BVB trainer Edin Terzic: How he managed to turn things around during the winter break – Sport
Edin Terzic has a very limited interest in seeing Bayern naked. To be precise: none at all. “I never understood that line of the song,” he joked at the beginning of the week at a beer sponsor’s fan talk, when the audience, dressed in black and yellow, suddenly began to sing the popular song about taking off lederhosen. “Why do you want to see her naked?” he asked fiercely into the beery auditorium. Terzic earned a lot of laughter.
The 40-year-old Westphalian takes over Borussia Dortmund currently several winning roles: home caregiver, buddy guy and entertainer – but first and foremost, of course, head coach. As such, he is the first since Lucien Favre four years ago to lead Borussia to the top of the Bundesliga table. On Saturday evening, Dortmund are now away to FC Bayern with a small lead. The constellation of the summit meeting at the beginning of April 2019 was exactly the same, when Favres Borussia then went down 0: 5 in Munich. In the further course of that season they did not catch up with Bayern – and never again after that. Until now.
With Terzic, the most suitable BVB coach since Jürgen Klopp, Dortmund has reached a groundbreaking point in the club’s recent history. It’s about cracking a ten-year Bayern dominance. “We have a great opportunity,” says Terzic in a state-supporting style. The fact that this opportunity was worked out with a head coach from the Sauerland region, i.e. a native of Westphalia, makes it all the more valuable for BVB.
Terzic has been a BVB sympathizer since childhood, he was in the stadium for the first time at the age of nine and sometimes doesn’t even know today whether he’s actually more of a coach or more of a fan. In any case, homeland plays a major role. Ten years ago he got married in nearby Nordkirchen, in a magnificent baroque palace that became famous as the “Westphalian Versailles”. As part of the celebrations, white doves were released into the sky – carrier pigeons would have been even more authentic, but not as romantic. Terzic even has his Westphalian roots ahead of Klopp, the most popular Borussia coach to date.
BVB went into the break with mentality problems – mentality monsters came back
In the Ruhr area, they say, people tell themselves the truth, no matter how unpleasant it may be. That’s what Terzic wants: “A team only achieves its maximum in the long term if everyone has the feeling of being valued and accepted, and if everyone feels that they are honest with each other.” The two-month winter break, which in retrospect takes on the metaphor of a car wash, could also have been under this motto. An injury-prone side with mental health problems went in from sixth place – and came out with a complete, fit squad full of mentality monsters who suddenly gave their all in a way Dortmunders haven’t seen in a long time. So they conquered the top of the table.
The agonizing sixth place, the constructive evaluation of poor statistics from the first half of the season and the personal approach to one or the other player from whom one asked for an even more professional lifestyle, apparently forced a kind of emotional purification in the squad. Terzic and sports director Sebastian Kehl, who started together at the beginning of the season, designed the World Cup break as an intensive inventory and would have hardly expected that the team would not lose a single one of ten Bundesliga games after the game had resumed and win nine. Terzic’s winter inventory served its purpose and didn’t leave offended players, as might have happened.
According to reports, Terzic usually finds the right tone. Goalkeeper Alexander Meyer, most recently substitute for regular goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, said about his coach during the beer talk: “He is approachable and sensitive. Every player can always go to him and talk to him openly and honestly.” Meyer sees more in Terzic than just the BVB coach, he also sees him as a fan: “I can see in Edin’s eyes what this club means to him.” BVB boss Hans-Joachim Watzke also praises this emotional bond when he says: “Our fans want someone to commit themselves wholeheartedly to the club. We hope that Edin can shape an era for us.”
Terzic, the son of Yugoslav parents and as a player not getting beyond the regional league, was already a BVB scout and youth coach at the age of 27. The Croatian coach Slaven Bilic then brought him to Besiktas Istanbul as an assistant coach ten years ago and later took him to West Ham United in London. Terzic received his coaching diploma in England in 2018. He then returned to Borussia Dortmund. When the team traveled to Munich as leaders in April 2019, Terzic was Favre’s assistant coach. “The defeat back then hurt,” he remembers. “I remember that Julian Weigl threw things through the dressing room during the break.”
However, Terzic does not see a bad omen in the similarity of the starting position to back then, because the emotional constellation is now completely different. At that time, BVB had started the season away from the top of the table and were still seven points ahead of Bayern at the beginning of February 2019. Then they lost in Munich, let themselves be overtaken in the end and had to admit defeat, exhausted. This time, however, Dortmund are catching up. After the last game before the World Cup they were nine points behind Bayern, now they are one point ahead.
“We now have a different constellation in the dressing room,” said Terzic, referring to the strength and confidence that the players have gained from recent victories. “This energy gives us hope,” he says. “We have a huge opportunity, we can set an example.” Terzic wants to defeat Bayern. Without Lederhosen undressing.