Edin Terzić leaves Dortmund after nine years in total at the club. - © Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
Edin Terzić leaves Dortmund after nine years in total at the club. - © Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

Edin Terzić: From the stands to the dug-out at Borussia Dortmund


Every football fan fantasises about coaching and lifting trophies with their favourite team, but Edin Terzić is one of the few who has made his dream a reality. As the 41-year-old and Borussia Dortmund part ways, bundesliga.com looks back at his incredible journey…

On 12 May 2012, Dortmund produced one of the best performances in their history as they hammered Bayern Munich 5-2 in a one-sided DFB Cup final in Berlin with Jürgen Klopp at the helm. That victory completed Die Schwarzgelben's first-ever league-and-cup double and one year later, they were at London's Wembley Stadium to play for European football's biggest prize: the UEFA Champions League. On this occasion, though, Bayern edged the showpiece as they prevailed 2-1.

On both occasions, Terzić watched on from the terraces, surrounded by thousands of fellow fans with a black-and-yellow scarf around his neck. Even then, his working relationship with his boyhood club had already begun - in fact, he was on their books as early as 2010 as a coach of the U19s, the U17s and Dortmund's second string. He started his career at BVB alongside Hannes Wolf, now the head coach of the Germany U20 side, while Terzić also worked as a scout for then-squad planner Sven Mislintat.

Terzić, the meticulous analyst

Terzić, who played for Westfalia Herne, Wattenscheid 09 and BV Cloppenburg, amongst others, during a 10-year lower-league career, has spent a total of nine years under contract at Dortmund. Between 2013 and 2017, he was instead Slaven Bilić's assistant coach at Beşiktaş and West Ham United. Throughout that period, he observed how the former Karlsruher player and ex-Croatian national team boss dealt with seasoned professionals at the highest level.

Watch: Edin Terzić's message to Borussia Dortmund fans

Initially, Bilić had planned for Terzić to be an analyst. "But, after a few days, it felt as though he had been part of our coaching staff for years," the former defender explained to German magazine 11Freunde. An anecdote from Bilić details how meticulous his former right-hand man is: a coach once visited the Croatian and said Napoli, then coached by Maurizio Sarri, had over 40 throw-in variations. While Bilić had forgotten about the exchange by the evening, Terzić watched all of the Partonopei's throws and deduced that the claim was a myth, informing his colleague via a late-night phone call.

"I thought it was great because it shows how much he loves football," exclaimed Bilić. After two years in Istanbul, Terzić learnt even more in the English Premier League. "In England, the opposing head coaches often drink a glass of wine and have dinner together after the match. The assistants attend, too, so I took notes," said the outgoing BVB man, who had the chance to listen to the views of footballing greats such as José Mourinho, Arsène Wenger and Pep Guardiola.

Cup winners and a dramatic title challenge

Following that adventure in England, Terzić put his accumulated professional experience to further use by becoming Lucien Favre's assistant at Signal Iduna Park. With Dortmund struggling under the Swiss towards the end of 2020, the second-in-command moved into the top job and produced impressive results.

BVB climbed from fifth to third place, securing qualification for the Champions League. The icing on top of the cake was the DFB Cup triumph in May, when Terzić tactically got the better of counterpart Julian Nagelsmann as Dortmund defeated RB Leipzig 4-1 at the Olympiastadion. Overall, it was a similar performance to the one BVB delivered in 2012, but Terzić was now a protagonist rather than a spectator from afar.

Edin Terzić was Slaven Bilić's assistant in England and Turkey. - Kieran Galvin/Shutterstock via www.imago-images.de

In the aftermath of that success, Terzic again took a step back, working as the club's technical director for the 2021/22 season. However, he was back at the helm in the summer of 2022, this time permanently. Although the first six months did not always go to plan – after 15 matchdays, Dortmund sat in sixth with just 25 points, nine behind Bundesliga-leaders Bayern – six successive wins saw them draw level with Der Rekordmeister by Matchday 21.
Four games later, they moved into top spot for the first time in 2022/23. They lost to Bayern on Matchday 26, also squandering their positional advantage, but remained on the Munich outfit's tails and reclaimed first place on Matchday 29.

Yet they were once again knocked off the summit a week further down the line following a 1-1 draw in Bochum. That result, as well as the 3-3 sharing of the spoils with Stuttgart, made things difficult for Dortmund, but Bayern's 3-1 loss to Leipzig on Matchday 33 gave them a huge opportunity to end 11 years of Bavarian dominance.
However, on a cruel final day, Dortmund could only draw 2-2 with Mainz at home, while Jamal Musiala's late winner against Cologne meant Bayern clinched another Meisterschale, this time on goal difference. Subsequently, Terzić could not keep his emotions together, tears rolling down his face as he stood before the Yellow Wall – a brutal image that will go down in Bundesliga history.

Watch: Edin Terzić cheered by the Yellow Wall at the end of the 2022/23 season

Terzić and BVB miss out on crowning glory

"Today is another step in our journey. No matter how much it hurts, it will only motivate us moving forward," Terzić eloquently said at the post-match press conference, albeit while fighting back more tears. "The path we have taken this season will one day be rewarded," he added.

He was almost right. In his second full season as head coach, Terzić and Dortmund were within touching distance of the trophy that had eluded them in 2013, and, once again, the Champions League final took them to Wembley. On their way, they defeated Paris Saint-Germain, Atlético Madrid, PSV Eindhoven, Newcastle United and AC Milan, but they ultimately fell at the final hurdle. Despite creating numerous opportunities, they did not have enough to beat European heavyweights Real Madrid as they succumbed 2-0.

While the defeat was another setback, the team's performance and attitude throughout the opening 45 minutes showed Terzić can set up his teams to deal with the best sides on the planet. After full-time, coaching legend Mourinho hugged and consoled him – another iconic Terzić image that was seen around the world.

"I was able to live my dream"

That proved to be his final match in charge of Borussia Dortmund, at least for now, with Terzić then announcing his decision to depart. "All in all, I was able to live my dream for nine years," he said in his farewell video, which Dortmund published across their social media channels 12 days after the Wembley disappointment.

Edin Terzić led Borussia Dortmund to the 2020/21 DFB Cup. - TEAM2sportphoto

Terzić's eyes were clearly moist as he struggled to control his emotions. "It was an incredible journey, and I would like to thank everyone who helped make this possible". Following discussions with the management team about the club's new direction under incoming sporting director Lars Ricken, Terzić got the "basic feeling that it was time for a new man to take the club forward on the sidelines."

Throughout his tenure, Terzić has remained true to himself and is now showing what defines him: greatness. He does not take himself too seriously, and personal success is not what drives him. Even after winning the cup in 2021, he had no problem stepping aside. He will forever be a Dortmund fan, and knows "they will soon be heading back to Borsigplatz," where they traditionally celebrate major titles.

Don't rule out another Dortmund return

During his time as interim and head coach, Terzić generally hit the right note and connected with the fans. Both in training and in competitive matches, he has proven his worth, helping turn rough diamonds Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham into top talents.

Edin Terzić has helped mould Jadon Sancho's career. - IMAGO/pepphoto / Horst Mauelshagen

In the second half of the 2020/21 and 2022/23 terms, Dortmund were aggressive in the press and quick in transition, a style of play that got people out of their seats and led them to the Champions League final. However, consistency was occasionally a problem, as was the lack of belief that they could clinch the silverware their displays deserved.
"He will always be associated with our success in recent years, and I am sure we will see each other again. Edin will now go his own way," said Ricken in the club's press release following the news. It is not clear what Terzić will do next. Given his previous time there, the English Premier League is a possible destination. If that so proves, the assistants will need to keep their notebook handy whenever there is another post-match meal – Terzić is now one of the big names at the table.