Lucien Favre could sustain no more. He was already on thin ice after a poor run of form when Borussia Dortmund lost 5-1 at home to Stuttgart on Saturday. Barely 24 hours passed before it was made official that Favre had been dismissed from his role at the club with assistant Edin Terzic appointed caretaker manager until the end of the season.
Barring a Hansi Flick-esque impact it seems unlikely Terzic will get the job permanently and so Dortmund will be in the market for a new leader next summer. A number of candidates have been put forward for the role, with Red Bull Salzburg’s Jesse Marsch and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marco Rose widely seen as frontrunners.
However, the most high profile name linked with the Dortmund vacancy is someone more familiar to Premier League fans in Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine is still out of work having left Tottenham Hotspur over a year ago and, on the basis of his recent media appearances, is ready to return to the sport.
It’s easy to see why Dortmund might want Pochettino. The club’s fans want a big name appointment as a statement of intent. They want the club to do all they can to catch Bayern Munich at the top of the German game and the arrival of Pochettino, a true elite level coach, at the Westfalenstadion would certainly catch the Bavarians’ attention.
At Dortmund, Pochettino would inherit a group of highly talented, young players. The 48-year-old would have plenty to work with, certainly in an attacking sense. Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Gio Reyna, Jude Bellingham, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt are among the Bundesliga’s most potent in the final third. Pochettino could develop them further.
They are used to a high energy, high tempo style of football at Borussia Dortmund and that’s something Pochettino would bring. In many ways, the former Spurs boss would be a good fit for the Black and Yellows but they might not be a good fit for Pochettino. At least not at this stage of his career.
Pochettino grew frustrated towards the end of his Tottenham tenure due to the club’s refusal to truly back him in the transfer market. While he was ultimately sacked, it was clear the Argentine felt he’d taken Spurs as far as he could. He was exasperated at hitting his head on a glass ceiling.
In Germany, Pochettino would have to operate under another glass ceiling. The financial gulf between Bayern Munich and the rest of the Bundesliga means he would have to overachieve to get close to the top. Borussia Dortmund would be another project club for Pochettino at a time when he might rather taking over at a club where he would have the resources to dominate.
The Dortmund job is undeniably an attractive one, but Pochettino could soon have his pick of Europe’s biggest clubs. Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain could have managerial vacancies in the not so distant future and Pochettino would be a good appointment for all of them.
Favre’s biggest flaw was his failure to win when it mattered most. Dortmund played some exhilarating football under his stewardship, but silverware never came their way. Similar was said of Pochettino at Tottenham, where he failed to win a single trophy in his five years in charge of the North London club. If Dortmund want a proven winner, Pochettino might not be their guy.
Marsch and Rose seem like more realistic candidates. The latter could still be passed off as a sign of ambition, with Rose’s Gladbach side on the rise. Nonetheless, the thought of Pochettino as Borussia Dortmund manager is a tantalising one that should at least be explored. Curiosity on both sides could grease the wheels of a surprise appointment.