TURKEY: Christoph Daum signs for Bursaspor


Following an embarrassing exit in the Europa League third qualifying round the Bursaspor board of directors have chosen to part ways with manager Hikmet Karaman. Just two days after the announcement experienced manager Christoph Daum has signed a contract to fill the vacancy. The East German last held a job at Belgian team Club Brugge in the 2011/12 season and took the Flemish team to second place in the league play-offs.

Daum is second to none in terms of accomplishments in the Süper Lig by foreign managers; he has won the national title with both Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe. He won the 1994-95 with the former and had players such as Metin Tekin and Ali Gültiken – two thirds of the legendary trio known as Metin-Ali-Feyyaz who brought five league titles to İnönü Stadium over a span of a decade. Feyyaz (Uçar) left for Fenerbahçe during the summer in which Daum took over.

Daum was set to take the reins from Erich Ribbeck as German national team manager in 2000 after four years at the helm of Bayer Leverkusen but he admitted to cocaine use upon pressure from the media. His career and reputation took a nosedive and he moved to the Austrian Bundesliga after a two year hiatus from football.

After winning the national title in Austria, Daum moved to Fenerbahçe and won back-to-back titles in 2003/04 and 2004/05. During his tenure, players including Pierre van Hooijdonk and Alex de Souza joined the team. The latter would go on to make over three hundred appearances and score over one hundred-seventy goals for Fener.

After Fenerbahçe missed out on the league title on the final day of the 2005/06 season, Daum’s contract was not renewed and he left for FC Köln. Three years later he returned to Fenerbahçe but missed out on the league once again on the last day. This time it was to Bursaspor. Despite a good showing in the Europa League the Fenerbahçe board decided to terminate his contract and promoted Aykut Kocaman from ‘director of football’ to the ‘technical director’ (manager) role.

Daum had a disappointing three months at Eintracht Frankfurt in spring 2011 and then took over at Club Brugge in the fall of that year. He left the Belgian team in 2012 and had been without a contract for a year until he signed with Bursa.

After a disappointing Europa League qualification attempt Daum is possibly the best manager for the club. Just three years ago Bursa surprised everyone by winning the league title on the last day of the season by edging out Daum’s Fenerbahçe by a single point.

If Bursa are given Fenerbahçe’s lost Europa League qualifying spot Christoph Daum’s return to Turkey will be even sweeter. Fenerbahçe is in the Champions League play-off round and regardless of results could be banned by UEFA. If banned, Arsenal would go to the Champions League group stage but the loser of the play-off qualifies for the Europa League group stage. If Fenerbahçe is banned then it is said that Bursaspor, the highest ranked un-banned team, could replace them. (If Beşiktaş are un-banned but lose to Tromsø IL in the Europa League play-off they would seemingly replace Fenerbahçe instead of Bursaspor as the third-placed team.)

Yusuf Nasihi

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