01|01 DAY ONE: JENSEN TAKES TEMPORARY CHARGE AT DORTMUND

SeasonOne.EpisodeOne | The beginning

FW: Favre sacked by Dortmund

28 November 2018, Wednesday 9:00

Lucien Favre has been sacked by Borussia Dortmund Sporting Director Michael Zorc. Favre’s departure comes in the wake of a recent run of bad results for Dortmund and the club felt that a change was necessary for the good of the team.

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The former Nice manager had been the manager at Dortmund since July 2018. Dortmund have been disappointing in the Bundesliga so far this season and find themselves in 14th place. Dortmund have only won one of their last five games in the league.

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FW: Jensen takes temporary charge at Dortmund

29 November 2018, Thursday 12:00

The Dortmund board have today confirmed that rookie Oliver Jensen will be the new name on the manager’s door at Signal Iduna Park, the Dortmund Under 19s manager being given temporary charge until the end of the season. Kristiansund-born Jensen declared that, despite it being his first job in management, he was not intimidated by the challenge of senior management and had already turned his attention to the first-teams’ match against Schalke on Saturday 8 December.

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29 November 2018, Thursday 13:00

When I got the call from Michael Zorc to see if I would take over until the end of the season, we were sitting 14th in the Bundesliga with just three wins from our opening 12 games. With a point from our opening five games in the Champions League and being rooted to the bottom of the group, I knew if I took the job it wasn’t going to be easy.

I’m hoping that I can do enough in the seven months I’ve been given to prove myself enough to get a full-time contract.

After our abysmal start, Michael Zorc not only removed Favre but also his assistant manager, so my first order of the day is to appoint one to help me settle. Zorc had suggested I speak with former Dortmund player Steffen Freund. His experience will help me find my feet in my new role and I’m looking forward to working with him.

In terms of the expectations on me, despite taking over when we’re 14th in the league, the board still expects Champions League qualification. Given that we’re only nine points outside of this, I think we can make that up if we hit the ground running.

As you can imagine the dressing room atmosphere is low, and I hardly have any support from the players right now. It doesn’t get any easier, either, with my first match against fierce rivals Schalke. A win there would surely give me the boost from the fans that I need, given that they’re not totally enamoured with promoting a relative unknown from within.

We have no time whatsoever to embed any sort of tactical system. We have nine days on the training field, for which I will be working very hard on getting the players as familiar as I can with how I want to play.

Jensen on his game model

With me in charge, Die Borussen can expect a patient but attacking brand of football build on the foundations of a solid defence. For me, getting the defence right is the first step to success at any club, and that’s what I’ll aim to do. We’ve conceded 16 goals in 12 games as we sit just one point outside the relegation zone. It’s easy to understand, though, as we’re hardly stocked with world-class options.

From this solid base, however, we can then open up in the attacking third of the pitch and be more expressive, with the aim of catching our opponents off-guard and always keeping them guessing. I like to make the pitch as wide as possible in the attack, utilising the full-backs in our build-up play. The midfield tripartite will always have distinct roles, a destroyer, a runner, and a creator. These will be distributed between the AM/CM/DM lines as appropriate for the match, which really leaves us with only one striker option.

I need energetic players who can get up and down the pitch, attacking and defending as a unit. I like to control the game through purposeful possession. My wide players need to be unpredictable and will be free to impose themselves as they see fit.

Generally speaking, I’m not too tied down to a particular style, but I want to see more goals, more entertainment, and above all else, more points for Dortmund.

This is just a brief view of how I intend to turn our fortunes around. A later post will look at the players and the system I aim to use.

Jensen on player development

From a player development perspective, I’m passionate about developing and promoting youth players to the first team who have had experience playing our way through the academy. I will be asking the coaches of the youth teams to try to adapt to play a similar style as we do in the first team.

If I’m given the job full-time, I fully intend on making use of the fantastic facilities here. I’ll start with my promise by ensuring youth players are in and around the first team and getting minutes. We have some great youth prospects who I’m very familiar with having managed them for a couple of seasons so they can expect to be in and around the first-team squad.

Jensen on trusting his staff

I trust my staff and will trust Michael Zorc and the scouting team when it comes to player recruitment. I don’t expect to pull up any trees in these few months, but we do have to find some goals from somewhere. Less than a goal a game at the moment is not good enough for a club who expect dynamic, attacking football.

Staff responsibilities is a key thing for me, and I have delegated a lot of jobs to those around me.

Hans-Joachim Watzke (CEO of Borussia Dortmund)

  • Board – Hire and fire Director of Football
  • Contract Renewals – Decide if Director of Football should be given a new contract and handles negotiations

Michael Zorc (Director of Football)

  • Transfers – Find and make offers for young players for the future
  • Transfers – Offer first and youth team players either listed for transfer or loan to other clubs
  • Contract Renewals – Decide which youth team players contracts to extend and handles negotiations
  • Contract Renewals – Decide if all other staff should be given new contracts and handles negotiations
  • Scouting – Set assignments for the scouting team
  • Scouting – Update me on players the scouts have found
  • Scouting – Handles scouting meetings

As you can see, I expect Michael Zorc to very much run the back office side of things. When it comes to transfers, I’ll be adding players I identify to a prioritised transfer targets list and leave him to make offers and deal with the contractual side of things.

However, I plan to go into a lot more detail over the coming weeks regarding my staff, the players and my tactics. There’s a lot of work to be done and a long road ahead. We need to get off to a winning start and to do that we need to get into the team reports and build a system around the players we have. Plans are inconsequential if we cannot keep our job long enough to implement them.

This is just a short introduction, more in this in later posts. Now onto the team.

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Until next time, tschüss.

Oliver Jensen

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