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Team spirit is new coach Peter Stoeger’s biggest challenge at Dortmund

IANS | Berlin |

New Borussia Dortmund head coach Peter Stoeger won’t be the man having to invent a brand new tactical system, but to teach the basics of teamwork to a football squad that has fallen apart into small groups.

It’s a problem pundits say is a leftover from the era of Thomas Tuchel, who departed last summer after two years with the club. Peter Bosz, 54, did not manage to solve the problem as he struggled to implement a new tactical system, losing his team’s trust, reports Xinhua news agency.

Stoeger has never before worked with a side of that quality and ambition. After achieving national titles in Austria, Stoeger joined Cologne in the second division, helping them make it to the Bundesliga. Cologne’s game came along without big surprises but stood for a reliable defence. “His teams always had remarkable stability. That is what our team lacks most at present,” Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc said.

It might astonish some observers that a pragmatic coaching type is the one having to rescue a side like Borussia Dortmund, that stands for enthusiastic forwarding football since Juergen Klopp joined the club in 2008. The charismatic coach of the Premier League side FC Liverpool invented and developed Dortmund’s distinctive style.

Despite a different tactical approach, Stoeger is known for having an open ear for the concerns of his players and enforcing a team spirit. He is also known for rolling up his sleeves working, no matter how sweaty and exhausting it might be.

What exactly caused the problems for the 2013 Champions League final participant seems to be a mystery. “We can’t exactly name the problem, and why the team lost its determination, it must be a mental cause, something psychological,” Zorc said.

As the Champions League is a must for the stock market-listed side, time had seemed to run out for the turnaround with Bosz. Key performers such as Julian Weigl and Nuri Sahin lost faith, and star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang disturbed the team’s balance with his escapades. Borussia conceded 23 goals in 15 games which is far too much to join the race for one of the four top positions securing Champions League participation.

Missing Champions league qualification would cause serious trouble as Dortmund depends on the millions that can be earned and needs to be attractive to young, high-quality talent. Having missed the next round of the 2017/2018 Champions League campaign under Peter Bosz caused concern which turned into panic when they began losing ground in the Bundesliga. Now it is Stoeger’s job to turn things around and secure Champions League qualification.

According to the well informed tabloid “Bild,” Stoeger will be rewarded with up to three million euros for the six months of his engagement.

The Austrian said coaching Dortmund is a unique chance for him to prove his qualities on such a high level. Stoeger announced that he will start some serious conversations with his players about the team’s problems. “I want to bring some emphatic energy to the group,” he emphasised.

Stoeger does not seem to be afraid of the challenge ahead. Dortmund, he said, is an exciting club. “I would have coached them for only two weeks if someone had asked me to do so in the past.”