A Johan Cruyff-obsessive who succeeded in bringing some 1970s swagger back to Ajax last season, Peter Bosz has taken charge of Dortmund. What are the Schwarzgelben letting themselves in for?
Fresh from taking Ajax to the UEFA Europa League final in his first season in charge, Peter Bosz has been confirmed as the new coach of Dortmund. What does the 53-year-old have to offer?
Edwin van der Sar, Ajax chief executive and former goalkeeper
“The last images of my father were on a bench with Peter Bosz at Maccabi Tel-Aviv. They were talking about football and Ajax. There was a lot of laughter too that afternoon. Peter Bosz is a nice guy who is always open to listening to others.”
Jordi Cruyff, Maccabi Tel-Aviv sporting director
“If anyone professes the Cruyff philosophy, it’s Peter Bosz. He’d rather win 5-4 than 1-0. He’s just as stubborn as well.”
Huib Rouwenhorst, former AGOVV technical director
Who is he?
A destructive midfielder, who peaked in a five-year spell at Feyenoord during which the Rotterdammers won a league title and three Dutch Cups, Bosz was also reportedly an Ajax obsessive – coming to watch the club train in the 1990s under Louis van Gaal and building up a huge scrapbook of articles about Johan Cruyff.
As a coach, he worked his way up, through AGOVV, De Graafschap and Heracles, before an exciting stint with Vitesse and a brief stay alongside Jordi Cruyff at Maccabi Tel-Aviv preceded his 2016 Ajax switch.
Why is he Dortmund’s man?
Under Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, Dortmund specialised in attacking football, and – with Johan Cruyff and Josep Guardiola his coaching idols – Bosz is a natural successor.
Moreover, a young squad like Dortmund’s will suit the Dutchman whose Ajax and Vitesse sides made youth a virtue. He should also speak pretty decent German, having had a short period playing for Hansa Rostock in 1998.
How do his teams play?
Fast and aggressive: he does not like defensive football, and wants to see his teams get the ball and create chances. Fellow Cruyff disciple Guardiola’s guiding principles about high-pressing were taken on board at Ajax, albeit with a gentle nod to his side’s relative inexperience. “Barcelona have a three-second rule,” he said. “We’re not Barcelona, so I put two seconds on.”
“When I see my team only defending and destroying like I did [as a defensive midfielder] I will not enjoy it. I thought when I’m on the bench at least I will give myself a happy afternoon. If I give myself a happy afternoon, I can give it to the fans.”
“Every fortnight I drove my brother to Amsterdam to see [Johan Cruyff] play. That was special. Cruyff helped me in the way I started thinking about football. In my active career I have learned a lot from Johan.”
“The five-second rule is that if you lose the ball, this is the best moment to get the ball back again. The opponent needs more or less five seconds to get in the right positions. We have to get it back right away.
Did you know?
He reportedly had a clause in his Maccabi Tel-Aviv contract allowing him to leave if Ajax showed an interest in him. Rumour suggests that Jordi Cruyff played a significant part in persuading the Amsterdammers to take him on.