For the second time this year, Borussia Dortmund have signed a new head coach, appointing former Cologne boss Peter Stöger on Sunday after letting go of Peter Bosz.
To get to know Stöger better, we reached out to Effzeh.com’s Thomas Reinscheid.
YWP: Under Peter Stöger, Cologne developed continuously for four years and suddenly things went terribly wrong this season. Can you break that down into one or two reasons?
TR: Not into one or two, sadly, no. But if we’re talking about the main source for the problems at Cologne, then surely the club’s transfer strategy and injury issues are near the top of the list. Unfortunately, they have neglected to properly improve the squad over the last two years and they’re getting their comeuppance after a surprisingly strong last campaign. Peter Stöger isn’t completely blameless, however: The team seems odly lethargic and not entirely fit, he stuck to players such as Matthias Lehmann and Konstantin Rausch for a long time because of a lack of options and even his magic touch in terms of his in-game coaching seems to have gone missing. The dramatic collapse is the consequence of all this, and the team was basically relegated at the start of December.
YWP: What impression did Stöger make towards the end of his tenure? Did he still reach his players, was he tired or irritable?
TR: From my point of view Stöger didn’t make much of a different impression than last season. He’s a very calm, down-to-earth guy who doesn’t show huge emotional swings in bad or successful periods. That style was well received by the team too: The players never hung their heads despite the disastrous run of results and they always rallied to their coach. Even though he mentioned some signs of fatigue towards the end of last season in the summer, Stöger never seemed spent or weary of his job. On the contrary: He fought for his job, his team and his legacy with FC.
YWP: Stöger mostly stands for a good defensive organisation, but has also coached a more dominant style in the 2. Bundesliga and with Austria Wien. Do you think he’ll be able to do more than consolidate Dortmund?
TR: I think he’s capable of more, generally speaking. Stöger has proved at Cologne that he’s able to establish a stable system on the field. The problem I see, though, is that doesn’t have a lot of time to do that. Taking over the head-coaching job for a profoundly rattled team in the middle of English Weeks [with mid-week fixtures] is a kamikaze operation — and the winter break isn’t really long enough to do fundamental work on the structural weaknesses in Dortmund’s team. It’s going to be interesting for me to watch whether he will play a different kind of football with a much better squad. From the outsider’s view he’s considered as a clearly defensive-minded coach, but in my opinion that was largely down to Cologne’s limited squad. Maybe he can rework his image in those six months at Dortmund …
YWP: The fans seem to have loved Stöger, can you describe his personality in a few words?
TR: From the human side of things I can only congratulate BVB fans: Stöger is grounded and straightforward, with a lot of Wiener Schmäh [the Viennese humour and style of communication] and important social skills. He truly captivates people, in a completely different way compared to Jürgen Klopp, for example. I’m excited to see whether he manages to get invested in his new club and approach its identity — like he did in Cologne.