When Daniel Farke was appointed as the head coach of Norwich City after being prised away from Borussia Dortmund with the aid of Stuart Webber, it didn’t take long before comparisons were being made between the unorthodox approach taken and that of Huddersfield Town.
In November 2015, Huddersfield Town bucked the trend by appointing David Wagner. At the time, he was just a sprightly inexperienced head coach who didn’t even know where Huddersfield was, let alone have knowledge of the football club or the Championship.
Over the next eighteen months, the German head coach transformed the entire fortunes of club as he took a Championship club that was treading water above the relegation zone and led them to promotion to the Premier League in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Whilst Norwich City are in a completely different situation to what Huddersfield Town was in, there’s a sense that the appointment of Daniel Farke will lead to a replication of Wagner’s success.
So far, Daniel Farke’s tenure at Norwich City has been one of frustration and inconsistencies, however, likewise the Huddersfield Town success story was a rollercoaster ride as well.
As David Wagner attempted to implement his change in philosophy and the shock culture change that followed, it didn’t immediately click into place.
This is where some similarities can be drawn between Wagner and Farke’s start to their life in English football. In Wagner’s first home game against Middlesbrough, Huddersfield dominated 75% of possession but lacked the clinical edge needed to win games that they were clearly on top in.
In comparison, Norwich’s most recent result against Burton Albion seems to be following a similar path in that Norwich dominated the game but they were unable to convert that possession and dominance into points.
Another similar issue that both Farke and Wagner encountered respectively was a porous defence, whilst Farke has partially revamped the defence, Wagner eventually re-built the entire defence and it was the cornerstone of Huddersfield’s success.
What Wagner did so brilliantly which Daniel Farke will now have the task of doing is adapting and evolving, the ‘gegenpressing’ style wasn’t implemented immediately, simply because the fitness levels just weren’t there.
It was a gradual change and at times, it did lead to heavy defeats. Notably, the 4-2 defeat to Brentford at Griffin Park and the subsequent 5-1 defeat at home to the same opposition showed the flaws in Wagner’s system.
In comparison to the short sighted nature of the modern football, the West Yorkshire side were an exception to the rule. Whilst some clubs would’ve panicked after such heavy defeats and a nineteenth placed finish, Hoyle remained loyal to David Wagner and offered him the time, patience and trust needed for him to make Huddersfield Town a successful club in such a short amount of time.
For Daniel Farke, the German head coach faces a number of challenges which Wagner didn’t have to deal with. First of all, the height of expectation was incomparable. Whereas Huddersfield fans would’ve been delighted with a top half finish, Farke is expected to be challenging at the top or at the very least in the playoff positions, from the very beginning.
Daniel Farke also has the difficult challenge of having a precedent to follow. Whereas David Wagner came to England as a relative unknown and he and his Huddersfield side sailed under the radar, there is an expectation that Daniel Farke will be capable of replicating that success.
To replicate the success of his compatriot, he will need to be offered the same assurances that David Wagner had. He will need the assurance that he will be allowed to implement a philosophy and transform the core ethos of a football club as part of a mid-to-long term project in a footballing culture fraught with short-termism.
Considering it took David Wagner eight months and a mass overhaul which saw thirteen arrivals before Huddersfield Town found the consistency needed to challenge at the top, the key for the Farke Project is that patience is shown both by the fans in the stands but most importantly by the Norwich City board.
Norwich City fans, I’m interested to hear what your thoughts are. Are you willing to give Farke time or is there a growing frustration? Do you think Farke has the capability of replicating David Wagner’s success? If this project was to fail, where would you argue the blame lies? Let us hear your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!