Thomas Tuchel’s top five achievements at Dortmund
Having secured his first and only major title – the 2016/17 DFB Cup – in his final game in charge, Thomas Tuchel’s tenure as Borussia Dortmund coach came to an end. After two years in the hot seat at the Signal Iduna Park, bundesliga.com runs the rule over his biggest achievements with the Black-and-Yellows.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic to be the new coach,” Tuchel announced when he was unveiled as Jürgen Klopp’s replacement two years ago. “When I heard of BVB’s interest, I knew it was the only place for me. We want to be seen as a contender that Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen need to take seriously.”
Watch: Tuchel’s top 5 Bundesliga moments
Fast forward to May 2017 and Tuchel’s Black-and-Yellow adventure has already come to an end, in spite of winning the club’s first trophy in five years and ensuring a second straight qualification to the UEFA Champions League group stage.
While the 43-year-old was unable to break Bayern’s iron grip on the Bundesliga title, he steadied the ship after a disappointing seventh-placed finish in 2014/15, but ultimately left the club by mutual consent after two years in charge.
So, after two years in the Dortmund dugout, what were his biggest achievements?
1) The Signal Iduna stronghold
Klopp was still in the dugout when Dortmund conceded their last Bundesliga home defeat, a 1-0 reverse to Bayern Munich on 4 April 2015. When Tuchel took over, the Black-and-Yellows transformed their famous home into a forbidding fortress where opponents fear to tread. Roared on by 80,000 ardent fans week in, week out, BVB went two seasons without tasting a league defeat on home soil, with a scarcely-believable run of 27 wins and seven draws under Tuchel.
It was arguably Tuchel’s greatest accomplishment – and what a way to perpetuate the legend of the iconic ‘Yellow Wall’ and reward some of the most passionate supporters in world football.
2) Breaking the Berlin hoodoo
Managers at top clubs are principally judged on silverware, of course, and Dortmund finally ended a barren run of five years without a trophy when they lifted the DFB Cup on 27 May. There was joy and relief in equal measure as Tuchel’s charges defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 to snap a three-year losing streak in the showpiece, following final defeats to Bayern (2014), Wolfsburg (2015) and Bayern (2016).
Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were both on target as Dortmund saw off holders Bayern in a breathtaking semi-final, and the dynamic duo struck again in Berlin to secure their club’s fourth DFB Cup crown.
3) Regulars at Europe’s top table
Tuchel also oversaw two successful European campaigns as BVB boss, and can consider himself somewhat unfortunate not to have reached the semi-finals in both seasons. In 2015/16, Dortmund looked set for a place in the last four of the UEFA Europa League after going 3-1 up at Klopp’s Liverpool, but Tuchel’s predecessor had the final word as the Reds ran out 4-3 winners in an instant classic at Anfield.
Their Champions League quarter-final against Monaco was played out in far more trying circumstances following the shocking bomb attack on Dortmund’s team bus. BVB – who had topped their group ahead of holders and finalists Real Madrid – were clearly struggling after the ordeal and lost 6-3 on aggregate, but if they build on Tuchel’s foundations you can guarantee they will back at the business end of the competition in 2017/18.
4) The Aubameyang revolution
If there is one player who defined Dortmund’s 2016/17 season, it was top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Under Tuchel, the Gabon captain went from one of the Bundesliga’s top forwards to a genuine world-class striker, notching up no fewer than 40 goals in 46 games in all competitions.
Guided by his manager’s tactical nous, Aubameyang transformed into a formidable marksman and reaped the rewards both individually – snatching the Bundesliga top scorer’s cannon out from under Robert Lewandowski‘s nose – and collectively, with his 31 league goals helping to seal BVB a place in the Champions League group stages for the following season. His aforementioned strikes against Bayern and Frankfurt were also instrumental in Dortmund’s DFB Cup success.
5) Planting seeds for the future
Tuchel may have left but his judicious handling of BVB’s talented youngsters showed that he was invested in the club’s future. Dembele (20) and Julian Weigl (21) established themselves as first-team regulars, with the flying French international making more appearances than anyone else in the squad. USMNT star Christian Pulisic (18) was also given ample opportunities to showcase his precocious talent, proving that he could be more than just an impact substitute with five goals and 13 assists.
Matthias Ginter, Raphael Guerreiro and Mario Götze were all still under 25, and, at the time, hosting unpolished gems such as Emre Mor (19), Felix Passlack (18) and Alexander Isak (17) waiting in the wings, Dortmund’s future was left in good hands – even without Tuchel.