Bosz is now the newest coach of Bayer Leverkusen, following the sacking of Heiko Herrlich.
Herrlich was sacked after finishing ninth in the table - even on points with eighth placed Hertha Berlin - with a negative three goal difference to close the Hinrunde, or the first half of the season. The problems for Leverkusen are all over the pitch. Although boasting talents such as Havertz, Brandt, Tah, Jedvaj, and Bailey, their numbers indicate that Bayer’s attacking play has been ineffective at times, generating a lower xG than both Werder Bremen and Hertha Berlin, who are below and above Leverkusen on the table, respectively. On the other side of the ball, Leverkusen massively over performed defensively, implying that they sat back and limited the opposition’s opportunities. Leverkusen also conceded less goals from open play - with 17 - then Berlin and Bremen. The fact that Leverkusen have conceded seven(!) goals from corners, compared to three from Berlin and two from Bremen implies that tactics and coaching were at fault for the stunted start to the season.
With a young squad that loaded with attacking talent, Bosz should look to allow them to play on the front foot by utilizing a combination of pressing and attacking football. While that may bolster Leverkusen in the first several weeks of the Rückrunde, his flaws as a coach may be once again exposed in the Bundesliga.
Appointed as Borussia Dortmund’s head coach last season, he was quickly exposed in the Champions League, while he collapsed after week 7 in the Bundesliga - when BVB were on top of the table by 5 points - and proceeded to go winless until his final game in charge. His absurdly high defensive line left acres of space for the opposition to run into without the threat of an offside trap, while his unwillingness to control the tempo of the game and see out a victory cost him a Revierderby victory against Schalke - a game that Dortmund led 4-0 at halftime. He also failed to adjust his tactics to the personnel at his disposal, failing to account for Sokratis’s and Weigl’s immobility in the center of the pitch.
From his appointment, I expressed my skepticism about the former Ajax manager. With Ajax, he had recently led the historical Dutch side to the final of the Europa League against Mourinho’s Manchester United side. But even in that game, he showed his shortcomings as a coach, as his side was carved open by a stale, yet talented, team for a dominating 2:0 loss.
While most of the things on the pitch going wrong were his fault, a lot of frustrations off of the pitch were not. The pending, and eventually cancelled, sale of Aubameyang to China was a saga to deal with, as he eventually left during the winter break to Arsenal for a hefty fee. The Dembele to Barcelona saga was a frustration for him, as one of the most talented members of the squad failed to show up to training in the beginning of the season, even with the squad performing well. Several interviews following his departure from the club showed that he was left in the dark by Zorc and Watzke, and was blindsided when those issues arose. Additionally, the team was under poor leadership, as Reus was still injured from the summer until sometime in February, and Schmelzer’s captaincy was controversial from beginning to end.
He is a good coach, but whether he is the right appointment for Leverkusen at this moment in time remains to be seen. He does have the majority of the winter break to adjust this side to his vision, but even then, Bayer could have reached for some other candidates or waited until the summer. Names like Jardim, Marco Rose, or even the return of Roger Schmidt come to mind as coaches who could have pushed this club into a positive direction, but whether Bosz will be able to get the best out of this Leverkusen side, with everything that he has learned from his experience at Dortmund, is unbeknownst to me.
Despite everything said above, as a former BVB staff member, he is wished the best of luck in his new position, and we hope that he is set up for success in his latest challenge. He deserves criticism for his mistakes, but nothing should be held against him personally, as he always seemed friendly and open during his time at the club.