'I want to lead a team' - Ex-Red Nuri Sahin seeking to follow in Klopp's footsteps

Nuri Sahin, the former Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund midfielder, shone under Jurgen Klopp as a player and is now making a big impact as a coach at Signal Iduna Park.

Having enrolled in Dortmund's academy at seven years of age, Sahin went from ballboy to midfield metronome, playing a crucial role in Klopp's Bundesliga-conquering side and eventually lining up (albeit only briefly) for Real Madrid and Liverpool.  

Since retiring in October 2021, the German-born ex-Turkey international has been engaged in professional coaching, doing an admirable job as head coach and sporting director at Antalyaspor before returning to Dortmund. 

Now an assistant to Edin Terzic, the question is not if Sahin will get another head coaching job but rather when. 

In his playing days, Sahin was an eminently intelligent defensive midfielder, who was brilliant at reading the game. He spent most of his career at Dortmund - at one point holding the record as the Bundesliga's youngest-ever debutant - but also had brief stints at Real Madrid, Liverpool and Werder Bremen before heading to Turkey with Antalyaspor. 

 

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In October 2021, Sahin was given the role of player-coach (and sporting director) after the sacking of Ersun Yanal but subsequently decided to retire from playing to focus entirely on his new role. During his time as head coach at Antalyaspor, Sahin mostly utilised a 4-2-3-1.  

After a period of mixed results, Sahin managed to steer Antalyaspor to a safe harbour after going unbeaten from Matchday 23 of the 2021-22 Super Lig season onwards. Antalyaspor ended the campaign in seventh, though the following season again proved difficult. 

Nevertheless, Sahin managed to just about keep his side up in 22-23. In December 2023, with Antalyaspor sitting in an impressive sixth, Sahin made the surprising decision to leave the club and it soon became apparent why. 

After an underwhelming first half of the 2023-24 season, Borussia Dortmund boss Edin Terzic decided that he needed more help and turned to two former distinguished BVB players to bolster his coaching staff. 

Sahin returns to Dortmund

Sahin and ex-teammate Sven Bender joined Terzic's camp as assistant coaches and Dortmund's fortunes have certainly improved, though it is difficult to assess exactly how much of it is down to the work of Sahin. 

The former midfielder, who enrolled in a sports management course at Havard during his playing days, recently admitted that returning to BVB was a decision of the heart.

"I had the feeling that the club I had supported since my childhood needed me," Sahin told Sky Sports

"They were in a difficult situation. It was a hard decision but I listened to my heart and my heart said that the club needs you so you go back and help the club."  

When he had the time, he would coach his youth club Meinerzhagen in the ninth tier of German football and experiment with different systems. 

"If it works in the ninth division with the players I had - who were amazing with me - I always thought that it has to work in professional football," the 35-year-old said. 

Klopp and Thomas Tuchel were the most influential coaches he had during his career, he reveals. Nowadays, he studies Gian Piero Gasperini's Atalanta and Roberto de Zerbi's Brighton. 

Klopp disciple Sahin ready to become a head coach again

"I watched that [first] match of his when Brighton played Liverpool and you could already see then that he had implemented his philosophy within a few days. This is so important to me, that when you watch a match you can see an idea. If not, I turn it off." 

 

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Sahin adores Pep Guardiola "because in almost every season of his coaching career, he has implemented something new into world football." 

Despite his role at Dortmund, Sahin is keen to become a head coach again. 

"One day I will be back and it will not be in four or five years. I am very ambitious. I want to lead a team." 

Indeed, it has been rumoured that Sahin could be the man to replace Edin Terzic at Borussia Dortmund ahead of the 2024-25 season.

And who knows, maybe one day he could return to Anfield too and follow in the footsteps of mentor Klopp

 

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