, and he’ll look to continue in that vein with Dortmund.
Says Bosz: “When I see my team only defending and destroying like I did [as a defensive midfielder] I will not enjoy it. I thought when I’m on the bench at least I will give myself a happy afternoon. If I give myself a happy afternoon, I can give it to the fans.”
A commitment to youth
Bosz is well suited to Dortmund’s style, having put out the youngest starting XI in Eredivisie history this season, as well as putting out the youngest team to ever start in a major European final. He’s all about giving youth a chance, and Ajax players like Kasper Dolberg, Justin Kluivert, Davinson Sanchez and Matthis De Ligt have all benefitted from his willingness to give them significant minutes.
While Ajax’s team may have been young and inexperienced, they had a clear style of play under Bosz, and they were well drilled in the way he wanted them to play. It’s a testament to his coaching ability, and he’s been praised roundly not only for the aesthetics of his teams, but his organization as well.
Said Edwin Van Der Sar: “The clubs he coaches have always played technical and attacking football and that suits Ajax. Peter is experienced and has a clear vision.”
Relative inexperience at the highest level
Bosz has been coaching since 2000, but he’s only spent one year at a “major” club. His stint at Ajax was the first time he’s coached at a large institution, and he’s still somewhat of an unknown quantity in that regard. De Graafschap, Heracles, Vitesse and Maccabi Tel Aviv aren’t exactly the cream of the crop in Europe, and it remains to be seen how he can stand up to the pressure at another one of the continent’s most historic clubs.
Will he mesh with Dortmund’s executive team?
Bosz reportedly left Ajax over disagreements with their technical staff, namely Dennis Bergkamp. It’s not the first time Ajax have had issues with coaches and the ‘old guard’ butting heads, but it remains to be seen how he’ll mesh with CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and sporting director Michael Zorc. Tuchel’s time ended early at Dortmund because he couldn’t see eye-to-eye with his bosses, and Bosz faces a tough job to balance the weight of their expectations. Is he up to it?