Peter Stöger is set to become the third man to roam Dortmund's coaching area in 2017, when they travel to Mainz. His first task? To lead BVB to their first victory since they beat third-tier Magdeburg in October.
Desperate times have called for desperate measures in Dortmund. After winning just one game in nearly three months, the club finally decided to swap Peters, firing Bosz, and replacing him with Stöger.
When Borussia Dortmund travel south to Mainz on Tuesday, Peter Stöger, who parted ways with Cologne last week, will become the third coach to take the helm at the storied Bundesliga club in this calendar year — Peter Bosz had taken over for Thomas Tuchel following the 2016-17 season. Dortmund have not seen that kind of coaching turnover since 2006-07, when they finished ninth after employing Bert van Marwijk, Jürgen Röber and Thomas Doll as head coaches.
With a contract until the end of the season, Stöger has six months to calm the waters at the club, and if he is successful in doing so, he could just turn his short-term appointment into a long-term gig.
If consistency is what Dortmund are after, then they picked the right man for their head coaching vacancy. Stöger's four-and-a-half-year run with Cologne was very even-keeled until this season, grinding out results to first earn promotion to the Bundesliga, before getting them to mid-table — and last season qualifying for Europe for the first time in 25 years.
Above all, the Austrian coach's sides were solid defensively. Cologne had the sixth-best goals-against record in each of the three previous Bundesliga seasons, and taking into account the current campaign, Cologne conceded an average of just 1.3 goals per game under Stöger. That said, the Billy Goats had the worst goals-against record this season at the time of his departure, but that may in part be due to the grueling schedule that comes with playing in the Europa League.
Dortmund are in desperate need of defensive stability, which seems ironic, given the fact that they started the season by not conceding a single goal in their first five games — setting a new record in the Bundesliga. Their luck ran out after that — Dortmund have allowed 23 goals in their last 10 games for the worst defensive record in the league over that period. If Stöger does manage to get Dortmund back into the win column in Mainz this week, defensive stability will likely be a key to his success.
New coach bump?
Every team that has replaced its coach this season has turned things around. The most prominent example of that is Bayern Munich, who have lost just one game in all competitions since the return of coaching legend Jupp Heynckes. Wolfsburg have lost just once since replacing Andries Jonker with Martin Schmidt, and Werder Bremen have won three of their last four games since they promoted Florian Kohfeldt from their reserve team.
Dortmund are bound to be hoping that swapping out one Peter for another will result in a similar effect. Mainz could be a good opponent for the Schwarzgelben to rediscover their swagger — Mainz have won just once in their last seven games. With a big match against Bayern Munich in the German Cup next week, Tuesday's game could be Stöger's best chance to get an early win in his tenure at Dortmund. Mainz also happen to be the last team he was able to beat in the Bundesliga, when Cologne won 2-0 on Matchday 34 last season.
Elsewhere on Matchday 16
— Augsburg host an in-form Schalke side on Wednesday, which is a big opportunity to make a big move up the standings. If Manuel Baum's team manages to collect all three points, they will be tied with the Royal Blues on points and could jump all the way up to third in the table.
— Werder Bremen will hope to continue to ride the coat tails of Max Kruse when they travel south to Leverkusen this week. The former Germany international has either scored or assisted on all seven of Bremen's goals in their last four games.
— Freiburg fans may voice their displeasure that their team has to kick off their game against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Tuesday just 52 hours after beating Cologne 4-3 on Sunday. Every other team who had a Sunday fixture on Matchday 15 is playing on Wednesday.
Matchday 16 fixtures
Wolfsburg vs. Leipzig (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. CET)
Mainz vs. Borussia Dortmund (Tuesday, 8:30)
Hamburg vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Freiburg vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach
Hoffenheim vs. Stuttgart (Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.)
Bayern Munich vs. Cologne (Wednesday, 8:30)
Leverkusen vs. Werder Bremen
Schalke vs. Augsburg
Hertha Berlin vs. Hannover