Edin Terzic, a son of parents with a migration background from the former Yugoslavia, is living the Dortmund dream. Like many other football-loving children who were born and raised in industrial West Germany, his formative years were often spent worrying about scoring goals for the club of his choice, the black and yellow of course.
While this special dream was never realized, Terzic has now been given the chance to shape his open-minded personality in the team of his heart in a different way than as interim coach of Borussia Dortmund, who will face Union Berlin on Friday (2:20 p.m. ET, Live stream on ESPN +) – until the end of the season. Make no mistake, the heart part is important to mention. In a club that is such an emotional fireball, there is hope of returning to a more passionate, more proactive tech personality by naming Terzic to succeed former boss Lucien Favre, at least for a short time.
Favre was finished after the 5-1 humiliation on Saturday at home against Stuttgart, but not because of this performance per se. There were too many stumbling blocks against humble opponents: think of the 2-0 defeat in Augsburg and the 2-1 defeat against Cologne before the demolition last weekend.
Even older gamers were less subtle after drinking on the weekend. When captain Marco Reus says: "We are not a team that can defend well" or describes an advertisement as "shameful", then your ears perk up. Mats Hummels turned to the little used idiomatic expression "too much skill", which can best be translated as "fiddling around too much".
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After a long discussion in an executive box in Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park, in which all leading decision-makers were involved, including CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and head of sport Michael Zorc, there was no laziness. Favre's fate was sealed.
Letting the Swiss tactician go wasn't the preferred option at the time, but the club felt they had no other choice. In a league with the European champions Bayern Munich and improved versions of RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg, the concern of not reaching the minimum goal of a top 4 place became real when they were three points ahead of fourth place in the league sat one game more than their competition to have played for the European seats.
Favre was and is a very capable trainer and educator. Sources close to the club have consistently got me excited about his methods and footballing prowess, but in a results-driven business it's legitimate to ask if he qualifies as a master coach – someone who can win titles.
It must also be said that personality comes into play. Favre is pleasant and personable, but a bit distant, introverted and sheltered in his public dealings. When we heard his media briefings, we expected the usual mess of words that we had all heard before.
BVB fans need fire and brimstone from their head coach. You had the ultimate soccer evangelist in Jurgen Klopp between 2008 and 2015, and it was a struggle for each of the following four managers before Terzic was appointed. Favre could never and never tried to compete in this department.
Then, when the results went wrong and doubts arose about a style that was often too slow and clumsy, the strikes against the coach meant that his position had become untenable. Borussia Dortmund's excessive trust in the currently injured Erling Haaland had also shown the extent to which they performed below average in other areas of the team.
After Favre was released, my inbox was filled with questions from all over the world, wondering what was next. Who would Dortmund bring with them? A big name from abroad?
Remember, this is Germany and there is no tradition of doing what is often done in England and buying out another head coach or manager's contract in the off-season. Instead, such changes will be worked out to take effect the following summer. An emergency solution to fill the void is the normal solution, and that's what Dortmund decided to do.
There has been speculation that the club's promising U23 coach, Enrico Maassen, might get the nod, but Terzic – viewed as someone independent from Favre despite being part of his coaching staff – had many things ahead of him, not least an existing relationship with the first team squad. Let's not forget the impact a certain assistant coach had when he was promoted to the top job at Bayern a year ago. Could it be the same for Terzic?
Edin Terzic is a lifelong fan of Borussia Dortmund who is now in charge of the club he has loved since childhood. Mario Hommes / DeFodi Images via Getty Images
First things first: On his debut as a coach at Werder Bremen on Tuesday evening, a solid, if unspectacular BVB scored a 2-1 win. But Terzic – who yelled, chatted, taught, and praised all night from tech – was on the whole happy. Symbolically, he gave 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko his first start – making him the youngest player to ever start a Bundesliga competition – something Favre had shied away from.
Terzic then summed it up as follows: "Sometimes it was BVB football that I imagine. I am proud that we gave everything from start to finish." He was very proud of the way they defended the win.
It still needs more polishing, however, and the next test will take place on Friday against what is perhaps the biggest surprise package of the season: Union Berlin. There are currently no hiding spots for Dortmund or Terzic, not that the coach perceives someone as a shrinking violet.
The first favorite to take over the reins permanently is Borussia Mönchengladbach's Marco Rose, a man who admits that for six years he has learned most of what he plays under Klopp in Mainz. Rose reportedly has a release clause that can be activated next summer and honestly it's not difficult to think of him as Dortmund's top tactician.
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Due to his experience as head coach of the Bundesliga with a traditional giant as well as with FC Salzburg, Rose has the edge when it comes to the incumbent of the Austrian champions Jesse Marsch. However, the American might be an attractive candidate for Gladbach if Rose moved on.
Mauricio Pochettino could be in conversation, but would first have to develop a good knowledge of German. It's also likely that he'll be queuing elsewhere by summer.
I won't overlook Terzic, however. As a Croatian passport holder, he learned a lot while working under Slaven Bilic at Besiktas and West Ham United. During the successful Klopp years he also worked in various functions at the Dortmund Youth Academy.
Terzic is the personification of the magnificent football madhouse Ruhrpott. He was born in Menden, just 29 km from Dortmund, and played semi-pro in places like Herne and Wattenscheid in order to finance his sports studies studies at the Ruhr University in Bochum.
Terzic really gets Borussia Dortmund as someone who attended a game in the Westfalenstadion for the first time at the age of 9. Expect energy, enthusiasm and passionate football to be back on the menu for BVB fans who have their own at the top. Can he bring Dortmund back into the title fight? I am fascinated.