New boss Bosz brings calm
Will a summer of distractions and setbacks take their toll?
It was a close season of head-spinning turmoil with the sacking of coach Thomas Tuchel, several key players beginning long periods of rehab, the on-off transfer of marksman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the loss of French forward Ousmane Dembele to Bareclona.
Will new boss Bosz settle quickly?
Although not the first-choice to replace Tuchel – that was Lucien Favre – Peter Bosz, who was previously coach of Ajax, looks a good fit. Youth development and attacking football are the order of the day, and in marked contrast to the grumpy Tuchel his relaxed man-management style is having a positive effect.
Has the bomb attack on the team bus last season had any lasting effect?
The players were unhappy at being forced to play the first leg of their quarter-final against Monaco just 24 hours after the assault. “Unfinished business” is the phrase which comes to mind. In the last five years, they have made the knock-out stage four times and always have the bit between their teeth on European nights.
Bosz’s game plan is a mix of his two predecessors’ philosophies, combining the whirlwind pressing of Jurgen Klopp with the care in possession encouraged by Tuchel. Without the ball, Bosz’s side will press the opposition deep in their own half, while their creative impulses take varied forms: the range of pass of Julian Weigl, the final-third imagination of Mario Gotze, the pace and finishing power of Aubameyang, and the intelligence of teenage forward Christian Pulisic. They keep a very high line defensively, with the fine blend of Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ physicality and Marc Bartra’s ability to bring the ball out from the back. One potential problem is their susceptibility to swift counterattacks.
Relaxed...Peter Bosz (in black)