Peter Bosz’s six-month reign in charge at Borussia Dortmund was finally brought to an end on Sunday following the Black and Yellow’s latest capitulation in a season that started with so much promise.
The 54-year old Dutchman was relieved of his duties just a day after Dortmund suffered a third home league defeat of the season – to lowly Werder Bremen – that left them seventh in the Bundesliga, a full 13 points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
All this just over two months after Dortmund had been flying high after a record breaking start to the season saw them five points clear of Bayern after seven games.
So what went wrong?
Injuries certainly played a part as Dortmund were forced to do without a number of their established stars including Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle and most notably defensive rock Lukasz Piszczek, while Mario Gotze and Rafael Guerreiro have only just returned to the squad after long-term injuries.
Still, the injury situation was no better at the start of the season during Dortmund’s storming start, so Bosz would be hard pressed to use that as an excuse.
The biggest factor, however, seems to have been Bosz himself and his steadfast refusal to adapt to the team’s changing fortunes.
The high-energy pressing game and 4-3-3 formation that had served him so well in the opening seven games was soon worked out by opposing coaches, who openly spoke about having a plan to combat Dortmund’s by-now well-known tactics.
Yet Bosz refused to compromise on his principles, insisting that his players – rather than the tactics – were to blame. By the time he eventually decided to tinker with his formation ahead of the 4-4 draw against Schalke it was probably too late. The damage had arguably been done and the shocking loss of four-second half goals to their local rivals, only further dented the confidence of the by-now severely demoralised squad.
The situation also wasn’t helped by Bosz’s continuous chopping and changing to his line-ups, most notably in defence, with a different back four being used in almost every game since Piszczek’s injury in early October.
Bundesliga chairman maybe renown for their patience with coaches and the league is nowhere near as cutthroat when it comes to managerial appointments as the Premier League, but Bosz’s seeming stubbornness, Dortmund’s incredibly poor run in the league (no wins in eight matches- their worst since 2004) and their extremely disappointing Champions League campaign all combined to make the decision much easier for BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.
Overall, it’s been a disappointing time for Bosz following his relative success last term at Ajax, and he will need to show that he has learned the lessons from his spell at Signal-Iduna Park if he is to get another chance to manage at the top level.