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Jurgen Kohler admits that Lucien Favre had become “the weakest link” prior to his sacking by Borussia Dortmund, but the BVB legend is not convinced that the same decision would have been taken with Jurgen Klopp.
Something had to be done to address the inconsistency that was holding the club back, with a finger of blame in such situations often pointed in the direction of a dugout.
Favre found that out to his cost, as he was relieved of his coaching duties, with Kohler of the opinion that a suitable successor to Klopp – who delivered two title triumphs during a memorable reign at Signal Iduna Park between 2008 and 2015 – is still being sought.
“However, I said even before he took office that I think that his style does not suit Dortmund.
“The club was spoiled by Klopp, who carried people away, and I'm sure that Michael Zorc and Hans-Joachim Watzke also spoke to the players about the fact that they were not entirely innocent in the sacking.
“In the end, however, Favre is the weakest link. The only one with whom that wasn't the case was Jurgen Klopp. I believe that Watzke would not have fired Klopp in the same situation.”
Favre’s position became untenable as he started to lose the support of those at his disposal, with World Cup winner Mats Hummels among those to question his methods.
“Basically, I think it's good when leading players express criticism,” said Kohler.
“However, the sequence is decisive: First you should talk to the people involved about it internally, I can't judge that. If the club makes a decision, then you should accept it and not talk about it afterwards.
“The statements made suggest that the relationship between the team and the coach was disturbed.”
Hummels, given his vast experience, is a prominent figure at Dortmund and looking to enjoy as much success second time around at BVB as he did during a previous stint with the German giants.
Kohler sees him as captain material, but long-serving Marco Reus is the designated skipper and a man charged with the task of leading by example.
Kohler said of the leaders at Dortmund, with it suggested that injury-ravaged Reus could benefit from passing on the armband: “It doesn't matter whether a leading player wears the armband. He can also be an important link for the team.
“Sometimes it is even easier to take responsibility without the armband, because you do not have to comment on all topics and can therefore focus on the essentials.
“The question is whether Reus has been appointed captain or has been elected. A captain should always be on board, but Reus is unfortunately very prone to injury.