Fourteen games without a win and your team bottom of the table. And then the sack. Hardly the sort of line most football coaches want on their CV, but it did not stop Peter Stöger getting the Borussia Dortmund job.
It was the Austrian’s work over four years in Cologne before the cataclysmic start to this season — taking the Billy Goats from Bundesliga 2 and into European competition for the first time in a quarter-of-a-century — that was foremost in Dortmund’s mind when they appointed him. And something else.
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"Stöger has proven himself as someone capable of patching up any splits within the team," explained BVB’s sporting director Michael Zorc. "His teams have shown impressive stability." It might not be sexy, but that is just what Dortmund needed when Stöger took charge in December, ending the rollercoaster reign of Peter Bosz.
The Dutchman — only appointed last summer — had made a record-breaking start, becoming the only Bundesliga coach ever to win his first five matches in charge, and all without conceding a single goal. Dortmund set the early season pace at the top of the table — their breathtaking start surely one of the reasons Bayern Munich felt a coaching change was needed — but come December, they had run out of steam. Badly.
"I have been saying for weeks that we mustn’t just talk but also follow through with actions," a furious Marcel Schmelzer ranted after the Matchday 15 defeat at home to Werder Bremen. "And then we go out there like that. Crazy, an absolute disgrace."
That defeat cost Bosz his job, and gave Stöger his with a clear brief: shore things up.