Borussia Dortmund have unveiled their new head coach a day before the start of pre-season on Saturday. Amid a flurry of camera flashes, Lucien Favre smiled as he fielded questions alongside Hans-Joachim Watzke and Michael Zorc. But the 60-year-old coach will not be "overburdened with unrealistic expectations", as Watzke explained. "Our objective is to qualify for the Champions League. That'll never change – but that's it for now. We need some time to lay the foundations."
"Our preferred candidate last season"
The Chief Executive Officer did reveal, however, that "Lucien Favre was already our preferred coaching candidate last season. But Nice wouldn't let him go, which itself speaks volumes for the work he was doing there." Watzke continued: "Zurich, Berlin, Gladbach, Nice − not only was he very successful there, but he's always maximised the potential at his disposal too."
"He makes each individual player better"
Sporting Director Michael Zorc also had words of praise for the new head coach, who penned a two-year deal until June 2020 at the end of May. "His teams always have a clear structure; he adheres to a clear game philosophy with very good build-up play and a very good balance between attack and defence." He continued: "Lucien develops players, he likes working with young players and he makes each individual player − and, consequently, the whole team − better."
Excellent record with Hertha and Gladbach
After almost three years overseas, Lucien Favre − who previously coached Hertha BSC (2007 to September 2009) and Borussia Mönchengladbach (February 2011 to September 2015), winning a remarkable 102 of his 228 Bundesliga matches (45 percent win rate) − is back in Germany. "When BVB call, it's impossible to turn down as a coach. It's a big challenge, it'll be exciting. I'm very much looking forward to it," explained the 60-year-old, who has two league titles and two cups to his name in his Swiss homeland, having earlier been crowned "Footballer of the Year" as a player in 1983.
Part of Favre's philosophy is to build from the back, starting with the goalkeeper ("to gain numerical superiority"), and to dominate territory in midfield "to find intelligent ways to get to goal".
"It'll take time"
Favre and his coaching staff − Mandred Stefes, 51, with whom he previously worked in Gladbach; former BVB man Edin Terzic, 35, who served as an assistant at West Ham United until the end of 2017; and goalkeeping coach Matthias Kleinsteiber, 40 − will take charge of their new team on Saturday, though the players who have participated at the World Cup are still on holiday. "We need to learn to play high up the pitch," announced the Swiss tactician. "It'll take some time. It doesn't all happen in a month."
Time, as Hans-Joachim Watzke initially took time to emphasise, is a commodity Lucien Favre will be granted to build his team in a relaxed environment: "It'll certainly require longer than one transfer period," said the CEO.