Opinion: Edin Terzić not the main catalyst of Borussia Dortmund’s draw against VFB Stuttgart

Edin Terzic (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images)
Edin Terzic (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Edin Terzić
Edin Terzić (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images) /

Why the criticism of Edin Terzić is unfair

Of course, Borussia Dortmund suffer from far more than just a chronic lack of focus or respect for their opponents. The club are currently being managed by an inexperienced head coach in Edin Terzić, who has been part of a merry-go-round of managers that has left the club and players floundering for a brand and identity on the pitch at times. Player injuries have been almost consistently rampant barring when the club returned from this season’s winter break. Transfers have been hit or miss and players’ general forms have fluctuated drastically.

It would be easy to chalk Borussia Dortmund’s underperformance down to any one of these, but much of the criticism seems to be aimed directly at Terzić which, at least in terms of this game, seems rather unfair. Terzić has by no means been the perfect trainer, and as mentioned on numerous occasions his abrupt reappointment as a result of Marco Rose’s sacking remains a questionable decision based on the mentioned lack of stability leading to lack of identity.

He has also made questionable decisions tactically that have at times cultivated a sense of bewilderment. That being said, he has proven that he can absolutely get a tune out of this team and performances have shown levels of improvement under his watch. Players who seemed completely lost (Malen, Brandt and Guerreiro and several others) have grown into their roles and performed at higher levels than anyone could have anticipated.

The criticism of Terzić in particular misses the mark because of what went wrong against Stuttgart. It would be easy to look at the early substitution of Mats Hummels and the pairing of Soumaïla Coulibaly and Emre Can and say that they were bad tactical decisions. The reality is that the decisions made were borne of necessity and availability; necessity to put players in a position where they can at least theoretically play and to choose those players based on who was fit and available for the match. Based on these two concepts, Terzić made decisions that he felt would benefit the squad based on his assessment of the options at his disposal which were most certainly limited due to current injuries.

Even if we do take these decisions into account, it doesn’t explain the lack of effort on behalf of the players involved. Going into the second half two goals up should have motivated Borussia Dortmund to maintain pressure. There were enough veteran players on that pitch to bring all three points over the line, and yet they failed in this respect.

A lack of unity and mutual support once again undermined the club’s greater aspirations and resulted in a lukewarm performance, and that is something that no coach could have changed on the day.

A coach can set a team up tactically, name the lineup, but ultimately it comes down to the players to actually play the game, and as Edin Terzić correctly pointed out in the press conference, a team’s plan can only work when everyone on the pitch takes responsibility for their role and works as a unit to fulfil the task at hand, without simply expecting another teammate to deal with the adversity the team might face.

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There’s an anecdote from Game of Thrones that aptly suits Borussia Dortmund’s most recent performance. Robert Baratheon markedly pointed to the fact that one (a fist) is a far more powerful sum than five (or many fingers). Uniting to work together for one purpose is the only way for this club to ever break the status quo and truly bring titles back to the Wesfalenstadion on a consistent basis. Until this consistency and unity is achieved, the club will continue to be both Bayern’s closest competition whilst providing no competition at all, irrespective of who the person at the helm is.