Lucien Favre (born 2 November 1957) is a Swiss football manager and former footballer. He currently manages for Ligue 1 side OGC Nice. Favre was a playmaker for various swiss and french clubs, the longest for Servette in Geneva, with who he also won the championship. As a manager he won the Swiss Cup and Swiss championship with Servette and FC Zürich. In Germany he revived Hertha in Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach. He is said to be a smart tactician and perfectionist.
During his playing career, Favre made a total of 24 appearances for Switzerland, scoring his one and only goal on his debut against the Netherlands. At club level, he played for Lausanne-Sports, Neuchâtel Xamax, Toulouse and Servette FC, earning a reputation as a skillful and intelligent play-maker. When Pierre-Albert Chapuisat destructed Favres knee in 1985 he could not play for 8 months. It is still considered one of the worst fouls in swiss footballing history. Favre announced his retirement in 1991.
Favre amassed 24 caps for the Swiss national team. 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. He earned his last cap for Switzerland against Portugal in a 3–1 away loss on 26 April 1989 played in Lisbon.
Favre's coaching career started in 1991 as the under-14 assistant manager with FC Echallens. The following year, he took over the unders-17s before being appointed manager of the first team in 1993. Under his leadership, his young squad surprisingly earned promotion to the Nationalliga B, the second tier of Swiss football (now called Challenge League). This promotion is still the outstanding achievement in the club's history.
After four years with Echallens, Favre was named Academy Manager of Neuchâtel Xamax. This move allowed him to experience the overall operation of a professional club.
Yverdon-Sport and Servette
In January 1997, Favre was appointed manager of Yverdon Sport, which was struggling at the bottom of the Nationalliga B at that stage. In 1999, he guided his side to the Nationalliga A (top tier of Swiss football, now called Swiss Super League). 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 FC, 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 victory in the Swiss Cup final in 2001, as well as a superb run in the 2001–02 UEFA Cup. Servette eliminated Slavia Prague, Real Zaragoza and Hertha BSC (with a 3–0 away win in the Berlin Olympic Stadium), before going out against Valencia (0–3 and 2–2) in the last 16.
In 2003, Favre was appointed FC Zürich manager. He won the Swiss Cup in 2005 beating FC Luzern in the final. The following season, Zürich ended their 25-year wait for a league title with a dramatic final day victory against FC Basel to win the Swiss Super League. On 29 May 2007, after securing another Swiss title, he was awarded the title of best Swiss manager for the second year in a row.
On 1 June 2007, German Bundesliga club Hertha BSC announced that Favre had agreed to sign a three-year deal as its head coach.
During the 2008–09 season, he guided Hertha to an excellent fourth-place position, having at his disposal just the 13th-largest budget of the 2008–09 Bundesliga. 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 Olympic Stadium (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 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.
On 14 February 2011, Favre was named as the successor of Michael Frontzeck as head coach of Borussia Mönchengladbach. 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. 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.
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. However, they were beaten in the play-off round by Dinamo Kyiv. 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. Favre's Gladbach were not as successful in the 2012–13 Bundesliga, however, falling to eighth. 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.
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. 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 and a comprehensive 3–0 victory at home to Bayer Leverkusen 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. 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.
On 24 May 2016, Favre was appointed as OGC Nice manager, replacing Claude Puel. Despite reportedly being considered for the vacant Everton manager's job, Favre chose Nice, saying that he was "tired of waiting" for Everton to make a decision. This appointment was widely considered as a coup for Nice by the French media. Favre brought in only one backroom staff, Adrian Ursea.
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. Favre is also known to be a stubborn and slightly eccentric manager. Examples of this include his alienation of Luuk de Jong, Gladbach's record signing at the time, because the player was not purchased with his approval and did not fit in to his style of play.
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 Swiss national team before signing for foreign clubs. In 2007, FC 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 German 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.
- As of 20 January 2017
|Echallens||1 July 1991||1995-06-30||—|
|Borussia Mönchengladbach||14 February 2011||20 September 2015||188||87||49||52||46.28|
|Nice||24 May 2016||Present||29||15||7||7||51.72|
- UEFA competitions: 17 games played, 4 goals
- 1985: Swiss champion with Servette
- 1994: Promotion to Nationalliga B (Echallens)
- 1999: Promotion to Nationalliga A (Yverdon Sport)
- 2001: Swiss Cup winner (Servette)
- 2005: Swiss Cup winner (Zürich)
- 2006 and 2007: Swiss Super League winner (Zürich)
- 2006 and 2007: Manager of the year (Switzerland)
- 2009: Manager of the year (Germany)
- 2011: Manager of the year (Germany)
- 2012: Manager of the 2011/2012 season (Germany)
- 2013: Manager of the first half of the 2013/2014 season (Germany)
- 2015: Manager of the 2014/2015 season (Germany)