It’s certainly what you’d call a great start. First the 2-0 victory in Wattenscheid, with the U23 team climbing out of the relegation zone of the Regionalliga West for the first time this season, and then four days later, the 6-0 drubbing at home to FC Wegberg-Beeck. It couldn’t have gone much better for new Manager Daniel Farke (39) and his team.
We spoke with David Wagner’s successor, who has gone looking for a new challenge with English Championship outfit Huddersfield Town, about his own sporting past, his new job with the Black and Yellows and his aims, desires and ambitions.
Daniel Farke, every Manager dreams of having such a brilliant start when he takes on a new challenge. Had you imagined it would go so well?
I actually didn’t have any expectations – as a manager you have to prepared for all eventualities. The situation was not easy. We didn’t have much time to prepare before the opening two games of the season, the situation with the staff was tense. That's why I’m even more pleased that it’s gone so well so far. Both victories give us some momentum.
Your switch to Dortmund came at pretty short notice. Why did you reject your original plan of taking a year off after twelve successful years at SV Lippstadt?
Mainly because of the appeal of BVB. When a team of this sort come knocking, then as a Manager you instantly sit up and take notice. I then had many encouraging conversations with Ingo Preuß, Lars Ricken, Michael Zorc and Thomas Tuchel. It was then I saw that our aspirations were similar and that we had good chemistry.
"My Grandfather played for BVB“
What kind of relationship did you have with BVB before U23 Manager Ingo Preuß got in contact with you?
My grandfather played for BVB, the era of legends such as Heini Kwiatkowski, Adi Preißler, Hermann Burgsmüller or Hoppy Kurrat. I’m also close friends with Günter Kutowski, with whom I played with at Paderborn for many years. And as a Westphalian you pursue the development of this team anyway with interest, despite the distance.
We know that you played for SV Lippstadt, as well as Paderborn, Wilhelmshaven, Bonn and Meppen at a high amateur level. But how does a young man, 33 years of age, in addition to the first coaching job at your home club, become Sporting Director?
I studied Business Management in Paderborn and did my degree there. At the end of my playing career I got an offer from the Regionalliga, to take up the role of Sporting Director there. At the time I had decided to go for SV Lippstadt, because privately, it was a good fit and it was clear to me that the coaching job is what I wanted to do. I sort of slipped into the role of Sporting Director. The dual-functioning seemed to work well, and so I’ve been doing that for six years now.
You were a striker – and you were top scorer in the Oberliga Westfalein for the 2002/3 season with 28 goals. Does your sporting past reflect your game philosophy as a Manager? Even in the first two games you had success with the very offensively-orientated system.
Subconsciously, that may well be true. As a former striker, I have understanding and empathy for my attacking players. I want to have the ball and to display our dominance on the pitch. This playing style favours offensively-minded players. Staying compact at the back, forming a brick wall and hoping that that will get the job done is not my style. I want to actively shape the game.
What excites you the most about your job at BVB?
Regarding the allure of BVB that I’ve already spoken about, there are a number of other factors, such as the framework and training conditions, as well as the cooperation with the excellent staff. My motivation to create something new here is immense. I find this U23 project with BVB tremendously exciting.
"Very good mentality and tremendous character"
What is your impression of the young players? How do they go along with everything?
The youngsters have a very good mentality and tremendous character, which was evident right at the start. They are very attentive and really get stuck into what we give them. The fact that they accept the relegation battle with all the pressure is not self-evident but they are working really hard.
What are your short term and medium-term goals? And what do you think it still possible this season, particularly after the botched start to the season and the improved performance in the last match?
Firstly we want to further secure our points and our style of play. It’s clear that there will be setbacks and it can’t continue so steeply. In the medium-term, we want to head for other regions, but we don’t have a particular end of season goal in terms of points. If we are successful in getting the youngsters to play a certain brand of football, the success will follow automatically.
Is potential enough to achieve these aims, or will there be changes to the squad during Winter? The personnel situation is pretty tense at the moment with long-term lay-offs.
We have to watch closely what it happening with the players dropping out long-term, as the personnel ceiling is currently very thin. We will have a close look at this. There won’t be any quick fixes.
"I don't have a clear-cut career plan"
Are you planning on having the pros Marvin Ducksch and Moritz Leitner for the whole Winter?
Marvin is currently training with us and a fully-fledged player of our team. He is very focused and disciplined. I hope he will stay with us as long as possible and I think that would help him. Moritz is a player who you always enjoy working with and for as long as possible. He can make the difference, even on an entirely different level. But if he has the opportunity to move onwards and upwards, then of course we’ll grant him that.
A quick look ahead to the future – your contract runs out in 2017. Can you imagine long-term work at BVB, or do you see your work here as a springboard to an even higher league?
Certainly I can imagine working here in the long run. I’ve never seen it as a springboard. When I take a job, I do it because I really want to and that I’m convinced about it. I don’t have a clear-cut career plan. Of course I’d love to work in a higher league. But my happiness does not depend on whether I’m coaching a Bundesliga team. At the moment I’m happy that I can do this job at BVB. And I’ll be doing it with motivation and passion.
Interview by Udo Stark