One year on from his Borussia Dortmund dismissal, Peter Bosz is back in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen. And the Dutchman has a point to prove as he looks to lead the Werkself back to Europe.
Bayer Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz has kicked off his new job by setting a clear aim for the struggling Bundesliga side: European football next season.
"We want to try and win every single game," said the 55-year-old at his inaugural press conference at the BayArena on Friday. "For a club like Bayer Leverkusen, the aim has to be to play in Europe."
Leverkusen are still in the Europa League after topping their group and will face Russian side Krasnodar in February, but Bosz, who has been given a contract until 2020, was referring to domestic matters, where the Werkself ended the first half of the season marooned in mid-table.
They may have ended 2018 with three wins from their last four Bundesliga games, but the writing had long been on the wall for Bosz's predecessor, Heiko Herrlich, who had failed to get the most of one of the league's most talented squads.
Now, the Rhineland club will be hoping that attacking talents such as Julian Brandt, Kai Havertz, Leon Bailey, Kevin Volland and Lucas Alario will blossom under the notoriously offensive Dutchman.
"He stands for offensive and attractive football," said former Leverkusen midfielder and current sporting director Simon Rolfes, sat at Bosz's side. "And we have a lot of players who that will suit."
One need not go back far to find evidence of Bosz's philosophy. His first stint in the Bundesliga came just 18 months ago when he took over from Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund and the led the Black and Yellows to six wins and a draw from their opening seven league games, opening up a five-point gap over Bayern Munich with a goal difference of +19.
However, BVB only won three more points from their next eight games, dropping to seventh and crashing out of the Champions Leagueas teams from Nicosia to Hannover to Tottenham Hotspur exploited Dortmund's high line time and time again. But Bosz wouldn't budge.
"I can't repeat the mistakes that I made at Dortmund in Leverkusen, I have to learn from that experience," he admitted, insisting that he has unfinished business in Germany.
"I desperately wanted to come back to the Bundesliga," he said. "The people in Germany haven't seen the real Peter Bosz yet. Now they'll get to know him at Bayer Leverkusen."
Leverkusen wanted to bring Bosz to the club in summer 2017 as a long-term replacement for Roger Schmidt, until Dortmund swooped in. Now the club's managing director in charge of sports, Rudi Völler, has his man.
"Even if it didn't quite work out for him in Dortmund, [Bosz] has proven in his previous jobs that he can have success with teams which weren't as well-stocked as Dortmund or Leverkusen," said the former German international, referring chiefly to the young Ajax side which Bosz led to the 2017 Europa League final, where they were beaten by Manchester United – an achievement he wouldn't mind repeating.
"We want to have success in the league, in the cup and in the Europa League," said the Dutchman. "It's going to be fun again."
"Fun" under Bosz is likely to mean a return to one training session per day conducted at the intensity necessary to perfect his attacking philosophy, which is to be implemented with as little rotation as possible.
The fun will really start on January 19 when high-flying Borussia Mönchengladbach come to town. And as Bosz said, "two weeks is not a long time."