Borussia Dortmund unveiled new head coach Lucien Favre on Friday, with the Swiss tactician speaking of his ambitious plans for the season ahead with a team that he says must be able to counter, adapt and play intelligently.
Favre had been on Dortmund’s wish-list since last year, club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke confirmed in the press conference on Friday. As the former Borussia Mönchengladbach coach was still under contract with Nice in France, however, it didn’t work out as planned the first time of asking.
Now, though, with a full summer of preparation ahead and a young, already-improving squad in front of him, excitement is building before Favre's first season with a club who - in his own words - are "impossible to turn down."
“Of course my wish is that we can play through our entire team, starting from the goalkeeper, finding intelligent ways to get to the goal,” Favre told reporters. “We want to play high up the pitch, and we have to be able to counter. A team that can’t counter is not a great team. It will take time because it doesn’t take just one week or one month.”
Sixty-year-old Favre is well-known to the Bundesliga after two and four year spells in charge of Hertha Berlin and Gladbach respectively. He brought success to both clubs, and his style of play and ability to develop his squad is something Dortmund were very attracted to.
“Lucien has a clear game philosophy with a clear structure,” sporting director Michael Zorc said. “His teams always have a good balance between attack and defence and that’s what we’re searching for.”
Watch: Borussia Dortmund's 2017/18 season review!
Despite insisting that the club remains fiercely ambitious, Watzke was quick to ensure that the immediate objectives in 2018/19 won’t be over-the-top.
“It’s important to me that Lucien isn’t overburdened with an unrealistic expectation,” Watzke explained. “We’re highly ambitious and we always want to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, but beyond that, we will discuss internally.”
Favre already knows some faces in the Dortmund squad, but is far from the only new signing at the Signal Iduna Park this summer. Marius Wolf has arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt, Abdou Diallo from Mainz, Thomas Delaney from Werder Bremen and Marwin Hitz from Augsburg, while more could still come as Favre and Zorc work together to build the squad.
The near 28-year veteran of coaching will be reunited with Marco Reus - his prodigy during his time at Borussia-Park who went on to join Dortmund. Reus has called Favre “the best coach I've ever had”, which is perhaps unsurprising considering he scored 18 goals in 32 Bundesliga games for the Foals under his guidance in 2011/12.
“We had contact in 2012 after his transfer from Gladbach,” Favre said when asked about Reus. “But we haven't been in touch since then. We don’t need that, myself and Marco. I’m very happy to work with him again. I know his quality and what he can do.”
Favre will take his Dortmund team on a tour of the United States to face Manchester City, Liverpool and Benfica in Chicago, Charlotte and Pittsburgh respectively between 20-25 July. Dortmund will then return to Germany as preparations for the 2018/19 Bundesliga season intensify.