Lucien Favre: The Story Behind the BVB Manager

Borussia Dortmund’s second-year manager, Lucien Favre, has drawn a lot of attention to the Black and Yellow. After an unexpectedly successful first season when Dortmund finished as Bundesliga runners-up, Lucien Favre earned tremendous recognition. His sophomore campaign with the Black and Yellow has the potential to be equally as impressive. However, Favre’s story didn’t begin in Dortmund. The Swiss manager’s passion for football dates back to before he even played at a professional level. Here are 10 little-known facts about the Swiss managerial mastermind:

1. Favre prefers the ball on his left foot.

Favre’s tactical prowess and football philosophy aren’t his only distinct traits. Unlike most footballers, Favre’s left foot is his strongest foot. In a crowded room of footballers and fanatics, neither flamboyance nor eccentricity will draw attention to Favre. His passive personality prevents him from drawing unwanted attention.

But, on the pitch, his strength with the ball on his left foot distinguishes him from others. Though Favre prefers not to draw attention to himself, his uncanny creativity as a play-maker and his powerful left foot would be hard to ignore.

2. His left knee was destroyed in 1985.

On September 14, 1985, Pierre-Albert Chapuisat egregiously fouled Lucien Favre, effectively destroying Favre’s left knee. The foul rendered the Swiss play-maker inactive for 8 months, but the 28-year-old wasn’t ready to retire.

Lucien Favre Knee injury

Following his return, Favre’s quality never reached pre-injury levels, and he eventually retired in 1991.

3. Favre took Chapuisat to court for his foul.

Though the injury removed Favre from competitive football for eight months, it didn’t remove the competitive mindset from Favre. The foul itself was, and still is, on the worst fouls in football history. Chapuisat either grossly miscalculated his positioning relative to the ball or deliberately targeted Favre’s knee.

Chapuisat injured Lucien Favre's Knee

Favre understandably believed the latter to be true and took his case to court in an effort to help discourage overzealous challenges on the pitch that could threaten players’ safety.

4. Favre scored in his debut for the Swiss National Team.

Favre’s reputation as a brilliant play-maker earned him a spot on the Swiss National Team on September 1, 1981. He made the most of his debut and tallied the first and only goal of his international career.

Lucien Favre playing for the Suiss National Team

In total, he made 24 appearances for the Swiss National Team before he retired.

5. Favre began his managerial career with Echallens.

After retiring in 1991, Favre began his transition from player to manager as an assistant manager of Echallens’ under-14 club. His managerial prowess quickly earned him a promotion to the club’s under-17 managerial role.

Lucien Favre's Managerial Debut

In 1993, Favre was appointed the manager of the first team. He stayed with Echallens until 1995.

6. Favre led Echallens to the Nationalliga B.

Favre’s leadership earned Enchallens its most impressive achievement, promotion to the Nationalliga B, known as the Challenge League, today. As the second-highest tier of Swiss Football, Nationalliga B granted greater visibility to both Favre and Echallens. Today, Echallens compete in Liga 1, the fourth tier of Swiss Football.

7. Favre led Yverdon-Sport to the Swiss top-flight.

In 1999, Favre’s third season with the club, Yverdon-sport earned promotion to Nationaliga A, which is now known as the Super League. When Favre took over, Yverdon-Sport was struggling to escape the bottom of the Nationalliga B.

L:ucien Favre Celebrating Trophy

Favre’s managerial brilliance brought the club to Swiss football’s top-flight. Favre then led them to a remarkable 5th place finish in their first Nationaliga A campaign, which remains their best finish at that level.

8. Favre joined the Bundesliga in 2007.

Favre’s Swiss success earned him the opportunity to take his tactical brilliance to another level when Hertha BSC hired him in 2007. Favre led his side to a surprising 4th place finish in the 2008-09 season. Favre was relieved of his duties amidst financial and football problems for Hertha BSC in September 2009. However, Hertha BSC’s unprecedented tactical display in 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in front of a sold-out Olympiastadion in February 2009 helped propel Favre’s appeal as a manager.

9. Borussia Monchengladbach hired Favre on Valentine’s Day.

On February 14, 2011, Borussia Monchengladbach selected Lucien Favre to succeed Michael Frontzeck as manager. Favre stayed with the German side until his resignation in September of 2015. Favre is often credited as a savior for reviving a struggling Monchengladbach that had previously earned respect as one Germany’s giants.

Lucien Favre and Marco Reus in Gladbach

Favre’s managerial success with the club also helped Marco Reus develop into one of Germany’s brightest young talents before Reus signed with Dortmund. Favre spent two seasons leading Nice before reconnecting with Reus at Dortmund in the summer of 2018.

10. Favre set a record in his first 15 Bundesliga matches as BVB’s manager.

In his debut season with the Borussia Dortmund, Favre became the first manager to remain undefeated through their first 15 league matches. Much of Favre’s managerial career has been highlighted by remarkable success in his first season with a club.

Lucien Favre Borussia Dortmund coach

Unlike other world-class managers, Favre’s personality rarely attracts attention. Perhaps Favre prefers to let his teams’ success dictate the attention he and his players receive. But whether he wants attention or not, it certainly seems to follow him wherever he goes as his accomplishments continue to grow.

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