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Can Edin Terzic bring back heavy metal football?

Chuck Penfold
December 14, 2020

Few casual football fans would have heard the name Edin Terzic before he replaced Lucien Favre on a caretaker basis. After his unveiling at BVB, supporters may find themselves asking: Could he be the next Jürgen Klopp?

Deutschland Fußball Bundesliga Borussia Dortmund Edin Terzic
Edin Terzic has been entrusted with turning Dortmund's season aroundImage: Kirchner-Media/imago images

Admittedly, the question itself may sound far-fetched. As has been widely noted, when he departed from Dortmund in 2015, Jürgen Klopp left some very big boots to fill. Thomas Tuchel arguably came the closest to achieving that by bringing a German Cup to Dortmund — before he and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke fell out — and the coach and BVB parted ways. Neither Peter Stöger nor Peter Bosz could come close. 

Favre brought stability and a modicum of success, but never managed to actually win anything beyond the German Supercup. And given his cool, distant demeanour, he never really connected with Dortmund's fanbase. 

Now, with the announcement on Monday that Favre's assistant, Edin Terzic, has been given the reins until at least the summer, Dortmund are taking a chance on a relatively young coach who nobody beyond the club really knows that much about — and more importantly, has no track record as a No. 1. Klopp, of course did, when he moved to the Ruhr district from Mainz in 2008. And  you have to think that if Dortmund had a big-name, experienced head coach in their back pocket, Terzic wouldn't be getting this opportunity right now. 

The right fit?

But in light of what he said on Monday, you also have to think that this might just be the right fit. Far from being a cool tactician who specializes in saying essentially nothing at all at press conferences, Terzic said a lot of things that must have warmed the hearts of Dortmund's fanbase. His emotional attachment to the club is clearly beyond question.

"I am a product of Borussia Dortmund. I come from the region and have been a fan for ages," he told reporters. 

In fact, Terzic comes from the town of Menden, which is only about a 45-minute drive away, so he comes by his attachment to BVB naturally. But his ties to the club run far deeper than that of the average resident of the Sauerland region, having worked as a scout and youth trainer dating back to the Klopp era — between 2010 and 2013. 

After that, Terzic left to take an opportunity to be fellow Croatian Slaven Bilic's (Terzic holds both German and Croatian nationalities) assistant at Istanbul side Besiktas, before following his countryman to West Ham, but in 2018 he returned to Dortmund as assistant to Favre. 

Borussia Dortmund - SC Paderborn 07 Lucien Favre und Edin Terzic
Edin Terzic (right) has long toiled in the background at BVB, now he's the main manImage: Bernd Thissen/dpa/picture alliance

"I remember you coming and telling me that you had an offer from abroad and asked us to let you go. Of course, we didn't want to stand in the way, but then we brought you back, and we found out what an expert you are," sporting director Michael Zorc said of Terzic while speaking to reporters on Monday, adding that BVB's new head coach is "a really good guy, who has the right level of emotionality."

Working-class background

On the surface, Terzic's background beyond football — the son of Gastarbeiter from the former Yugoslavia — also seems to fit the working-class image of the Yellow and Blacks.

And he certainly doesn't seem phased by being confronted with making the always-tricky transition from assistant to head coach at arguably the second-biggest club in Germany. 

In some ways, the new role will be very similar he said, because "the interaction with the players has always been there." 

"In the role of an assistant coach, however, it's a lot about generating ideas, and you speak a lot in terms of theory," Terzic said. "This will change now and I'll be making a lot of decisions — including some tough ones, of course."

Not that Dortmund have had a lot of trouble scoring goals, especially when the injured Erling Haaland is back in the lineup, but the type of football Terzic wants his BVB to play between now and the end of the season will have been music to the ears of Dortmund fans.

"There are two ways you can win a football match," he said. "You can concede one goal less, but you can always want to score one more. I'm more for the latter," he said. 

Looking for a reaction in Bremen

That sounds a bit like something they used to call "heavy metal football" in Dortmund, and while his first game in charge did indeed end in victory, it was more heavy going than heavy metal.

Edin Terzic's answer following Saturday's debacle, for which the son of a Bosniak father and Croatian mother also took a portion of the blame, came on the pitch. The question now is whether this is the start of something special for Borussia Dortmund.

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