Siewert’s huge career jump to Huddersfield
Last summer doubts still prevailed. Even then, in May 2018, Jan Siewert had thought intensively about moving to England. The Queens Park Rangers, active in the second league, tried to find the football teacher. But he refused, quite quickly after a few days. Siewert landed on the island and signed with Huddersfield Town, the last of the Premier League, until 2021.
He took this great opportunity “full of anticipation and zest for action”, said the 36-year-old on Monday evening in conversation with the kicker. David Wagner will be followed by Huddersfield’s next U-23 coach from Borussia Dortmund.
A little more than a week ago, Siewert had not even guessed the winter preparations of his BVB staff. One day before the start of the training session he was offered the chance by the English. Premier League instead of Regionalliga. Siewert, who feels at home in Dortmund with his wife and child, did not hesitate this time. The opportunity to work as top trainer in England’s top league seemed too huge for him, at this total top level. Especially since there had been loose contact between both parties a long time ago, both sides knew of the fundamental appreciation for each other. Siewert quickly informed Dortmund’s decision-makers of Huddersfield’s now serious interest. According to kicker information, the change was finally fixed for 300,000 euros.
Siewert was the ideal choice for BVB
For one and a half years, Siewert headed the BVB’s U23. In the Regionalliga West it currently occupies fourth place, as in the previous season. Considering the radical changes in the squad in the summer and the extremely low age average of this Dortmund team, these are not outstanding, but certainly passable placings. “As much as I’m happy about this chance for Jan,” says U-23 manager Ingo Preuß, “as sorry as I am.” They would have liked to have continued their cooperation with Siewert at BVB. The ideal cast for them was this meticulously working trainer, who is regarded as an expert, in the field of football tactics as well as in the development of up-and-coming talents.
He himself, paralysed by severe knee pain as an active player, focused early on being a coach. He completed his training as a football teacher at the age of 30. Siewert was a video analyst and U-23 co-coach at TuS Koblenz and worked as a base coordinator for the German Football Association. He was a member of the coaching team of the German U17 and U18 national team, later responsible for the U19 of VfL Bochum – and also assisted Gertjan Verbeek, then coach of Bochum’s professional team, in the 2016/17 round.
Dismissed at Rot-Weiss Essen in the regional league
The experiences Siewert had had at Rot-Weiss Essen in the previous year were painful from a sporting point of view. For the first time, this regional league club gave him a head coach mandate at senior level in 2015. He only kept it for nine months. Under his leadership, RWE plunged into a relegation position – and dismissed Siewert. The most serious setback of this coach to date.
Siewert shows flexibility
With the BVB II he remained constantly in the top group. In his first year in office, Siewert had first and foremost practiced the 4-3-3 arrangement, but in the current season he has shown himself to be flexible. Siewert did not insist on excessively long ball possession times, but sometimes rather ordered to position himself somewhat lower in his own half and to push forward quickly when the ball was won. Counterattacks became a tried and tested method. And Siewert’s system, which had been practiced for a long time, changed in the first round. The own appearance, he explained, had become “too predictable”. The 4-3-3 was therefore often turned into a 3-5-2, with strong midfielders placed in the centre of the three-man chain, who were supposed to intervene coordinating from the very back. Plans that mostly took hold.
“He promotes and challenges, has compassion and a good heart.
Massimo Ornatelli, the captain of BVB II, also emphasizes Siewert’s “football expertise”. Further core competences of the new Huddersfield trainer are leadership and communication. Siewert, who can parry safely in English and French and can communicate brittlely in Spanish and Italian, is praised by Preuß for his “dealing with the most different characters of a team”. And Ornatelli, now 33 years old, states that he “has never known a better coach in human terms. He encourages and challenges, but also shows consideration, has compassion and a good heart.