New Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz says he has a big point to prove in the Bundesliga, and insists he has learnt from the mistakes that cost him his job at Borussia Dortmund 13 months ago.
Bosz, 55, was appointed as Heiko Herrlich's successor prior to the winter break, but had been out of work since his dismissal following six ill-fated months as Dortmund boss in December 2017.
"I desperately wanted to come back to the Bundesliga," Bosz said at his first press conference as Leverkusen coach last Friday. "The people in Germany haven't seen the real Peter Bosz yet. Now they'll get to know him at Bayer Leverkusen, but I can't repeat the mistakes that I made at Dortmund. I have to learn from that experience."
'We want to win every game'
Bosz had arrived at BVB in summer 2017 as the long-term replacement for Thomas Tuchel, having led Ajax to the final of the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League.
A record-breaking start of five games without conceding a goal - the first coach in Bundesliga history to do so in his maiden five matches - and six wins from the opening seven had Bosz's Dortmund cruising at the top with a five-point lead over champions Bayern Munich, but the wheels soon came off.
On the back of the club's worst run in 17 years, with no victories in their last eight Bundesliga games and an alarming 23 goals conceded in 15 outings, the Dutchman was dismissed.
Following an unplanned sabbatical, Bosz now has his sights on returning a hot-and-cold Leverkusen side to Europe. Die Werkself missed out on UEFA Champions League football by just a point last season, but have been unable to replicate their eye-catching performances on a consistent basis in 2018/19, and kick-off the calendar down in ninth place, seven points adrift of the top four.
"We want to try and win every single game," Bosz affirmed. "For a club like Bayer Leverkusen, the aim has to be to play in Europe. We want to be successful in the Bundesliga, in Europe and in the cup. We're also still in the Europa League and DFB Cup - so that's going to be interesting."
'Bailey and Co. are huge talents'
Bosz also says he is relishing the opportunity to work with the likes of prodigious youngsters Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt and Leon Bailey. Nineteen-year-old Havertz has been in electric form with a joint-best six Bundesliga goals for Bayer so far this season, but Brandt and Bailey - the latter having made just eight league starts after registering nine goals and six assists in 30 games last term - have each found the net just once.
"It's going to be fun helping these guys kick on," Bosz enthused. "It's always fun to work with talented players, and they're all massive talents, in my opinion. But we don't just have young talents, we also have older players who have long been good footballers. I think we have a good squad. It's going to be fun again."
Bosz will make his Bundesliga debut as Leverkusen coach on 19 January, when Bayer resume their campaign at home to Rhineland rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach. Games against second-tier Heidenheim in the DFB Cup third round, Russian outfit Krasnodar in the Europa League last 32 and former club Dortmund follow in February.