Thomas Tuchel faces a baptism of fire by taking charge of Bayern Munich for the first time in a crunch table-topping edition of Der Klassiker, with Edin Terzic and Borussia Dortmund determined to spoil his arrival.
bundesliga.com looks how the two coaches compare....
If there is one thing which unites the rival coaches at the Bundesliga's biggest two sides, it is that they made it to the top of the coaching business despite the lack of a high-profile playing career. Indeed, the eight matches Tuchel played in Bundesliga 2 for the Stuttgart Kickers make him the slightly more successful player of the two. A spell under Ralf Rangnick for Ulm in the regional leagues provided a pathway into coaching when injury forced Tuchel to hang up his playing boots at the age of 24 in 1998.
Tuchel took charge of a youth side at Stuttgart (then coached by Rangnick) and spent close to a decade learning the trade in youth football, also at Augsburg and Mainz, before gaining the hot seat at Mainz in 2009. A superb-five year spell there - during which he guided Mainz to their best ever Bundesliga season in finishing fifth in 2010/11 - saw Tuchel earn a reputation for tactical astuteness that would land him some of the biggest jobs in German and then world football. A two-year stint at Borussia Dortmund was followed by spells with Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and now Bayern Munich.
Terzic's 61 appearances for relatively unknown regional league side BV Cloppenburg marked the pinnacle of an unspectacular playing career. After studying sports science, he was already exploring other roles in the game, though, and began to work as a scout for Dortmund in 2010.
Watch: Thomas Tuchel's road to Munich
Getting involved in recruitment at a time Dortmund were signing the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus, along with winning the 2010/11 and 2011/12 Bundesliga titles, boosted the career of Terzic, then in his late 20s. He turned his hand to coaching in the club's youth ranks, initially as an assistant, and like Tuchel spent a decade in various support roles - including spells as assistant coach for Slaven Bilic at Besiktas and West Ham United - before taking charge of Dortmund in December 2020 following the dismissal of Lucien Favre. Terzic then took an upstairs role as technical director in 2021/22 before returning to the dugout for the 2022/23 season.
Tuchel arrives at Bayern with the kind of trophy-laden CV that can only sit well with the Bundesliga champions. He has two league titles to his name already in France at PSG, having also won a French cup, league cup and two super cups with the Parisians. Ironically, his Bayern bosses might be most impressed by memories of how close he came to disrupting their dominance of the German game as Dortmund coach.
In 2015/16, Tuchel's first season in charge, BVB gained a whopping 78 points, their second-highest ever tally in Bundesliga history. Only an imperious Bayern side under Pep Guardiola could come between them and the title. Beating Bayern 3-2 away in the semi-finals en route to lifting the 2017 DFB Cup must also have left an impression on his current employers. The crown jewel in Tuchel's managerial career came in England, however, by guiding Chelsea to the 2021 UEFA Champions League trophy - a feat which led to FIFA Club World Cup and European Super Cup honours as well as The Best FIFA Football Coach award in 2021.
Nine years his junior, Terzic is very much an up-and-coming challenger to the established master in the Bayern job. There is no reason why Terzic's career trajectory should not follow Tuchel's illustrious path, however. He has a near identical record in charge of Dortmund (2.04 points average over 48 matches vs. Tuchel's 2.09 points average over 68 matches).
The one trophy to Terzic's name so far, the 2021 DFB Cup, may be overshadowed by Tuchel's achievements, but it came at a younger age for Terzic (38) than Tuchel in gaining his first honour with the same trophy in 2017 (43). Indeed, Terzic now has a chance of repeating Tuchel's feat of landing a first league title two years after his first cup win - with Tuchel winning the 2018/19 Ligue 1 and Terzic's Dortmund in the running to lift the 2022/23 Bundesliga crown.
Tuchel has earned a name for his tactical acumen, willingness to change formations and quickly identify potential improvements. His sharp thinking has allowed him to hit the ground running in several of his coaching positions, perhaps most notably in winning the Champions League for Chelsea just four months after joining in 2021.
That is surely music to the ears of any Bayern fan, as is the fact that he has been comfortable with either a back four or a back three - with the German champions trying both of these defensive set-ups this season, and difficulties encountered by Julian Nagelsmann in switching to a back three being a factor in his dismissal. A punchy pressing system with quick attacking usually sees Tuchel's sides make the most of their qualities - a harrowing prospect for the rest of the Bundesliga, perhaps, given the immense wealth of talent in the Bayern squad.
Terzic is also picking up plaudits for innovative tactical thinking as he continues to blossom as Dortmund boss. His recent decision to switch Raphael Guerreiro from left-back to central midfield has proven inspired, for instance, with the Portuguese international having a noteworthy five goal involvements in two matches in that position.
Watch: All Borussia Dortmund's goals so far in 2022/23
While Terzic has always favoured a back four so far in management, his keenness for solidity and steel off the ball and tendency to pack the midfield make for various similarities to Tuchel. The fluency his approach grants to his attackers has been obvious in the 30 goals smashed in by Dortmund during a 10-match unbeaten run to start 2023 with.
While Tuchel's glittering experience creates a certain aura around him, there is no doubting that when it comes to current form, Terzic is the top dog. Tuchel has spent seven months out of football since leaving Chelsea in September, but Terzic's Dortmund have gone from strength to strength in that period.
After a rocky start to the season that saw the Westphalians lose four of their opening 10 Bundesliga matches, their season has gathered all the momentum of a freight train, especially since the winter break. Eight consecutive Bundesliga wins between January and March was something no Dortmund coach since Tuchel's predecessor at the club, Jürgen Klopp, has managed (in 2011/12).
Terzic has gobbled up a whopping 28 points from a possible 30 in his past 10 Bundesliga matches. Tuchel won 17 points for Chelsea in his last 10 English Premier League encounters, for comparison. While the form book might favour Terzic, Tuchel has demonstrated his ability to make a splash in a new job for his first opponents as Bayern boss. He won all of his first five games for Dortmund in 2015/16, notching up the best ever start to a Bundesliga season in the process (with 18 goals scored, and just three conceded).
Tuchel will be thrust in the unfamiliar position of sampling the biggest match in German football from the Bayern viewpoint on Saturday. His record in Klassiker encounters as Dortmund supremo was mixed, failing to win any of his first four but winning two of his last three (including the 3-2 win in Munich in the semi-finals of the 2016/17 DFB Cup). He also lost 1-0 to Bayern in one of the biggest ties in his and his new employer's recent history, the 2020 Champions League final (as Paris coach).
Watch: Der Klassiker - time to get real
Terzic is yet to win a Klassiker in two attempts, losing 2-4 in March 2021 and drawing 2-2 in Dortmund in October. The four goals scored by his sides in those two matches is a decent return, though.
Ultimately, past records will count for nothing as the two coaches look to inspire their charges to success in a vital encounter for their clubs' seasons at thrilling times in their respective coaching careers - with Terzic aiming to inspire Dortmund to their first Bundesliga title in 11 years and Tuchel eager to implant his winning mentality at the biggest club in Germany.
Read more of our Klassiker comparisons here:
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