Borussia Dortmund have strengthened their coaching ticket by appointing club legends Nuri Şahin and Sven Bender as assistants to Edin Terzić.
The former midfielders – who both won the Bundesliga and DFB Cup while playing with Dortmund – will link up with Terzić at a winter training camp in Marbella. Veteran Armin Reutershahn has meanwhile stepped down from his role as an assistant to the head coach.
"We have intensively analysed the season so far," said Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl after announcing the return of his two former teammates. "One of our shared findings was the desire to give fresh impetus to the coaching staff. In Nuri Şahin and Sven Bender we’re adding two specialists and personalities who will enrich us both in terms of content and character thanks to their different experience and qualities. We’re convinced the two of them will make us stronger as a team in order to reach our goals in the second half of the season."
Last season’s Bundesliga runners-up went into the winter break fifth in the table - 15 points behind leaders Bayer Leverkusen - but topped their UEFA Champions League group ahead of Paris Saint-Germain. Terzić said he is pleased to have former Turkey playmaker Sahin and former Germany international Bender on board for the second half of the campaign, which will include a Champions League last-16 tie against PSV Eindhoven.
"It was my clear desire to have Nuri and Sven as assistant coaches with us," said Terzić. "We’ve tried several times in the past to make this wish a reality. Now the opportunity arose – and we made it happen.
"Nuri and Sven will enrich us with their experience and knowledge, and at the same time they can develop with us as very young coaches. I’m really happy to have the chance to have both of them by my side."
Both Şahin and Bender will be fondly remembered as part of a brilliant young squad coached by Jürgen Klopp that stunned their rivals by winning the 2010/11 Bundesliga title.
Şahin became the Bundesliga’s youngest ever player when he made his Dortmund debut at the age of 16 years, 11 months and one day – playing the full 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw with Wolfsburg in August 2005. The BVB academy graduate soon became the league’s youngest goalscorer too – at 17 years and 82 days – when he found the net against Nuremberg in November of the same year. Current Dortmund attacker Youssoufa Moukoko has beaten both those of records in recent seasons, but Şahin’s legacy as a player certainly lives on.
In 2010/11 the 35-year-old had a starring role as Dortmund were crowned German champions for the first time in nine years. The gifted left-footed midfielder and free-kick taker had six goals and eight assists in 30 league appearances that season – and notably scored in both victories over defending champions Bayern Munich.
A big-money move to Real Madrid followed for Şahin that summer, but injuries hampered his progress. Following a loan spell at Liverpool, he returned to Dortmund – and Klopp – in January 2013. He replaced Bender as a late substitute in the Champions League final defeat to Bayern that year, but his later seasons at the club were plagued by injuries.
Watch: Nuri Şahin and Sven Bender - best goals
Şahin finished with 26 goals in 274 games across his two spells with BVB before spending two years with Werder Bremen. He then moved to Antalyaspor in August 2020 and ended his playing career when he became the Turkish club’s manager in October 2021.
Şahin led Antalyaspor to seventh and thirteenth-place finishes in his two full seasons in the managerial hot seat. He left them in a very healthy eighth position in the Turkish Süper Lig ahead of his return to Dortmund.
Bender, meanwhile, scored four times in his 226 games for Dortmund between 2009 and 2021. He made 31 appearances in the Bundesliga as a holding midfielder in that famous 2010/11 season, and stuck around for the even more successful campaign that followed.
Now 34, he featured 20 times as Dortmund won the league again in 2011/12. He also came on as a substitute as his team – captained by Kehl and fired by a Robert Lewandowski hat-trick – doubled up by thumping Bayern 5-2 in the 2012 DFB Cup final.
Bender would lift the cup again – this time alongside Şahin – in 2017. He then reunited with his twin and fellow former 1860 Munich player Lars by joining Leverkusen the same year. Another immensely talented professional whose career was badly disrupted by injury, Bender retired at the end of the 2020/21 season before starting his coaching work with the German Football Association a year later.
Pavlović, Tel leading the next wave of Bayern youngsters
Aleksandar Pavlović and Mathys Tel have followed Alphonso Davies and Jamal Musiala in making the jump from academy football to the first team at Bayern Munich, and there are more to come...
What is a sporting director?
They are wheeler-dealers, arch-strategists and master negotiators: meet the Bundesliga's sporting directors.
Can Leverkusen land a historic treble?
From Neverkusen to Treblekusen? Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen side have a chance to make history this season.