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Klopp, Favre & the nominees for Goal.com's Bundesliga Coach of the Season

Klopp, Favre & the nominees for Goal.com's Bundesliga Coach of the Season

Bongarts

The leader of the record-breaking champions and the mastermind behind Monchengladbach's surprise campaign are among those in the running to win our end-of-season award

Another thrilling Bundesliga season has come to a close, with only the relegation play-off yet to be decided. With the exception of Hertha Berlin's Otto Rehhagel, who still has a second leg against Dusseldorf to negotiate, coaches can, for the time being, sit back and relax.

The rest will be deserved for several, who went above and beyond their expectations during the 2011-12 campaign. In their honour, Goal.com has created a shortlist of candidates for the Coach of the Season accolade. We highlight their key achievements and memorable moments, and you cast your vote in our poll below!

JURGEN KLOPP | DORTMUND

Jurgen Klopp is most certainly among the favourites for the Coach of the Year title. For the second consecutive season, he guided Dortmund to the championship ahead of their great rivals Bayern Munich.

EXPERT OPINION
By Rafael Corradino

The beginning of the season was regrettable, but ultimately forgettable. After a slow start, the champions quickly turned over a new leaf and began their unstoppable romp towards the title. Even in difficult times, Klopp led his side to success - Bayern and Schalke never had a chance!
"Kloppo" is primarily a motivator, and can appreciate the good work of his assistant coach, Zeljko Buvac: in the DFB-Pokal semi-final against Greuther Furth, it was the Bosnian who advocated the substitution of Ilkay Gundogan, the man who eventually scored the winner.

Together, Klopp and Buvac have formed an unstoppable partnership in the Bundesliga, and that was only further affirmed this season when BVB won all their games against their top rivals.

This season Dortmund not only secured their second championship under Klopp, but also broke the record for most points in a Bundesliga season. BVB are making history, and this is mainly due to the coach. The club had difficulties early in the season, with Nuri Sahin's sale providing a huge barrier to overcome. But Klopp and his men compensated collectively for the loss, and went on to complete an incredible season.

Now the former Mainz trainer must prove that he can also succeed on the continental stage. If he can, no one will deny him the honour of being categorised as one of Europe's best coaches.

LUCIEN FAVRE | MONCHENGLADBACH

A year ago, Gladbach were forced to participate in a relegation play-off to keep their 1. Bundesliga status. Lucien Favre coached the Foals for the last 12 rounds of the season, and steered what appeared to be a hopeless team back on course to participate in the two-legged play-off, and the club narrowly escaped demotion. With wins against Schalke, Koln, Dortmund and Hannover, Favre won the hearts of Gladbach supporters.
EXPERT OPINION
By Rafael Corradino

Despite a weak finish to the season, Favre can still look back on a glorious campaign. Gladbach were even title contenders at one point, remarkable given their position last May. If he can compensate for the player departures next season and continue to bring success, nothing will stand in the way of a very successful coaching career.

This season, he affirmed his class as a coach, and took aim at even the toughest of opponents: twice Gladbach beat Bayern this term, in both instances out-playing Germany's most successful club historically. It therefore is no surprise that Favre has been considered as a possible replacement for Jupp Heynckes should the Bayern man decide to leave before his contract expires in 2013.

Favre and his men distinguished themselves this season due to their tactical discipline. Again and again, as he once did as coach of Hertha Berlin, he drilled his team in their movement on the pitch, and preached tactical finesse.

Favre has proven he can do incredible things at Gladbach, but what he now faces is a personal Everest. The question cannot be avoided: can Gladbach cope without Marco Reus, Roman Neustadter and Dante in the coming season? This is a question that will not only affect the Foals, but Germany as a whole: Favre has led his side to the Champions League play-offs. The pressure to deliver has never been greater.

CHRISTIAN STREICH | FREIBURG

After the departure of Papiss Demba Cisse, many throughout Germany wrote off Freiburg's survival chances. What happened instead was quite a surprise: in the absence of the Senegalese, SCF did remarkably well.

EXPERT OPINION
By Mathias Jundt

By the winter break, the first team to be relegated was already decided, it seemed. Freiburg played a brand of football that could only be dubbed "relegation-worthy". But thanks to Streich, everything turned around. With several young players in their ranks and the potential for new signings, SCF could even contend for a Europa League spot next season.
In the second half of the season, Freiburg went on an incredible run of 10 consecutive games without defeat. Their 4-0 loss to Dortmund in the final matchday was an inglorious conclusion, but it did not matter: Christian Streich's side finished near mid-table.

In his career, the 46-year-old coach has proven himself as a quality trainer: he has won nearly 55 per cent of his games.

Statistically the season was below par for Streich, but what he was able to do with so little - especially after Cisse's departure - is enough to earn him high praise.

At the end of the first half of the term, Freiburg had just 13 points and appeared destined for relegation. Their tally after the winter break was more than double that, and one could therefore even claim that SCF were better without Cisse.

Streich motivated his team every step of the way. And after their 2-0 win against Leverkusen in March it was quite clear: Freiburg absolutely deserved to stay in the 1. Bundesliga.

JOS LUHUKAY | AUGSBURG

The Dutchman has the worst winning percentage of all trainers in the Bundesliga. In his career, Luhukay has only won about 40% of his matches. Yet he achieved the extraordinary with Augsburg by comfortably avoiding relegation in the end. Why he left at season's end remains a mystery.
EXPERT OPINION
By Andreas Becker

Before the start of the term, there was a clear consensus: Augbsurg will be relegated. And the first coach to be dismissed? Luhukay. But things did not go according to the script as Augsburg built momentum early in the season while Luhukay earned the trust of the club's board. And after a remarkable finish, FCA did the unthinkable in staying in the Bundesliga. Luhukay will be sorely  missed next season.

Will Augsburg survive without him? If they do, it will be very difficult: Luhukay did what few thought possible before the start of the campaign. Even in the first two games, the team proved they would  have to fight for their survival as they battled to draws against Freiburg and Kaiserslautern.

FCA then had to struggle through a difficult spell, and looked to be headed for the drop.

But that all changed towards the end of the campaign. Under Luhukay, Augsburg won three and drew as many in a six-game unbeaten streak that included a draw against eventual champions Dortmund. In the end, they finished seven points above the drop zone - an incredible achievement given the club's lack of recognised star quality.

Perhaps Luhukay will return to the Bundesliga next season with a different club. He certainly has earned it.

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