Two years ago, an unassuming assistant coach was appointed to the role of caretaker head coach of Borussia Dortmund, in what was clearly a temporary move to replace the outgoing Lucien Favre, whose struggles climaxed with a brutal 5-1 pasting at the hands of VfB Stuttgart. Few outside of Dortmund had ever even heard the name Edin Terzic. He had no head coach experience whatsoever, with only a tutelage under Slaven Bilic at West Ham United under his belt. Two years later, following a magnificent end to the season that included a top four finish and a DFB Pokal win, the hiring and sacking of Marco Rose, and a World-Cup interrupted season laden with various twists and turns, that former assistant coach stands on the precipice of doing something no BVB manager has managed to do since 2012: win a Bundesliga title.
Looking back at all the articles I’ve written for this site, I can’t help but notice that, of all the various topics we cover, we really don’t talk all that much about Edin Terzic. Considering that this is a Borussia Dortmund fan site, and that Terzic’s status as a fan-turned-club-leader makes his story all the more remarkable, the fact that I personally have barely written a word about him feels irresponsible. In my defense, there are various mundane justifications for this: I generally prefer talking about matches and the players more; I’m not much of a tactics expert so I often don’t feel qualified enough to criticize Terzic; and Terzic’s unassuming, drama-free personality offers a stark contrast to other, more headline-friendly managers around the world.
In truth, since he was hired in the spur of the moment to replace Marco Rose, my feelings towards Terzic have been mostly ambivalent. Sure, his Cinderella run in the Spring of 2021 was cool, but he had a fantastic squad to work with and I wasn’t sure he could replicate it over a full season. In fact, for most of this year I thought he has been perfectly adequate, but not spectacular. He was doing a good job keeping a squad short on attacking talent in the Bundesliga’s upper echelons, and he shepherded Dortmund through the Champions League Group Stage. However, he has numerous flaws that I could readily point to. His substitutions often come across as simplistic, such as when he subs on an extra center back to defend a 1-goal lead. He has a stupefying reluctance to play certain players. like Mahmoud Dahoud, who have seemingly done nothing to deserve his ire. On numerous occasions he has been decisively out-coached; Chelsea and Stuttgart are two recent examples that come to mind.
Despite all that, Terzic finds himself on the cusp of accomplishing what no Borussia Dortmund coach over the last decade has been able to do: win a Bundesliga title. Since Jurgen Klopp led Die Schwarzgelben to Bundesliga glory in 2012, numerous managers with resumes much more impressive than Terzic have tried and failed to repeat his success. This includes three failed efforts by Klopp himself, Thomas Tuchel, who is now attempting to chase Terzic down as the head coach of Bayern Munich, and Lucien Favre, who let a nine-point lead slip away.
If he can pull it off, Terzic will immediately surpass each of these figures (except maybe for Klopp) and heighten himself from a mere feel-good story to a Bona Fide club legend. It won’t just be that Dortmund won a title to break Bayern’s decade-long drought: it will be that he, a guy who was standing in the yellow wall as a fan 10 years ago, was the one to do it. For a club in a league where the fans come first, that’s the stuff of legend.
Edin Terzic, in his debut season, famously went 7-for-7 to close out the Bundesliga season to ensure a spot in the Champions League. This time, the magic number is five, but the stakes are even higher. None of the remaining matches will be easy, but each one is independently winnable. A glorious triumph is within reach; all Terzic has to do is reach out and take it.