Watzke '100 per cent convinced' by Kehl and Terzic despite Dortmund wobbles

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Edin Terzic and Sebastian Kehl are "100 per cent" the men to lead Borussia Dortmund, according to the club's CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.

Terzic replaced Marco Rose as head coach in May while former Dortmund midfielder Kehl took over from long-term sporting director Michael Zorc at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Dortmund began the 2022-23 campaign steadily, winning four of their first five games in the Bundesliga, and they qualified from their Champions League group to reach the last 16.

However, an inconsistent run in the league ended with back-to-back defeats to Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach just before domestic football halted for the World Cup in Qatar, and Dortmund found themselves in sixth place after 15 games, nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

“The World Cup break should have come a week earlier, after the Bochum game [3-0 home win prior to the Wolfsburg loss]," Watzke told members at the club's general meeting on Sunday. "Then we would all be in a better mood.

"That's why I can't spare the team the reproach. The two games, especially the one in Gladbach [a 4-2 defeat], weren't what we expect from Borussia Dortmund.

"But we made the decision to change with full awareness. In the team. In the position of sports director with Sebastian Kehl, after 24 years with Michael Zorc, and in the position of coach with Edin Terzic. That is the way of Borussia Dortmund.

"Both are excellent professionals, and what is particularly important to me – and I am sure to you as well – is that you work with full passion for BVB.

"We are 100 per cent convinced of this solution, and we will be successful with it. Because both of them are great – and real Borussians. We need people who have dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to the club."

Due to the World Cup – which kicked off on Sunday – Dortmund do not play another competitive game until January 22, at home to Augsburg, giving plenty of time for Terzic to work with his players, even the ones at the tournament once they return such as Jude Bellingham and Giovanni Reyna.

With Bellingham in particular likely to be courted by most of Europe's big clubs at the end of the season, if not sooner, qualifying for next year's Champions League would give the club a stronger hand in negotiations, and Watzke is confident they will.

"I am 100 per cent convinced that we will qualify for the Champions League again at the end of this season," he added. "And anyone who knows me knows that I am not the greatest optimist."