The coach who triggered the Bundesliga coaching carousel at the tail end of the 2019/20 season looked disappointed. “The three points are now gone,” Borussia Dortmund head coach Marco Rose said after his club’s 3-1 defeat to Hertha Berlin.
“We were up 1-0 and then gift them the goals,” Rose added. The Dortmund defeat also more or less gifted Bayern Munich the Bundesliga title. With 17 games played, the Rekordmeister is now nine points ahead of Dortmund. Safe to say, the title race is over, and Bayern will win the tenth title in a row.
The Rekordmeister is also one of the two winners of last summer’s coaching carousel that landed them Julian Nagelsmann. Whether signing Rose from Gladbach, however, was a success still remains to be seen; thus far, his coaching has not been enough to challenge Bayern, and in the Champions League, the Black and Yellows were eliminated in the group stage.
Rose leaving for Dortmund meant that Gladbach hired Adi Hütter from Eintracht Frankfurt, who, in turn, signed Oliver Glasner from Wolfsburg. The Wolves then went on and signed Mark van Bommel. Of all those coaching moves, only one has been a true success.
Wolfsburg has fired Van Bommel already, and the club is still struggling under new coach Florian Kohfeldt. Gladbach is just two points above the relegation line, and if it was not for COVID and Borussia’s inability to pay out coaches, Hütter might already be gone as well.
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Eintracht Frankfurt is the only club other than Bayern Munich to have benefited from the coaching carousel. After a slow start, Glasner has the Eagles play fun, dynamic football, and Frankfurt finished the Hinrunde just one point behind Hoffenheim in fifth place.
Glasner, in fact, looks poised to fulfill the club’s mission to finally qualify for the Champions League. An objective the club threw away last season after Hütter announced his decision to leave the club and join Gladbach.
Frankfurt then also lost director of sport Fredi Bobic, who long was understood to be the mastermind behind Eintracht’s smart squad building. During Bobic’s time, Frankfurt scouted well and sold players with a profit while steadily improving results.
That strategy is now continued under Glasner and sporting director Markus Krösche. Frankfurt sold top goalscorer André Silva for $25.3 million ahead of the season. The 28 goals and ten assists that Silva scored last season were always going to be hard to replace.
Krösche, however, signed free agent Rafael Borré (four goals) and paid $7.7 million for winger Jesper Lindstrøm (also four goals). Meanwhile, winger Filip Kostić has already contributed six assists. The Serbian once again is a crucial player guaranteeing that any Frankfurt attacker will be blessed with perfect assists.
Glasner, however, deserves the lion’s share of the credit. The 47-year-old Austrian has managed to build on Hütter’s tactical approach. Like Hütter, Glasner plays with three in the back. But unlike Hütter, Glasner’s attacking style is less dependent on a typical wall player up-front; instead, the attack is more flexible, which has meant that Frankfurt is harder to calculate.
That last part is perhaps the biggest irony of the Bundesliga carousel. Glasner was given the shop that fitted him best when the dust settled. It is the opposite of what happened to Rose, Hütter, Marsch, Van Bommel, and Co., who all ended up at clubs that do not necessarily fit their playing style.
Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth