Lucien Favre

Lucien Favre (French pronunciation: ​[lysjɛ̃ favʁ]; born 2 November 1957) is a Swiss professional football manager and former player who most recently managed German club Borussia Dortmund. Favre was a playmaker for various Swiss and French clubs, the longest for Servette, with whom he also won the championship. As a manager, he won the Swiss Cup and the Swiss championship with Servette and Zürich. In Germany, Favre also managed Hertha BSC and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Lucien Favre
Lucien Favre.jpg
Favre in 2018
Personal information
Date of birth (1957-11-02) 2 November 1957 (age 64)
Place of birth Saint-Barthélemy, Switzerland
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
1967–1971 FC Oulens
1972–1976 Lausanne-Sports
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1976–1979 Lausanne-Sports 30 (3)
1979–1981 Neuchâtel Xamax 51 (14)
1981–1983 Servette 59 (28)
1983–1984 Toulouse 35 (7)
1984–1991 Servette 134 (20)
Total 309 (72)
National team
1981–1989 Switzerland 24 (1)
Teams managed
1993–1995 Echallens
1997–2000 Yverdon Sport
2000–2002 Servette
2003–2007 Zürich
2007–2009 Hertha BSC
2011–2015 Borussia Mönchengladbach
2016–2018 Nice
2018–2020 Borussia Dortmund
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Club careerEdit

At club level, Favre played for Lausanne-Sports, Neuchâtel Xamax, Toulouse and Servette, earning a reputation as a skillful and intelligent playmaker. When Pierre-Albert Chapuisat destroyed his knee in 1985, he could not play for eight months. It's still considered one of the worst fouls in Swiss footballing history.[1] Favre announced his retirement in 1991.

International careerEdit

Favre amassed 24 caps for the Switzerland national team.[2] Notably, he scored his first and only international goal on his debut, netting in Zürich against the Netherlands on 1 September 1981 in the same game, in which both Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard also made their first appearance for their respective country. Favre earned his last cap for Switzerland against Portugal in a 3–1 away loss on 26 April 1989 played in Lisbon.

Managerial careerEdit


Favre's coaching career started in 1991 as the under-14 assistant manager with Echallens. The following year, he took over the under-17 team before being appointed manager of the first team in 1993. Under his leadership, Favre's young squad surprisingly earned promotion to the Nationalliga B. The promotion is still the most outstanding achievement in the club's history.

Neuchâtel XamaxEdit

After four years with Echallens, Favre was named Academy Manager of Neuchâtel Xamax. The move allowed him to experience the overall operation of a professional club.

Yverdon-Sport and ServetteEdit

In January 1997, Favre was appointed manager of Yverdon Sport,[3] who was struggling at the bottom of the Nationalliga B at that stage. In 1999, he guided his side to the Nationalliga A. The following season, they unexpectedly achieved fifth-placed finish in the table, still Yverdon's best ranking in the top-flight to date.

In the summer of 2000, Favre decided to join Servette, a long-established club based in Geneva, where he had already won the league as a player. The highlights of his spell in Geneva were a 5–2 league win against Neuchâtel Xamax,[4] a victory in the Swiss Cup final in 2001,[5] as well as a superb run in the UEFA Cup,[6] after finishing fifth.[7] Servette eliminated Slavia Prague, Real Zaragoza and Hertha BSC (with a 3–0 away win in Olympiastadion), before going out against Valencia (0–3 and 2–2) in the last 16.[6] in the 2001–02 Swiss Cup, Servette forfeit a match 3–0.[8]


In 2003, Favre was appointed Zürich manager.[3] His first match as Zürich manager was a 2–1 loss to Basel.[9] In the 2003–04 season, Zürich finished in fifth place, one place below a 2004–05 UEFA Cup spot,[10] and lost in the semi–finals of the Swiss Cup 6–5 to Grasshoppers.[11] He won the Swiss Cup in 2005 beating Luzern in the final.[12] The following season, Zürich ended their 25-year wait for a league title with a dramatic final day victory against Basel to win the Swiss Super League. They were also knocked out of the UEFA Cup in the first round.[13] During the 2006–07 season, Zürich were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the second qualifying round.[14] On 29 May 2007, after securing another Swiss title, he was awarded the Swiss Manager of the Year award for the second year in a row.

Hertha BSCEdit

Favre as Hertha BSC manager in 2009

On 1 June 2007, German Bundesliga club Hertha BSC announced that Favre had agreed to sign a three-year deal as its head coach.[15] He started the 2007–08 season with a 3–0 win against SpVgg Unterhaching in the first round of the DFB-Pokal.[16]

During the 2008–09 season, he guided Hertha to an excellent fourth-place position,[17] having at his disposal just the 13th-largest budget of the 2008–09 Bundesliga. Hertha played in the UEFA Cup[18] and were eliminated in the group stage.[19] In February 2009, one of the highlights of his spell in Germany was the brilliant tactical display of Hertha against Bayern Munich in a full Olympiastadion (almost 75,000 spectators). This performance allowed them to beat the erstwhile reigning German champions 2–1 to take Hertha temporarily top of the Bundesliga. Favre extended his contract for an additional year.

The 2009–10 season, however, did not look as promising for Hertha – its increasing financial difficulties prevented them from recruiting efficiently. Furthermore, three of the club's top players left in the summer: Josip Šimunić, Andriy Voronin and Marko Pantelić. At the end of September 2009, Hertha were struggling in the league and Favre was relieved of his duties by the club.[20] Favre's final match was a 5–1 loss to 1899 Hoffenheim.[21] Favre finished with a record of 40 wins, 20 draws, and 34 losses.[22]

Borussia MönchengladbachEdit

Favre with Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2011

On 14 February 2011, Favre was named as the successor of Michael Frontzeck as head coach of Borussia Mönchengladbach.[23] He took over when the team was sitting at the bottom of the league with only 16 points after 22 match days, seven points adrift of Bundesliga safety.[24] He instigated an immediate improvement in form and although the club still struggled, they eventually managed a narrow win against VfL Bochum in a two-legged relegation play-off to secure their place in the Bundesliga.[25]

In the following season, the team surpassed all expectations by finishing in fourth place, thereby qualifying for the early stages of the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League.[26] However, they were beaten in the play-off round by Dynamo Kyiv.[27] The team's brand of fluid, counter-attacking football impressed pundits and press alike and was typified by an emphatic double win over Bayern Munich both home and away.[28] Favre's Gladbach were not as successful in the 2012–13 Bundesliga, however, falling to eighth.[29] Some suggested that the added weight of playing in Europe coupled with the sales of numerous key players, such as Marco Reus, was to blame for this. The next season saw Gladbach rise to sixth, largely due to the astute signings of Max Kruse, Raffael and Christoph Kramer.

During the 2013–14 season, Borussia Mönchengladbach were knocked out of the DFB-Pokal in the first round[30] when SV Darmstadt 98 defeated Mönchengladbach in a shoot–out.[31]

The 2014–15 Bundesliga season was Favre's most successful season to date, with Gladbach finishing in third place and directly qualifying for the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League group stage.[32] Favre's side were defensively brilliant and their passing style of play saw them record several notable victories, including a 2–0 away win against Bayern Munich[33] and a comprehensive 3–0 victory at home to Bayer Leverkusen[33] that ultimately sealed their qualification to the Champions League.

After losing the first five league games of the 2015–16 season, Favre resigned on 20 September 2015.[34] His final match was a 1–0 loss to 1. FC Köln the previous day.[35] During his time at Gladbach, Favre revived a fallen giant of football, taking them from certainties for relegation to the pinnacle of world football in the Champions League. Favre finished with a record of 88 wins, 49 draws, and 52 losses.[36]


On 24 May 2016, Favre was appointed as Nice manager, replacing Claude Puel.[37] This appointment was widely considered as a coup for Nice by the French media. He brought in only one backroom staff, Adrian Ursea.[38][39] In his first season, Nice finished third and qualified for the Champions League, their best league position in decades.

Borussia DortmundEdit

On 22 May 2018, Favre was appointed as manager of Borussia Dortmund, with a contract lasting until 30 June 2020.[40] During his debut season, he became the first-ever manager to remain unbeaten in his first 15 Bundesliga matches with the club.[41] This includes a 4–1 win against RB Leipzig, a 7–0 win against 1. FC Nürnberg, and a 4–0 win against Atlético Madrid.[42] On 3 August 2019, Dortmund won the German Super Cup.[43] He was sacked on 13 December 2020 after a string of poor results, including a 5–1 thumping at home against newly-promoted VfB Stuttgart.[44] Favre finished with a record of 67 wins, 17 draws, and 23 losses.[45]

Style of managementEdit

Favre's teams play a dynamic, quick and attacking-minded football where ball possession and change of tempo alternate. This attractive style of play has brought results in every club he has managed. Furthermore, Favre is very skillful tactically, leaving his opponents struggling to penetrate his well-organized sides. His teams tend to shoot less than others but have a high conversion rate, also with shots coming from outside the box. Favre likes the opponents conversion rate to be on the low end. His teams stick out at the wrong end of expected goals statistics. Favre has a reputation of predicting well how opposing teams, coaches or players tend to react in certain situations. To play this style Favre pays attention to details and technique especially one-to-one.[46][47][48][49][50]

Favre is also well known for his ability to develop talented young players and introduce them into the first team. Under his leadership, Blerim Džemaili, Almen Abdi, Steve von Bergen and Gökhan Inler all made their debut with the Switzerland national team before signing for foreign clubs. In 2007, Zürich became Swiss champions with an average age of 21.5 years. He is also credited with raising the game of German starlet Marco Reus, whose fine performances procured a call up to the Germany national team and a high-priced move to league champions Borussia Dortmund; Marc-André ter Stegen, who eventually joined Barcelona; and Christoph Kramer. Another example of his ability to develop youngsters into widely sought after, talented players is seen in Granit Xhaka, who initially struggled when he joined Gladbach but, under Favre's tutelage, eventually thrived, becoming one of the best central midfielders in Germany and sealing a move to Arsenal for a fee reported to be in excess of €30 million.

Managerial statisticsEdit

As of match played 12 December 2020
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref.
G W D L Win %
Servette 1 July 2000[3] 30 June 2002[3] 83 34 26 23 040.96
Zürich 1 July 2003[3] 1 June 2007[15] 169 94 33 42 055.62
Hertha BSC 1 June 2007[15] 28 September 2009[20] 94 40 20 34 042.55 [22]
Borussia Mönchengladbach 14 February 2011[23] 20 September 2015[34] 189 88 49 52 046.56 [36]
Nice 24 May 2016[37] 20 May 2018 99 42 24 33 042.42
Borussia Dortmund 22 May 2018 13 December 2020 110 68 18 24 061.82 [45]
Total 744 366 170 208 049.19







Yverdon Sport

  • Nationalliga A promotion: 1998–99



Borussia Dortmund


  • Swiss Manager of the Year: 2006, 2007
  • Sport1 Manager of the Year: 2011[51]
  • VDV Players' Union Manager of the Season: 2011–12[52]
  • Kicker Player Poll Manager of the First Half: 2013–14[53]
  • Kicker Player Poll Manager of the Season: 2014–15[54]


  1. ^ [1],, 13 September 2016.
  2. ^ Garin, Erik (27 March 2004). "Swiss Players in France". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Lucien Favre" (in German). kicker. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Servette Genève » Fixtures & Results 2000/2001". World Football. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Switzerland Cup 2000/01". RSSSF. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Servette Genève » Fixtures & Results 2001/2002". World Football. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
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  38. ^ RAYMOND DOMENECH ENCENSE LUCIEN FAVRE, Le Matin, 14 October 2016.
  39. ^ Qui est Adrian Ursea, le nouvel adjoint de Lucien Favre à l'OGC Nice?, Nice Matin, 9 June 2016.
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  48. ^ How in the World Does Nice Overperform Expected Goals? Part Two: The Attack, Ashwin Raman, 24 September 2017.
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  50. ^ Das Favre-Rätsel, 11freunde, 22 May 2018.
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  54. ^ "kicker-Spieler-Umfrage: De Bruyne löst Robben ab". kicker.

External linksEdit