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Peter Bosz is officially out at Borussia Dortmund. The club confirmed Bosz’s sacking Sunday morning, less than 24 hours after yet another deflating loss. And frankly, the only surprise is that it waited this long.
The final blow was a 2-1 home defeat to Werder Bremen that had become par for the Bosz course. Over the past two months, Dortmund had become both stale and leaky. It had become a shell of the team it was under Thomas Tuchel the year before.
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke made the decision Saturday night and met with Bosz to inform him of it. “It was very emotional, but classy,” Watzke said at a news conference Sunday. “And Bosz took it with class.”
The Black and Yellows have moved quickly to appoint a successor. Former Cologne manager Peter Stoger will take charge until the end of the 2017-18 season. Stoger was axed by Cologne exactly a week ago, after winning just three points from 14 Bundesliga games to open the campaign. But he led the Billy Goats to fifth place and a long-awaited Europa League berth last season. And unlike Bosz at BVB, Stoger had previously achieved some stability during a successful four-year reign.
Bosz arrived in Germany after one season at Ajax, but started well. He had Dortmund in first place and undefeated in the Bundesliga after seven matches. But Dortmund has not won another league or Champions League match since.
After a 2-1 victory over Augsburg on the last day of September, Bosz’s BVB lost five of eight in the Bundesliga, and drew the other three. It accumulated just two points in six Champions League games, via two draws with Cypriot minnow APOEL Nicosia. It became the first Champions League team to qualify for the Europa League as a third-place group finisher with only two points, and has slipped to seventh place in the league.
Bosz’s pressing system had become borderline dysfunctional. There are legitimate questions about the quality of the players, but those players had stopped fighting for him, and his system clearly did not suit them. The writing had been on the wall for over a month.
The real backbreaker was a 4-4 draw at home against Schalke that, at halftime, looked set to be a turnaround-inciting 4-0 win. But a stunning collapse left Bosz clinging to the job by a finger nail. The loss to Werder reflected his near lame-duck status.
“Especially in the first half, we played very poorly,” Bosz admitted afterward. “That was the worst I’ve seen since my appointment. Not only from a footballing point of view, we were simply not aggressive enough in the tackles. … I have to bluntly say: We lacked quality.
“We did not play the way exercised in training,” he continued. “If one player had the ball, others did not move. Of course, I’m responsible for all that in the end.”
Indeed, he ended up paying the ultimate price.
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