Edin Terzic and the Borussia Dortmund coaching cradle
Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel are perhaps the most successful coaches to leave the Borussia Dortmund stable in recent years, but the pair have a Mainz history in common. But the rise of Edin Terzic reveals that the Signal Iduna Park could well be Germany's new hotbed for talented coaches.
Terzic has returned to the Dortmund dugout this summer, something the 39-year-old seemed destined to do ever since he joined his boyhood club over a decade ago.
And he won't be alone in being a Schwarzgelben coaching graduate taking charge of a senior Bundesliga club in 2022/23, with Terzic's former colleagues Daniel Farke (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Enrico Maaßen (Augsburg) also appointed to roles in the German top flight.
It was Klopp who was in charge of first-team affairs when Terzic joined the BVB backroom staff in 2010 - the start of a golden period for the club as they won successive Bundesliga titles in 2020/11 and 2011/12, whilst scooping up the 2012 DFB Cup and finishing 2012/13 UEFA Champions League runners-up.
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Just two German Cup triumphs have been collected since, with Terzic delivering one of those in a hugely successful trial run for the job at the back end of 2020/21. And you could argue that Dortmund may have had more joy had they hired from within since Klopp's departure in 2015, considering the procession of coaching talent they have produced in recent years.
The line of succession can be traced back to the development of Hannes Wolf, and Terzic's appointment now shows how the club have finally come full circle.
Wolf was made BVB reserve team assistant in 2009 and was at the club throughout the success of Klopp and emergence of David Wagner and Farke, while Terzic was one of his first appointments.
The pair had previously met while studying sports science at Ruhr University in Bochum, an even more memorable time for Terzic as he also met his wife Kora during the same course.
"I studied for my UEFA A Licence and met the chief scout of Borussia Dortmund, and a couple of months later he called me and offered me a job," the new Dortmund head coach once told the West Ham website during his time serving as assistant to former Karlsruhe player, Slaven Bilic. "In 2010, I stopped playing and started to be a coach with Dortmund."
Terzic initially served as a scout and assistant coach of Dortmund youth teams from 2010-13, working under Wolf with the U19 and U17s during that time. He then spent two years away assisting Bilic at Besiktas and West Ham, before returning to BVB as Lucien Favre's right-hand-man in 2018.
Following Favre's dismissal, Terzic - a lifelong Dortmund fan - took charge on a temporary basis and led Dortmund to DFB Cup glory in 2020/21 before moving upstairs as a technical director when Marco Rose was plucked from Gladbach.
Rose's time at the club lasted just one season, though, before Terzic swapped the Signal Iduna Park's Yellow Wall for its dugout on a full-time basis ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
"It's an unbelievable situation," Terzic said at the first press conference following his promotion in December 2020. "I was in the stadium for the first time as a nine-year-old. After that it was clear which team my heart was beating for. But, despite that, I never dared dream that I would find myself in such a position at the club."
Terzic's prior disbelief may partly stem from the fact that, throughout his entire time there, he saw so many coaches move away from Dortmund in order to get their first taste of a top job and he did so himself by taking up those roles under Bilic.
Twelve months on from Terzic's initial arrival, it was Wagner that joined Dortmund's reserves in 2011 - shortly after Klopp had steered the first team to the Bundesliga title. And while BVB clinched a domestic double the following campaign, Wagner's reserves gained promotion to Germany's third tier.
Klopp and Wagner left Dortmund in May and October of 2015 respectively, and while the BVB coaching conveyor belt is only just arriving at the first-team, the club should be congratulated for being able to ensure such a steady stream of coaches emerge from their youth and reserve ranks.
Farke was another packaged on this production line. He took over Dortmund’s reserves from Wagner in 2015 and spent two years there honing his craft before moving to Norwich - steering the club into the English Premier League as Wagner did with Huddersfield Town - and now Gladbach.
Wolf has gone on to coach the senior sides of VfB Stuttgart, Hamburg, Genk, Bayer Leverkusen, and he is now shaping the national team's next generation as Germany U19 coach. Maaßen steps into the Bundesliga breach for the first time at Augsburg, having guided Dortmund U23s to the Regionalliga West title in his first season in charge and then overseeing a ninth-placed finish in the 2021/22 3. Liga. Sebastian Geppert - who was one of Terzic's assistants in 2020/21 - has again been appointed to serve under the new Dortmund boss after winning the 2018 German B-Junior Championship and reaching the 2019 final again. Mike Tullberg, 36, led the U19s to both domestic league and cup finals last season, winning the former.
While Dortmund are only now placing their faith in one of their own, the club have put great significance on this internal line of succession and are rightly proud of the number of coaches they have produced, even if they've gone on to move elsewhere.
As newly appointed sporting director Sebastian Kehl told Bild: "Closing the gap between the U19s and the professional sector as best as possible is very important for the overall sporting philosophy of the club. Kudos to those responsible in this area. Because in the end it is of course an honour for our club when these coaches go their own way at home and abroad.”
And you can see the benefits being enjoyed at Dortmund, even if it's taken a while to see one of their own ascend to the throne.
Dortmund have won seven U17 titles, five at U15 level, and three at U19. Through careful planning and a procession of both talented players and coaches to oversee their development, there is little reason why that success can not only continue, but feed its way into first-team glory as well.
That the club were also able to successfully give its youngsters senior minutes in 2021/22 is further evidence of this. The likes of Ansgar Knauff, Christian Pulisic, Antonio Rüdiger, and Youssoufa Moukoko have previously emerged from the youth team ranks in recent years and last season saw Tom Rothe and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens go on to make impressive senior bows, while 19-year-old centre-forward Bradley Fink is being fast-tracked having drawn favourable comparisons to Erling Haaland.
With top coaching and playing talent being so well cultivated at Dortmund, the future is clearly bright and you can expect many more stars both in the dugout and on the pitch to emerge from the production line in the coming years.
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