Alen Terzic has spoken about his first few days in his new role as the U23 coach. "I have great confidence in the quality and willingness of our players," the 38-year-old said.
A fresh wind blows across the training ground in Dortmund-Brackel, where a friendly between the Borussia Dortmund U23s and third-tier side Preußen Münster has ended a few minutes ago. The team and coaching staff hastily make their way to the changing rooms. Having held their training camp in warmer climes, they are now back to the cold of Germany and are putting the finishing touches to their preparations ahead of the Regionalliga restart.
However, it is pleasantly warm in the coach's office, which has had a new occupant for the past fortnight. That man is Alen Terzic, who took over as the U23 coach after Jan Siewert joined English Premier League club Huddersfield Town in mid-January. Terzic, the brother of first-team assistant Edin, has settled well into his new job. But he is not entirely new to BVB, having worked as a full-time scout for the Black & Yellows since the summer of 2018.
U23 team manager Ingo Preuß told kicker magazine a few days ago: "The fact we know Alen personally gives us a feeling of security." Terzic is equally well aware of the advantages his prior knowledge of the club bring. "When it comes to getting started and settling in quickly, it certainly hasn't done me any harm to have been a BVB employee beforehand."
There's not been much time to settle in either. Terzic was thrown straight into the thick of the action, taking his team for a training camp in Huelva, Spain at the end of January. It was an intense period. "Given that we only had a relatively limited period of time until the game against Wiedenbrück, the time at the training camp obviously really helped us to get to know each other better and to work on our procedures together." As well as getting to know the team and the staff, the footballing aspect has been a focal point as well. "We've been coaching content-based principles of play and procedures, which we will obviously continue to train in the coming weeks and want to develop as best as we possibly can," said the Menden native.
Alen Terzic immediately felt at home, but he says that it was made easy for him. He has particularly highlighted his communication with his fellow staff. "Dialogue within our team of officials is extremely important. The lads are great on a personal and technical level and have really helped me to find my feet. But it's not only Ingo Preuß and my assistant and goalkeeping coaches that are doing an outstanding job, but also the other guys that work with the team. Our physios, kitmen and all of the other members of staff simply give everything for us."
Terzic himself gives everything on the training ground and the sidelines. He describes himself as a communicative coach, the benefits of which were evident in the friendly against Münster. Despite suffering an unlucky 1-0 defeat, he saw lots of good things during the course of the match and was quick to point them out in the direct aftermath. Work on the finishing touches will continue until the competitive restart on 16 February. "The lads have been very focused in every session and are showing great willingness," he said. Which is why the coach is not worried about the players who left this winter (Dieckmann, Pieper and Pavlidis). "Our squad is strong enough − despite all the departures in the winter − to have a good second half of the Regionalliga campaign. I have great confidence in the quality and the willingness of every single one of our players."
The Regionalliga West season will be over in just over three months − on 18 May to be precise. Alen Terzic is an ambitious man and he wants to be celebrating more than one thing by May. "I'm hoping that on 18 May I won't only be celebrating my birthday," he said, laughing. "On that day, I also want to be looking back together with my coaching staff and our team on 13 matches from which we achieved the maximum-possible success."