FourFourTwo’s 50 Best Football Managers in the World 2017: No.13, Lucien Favre

He took Nice into a Champions League qualification spot in 2017 – but nobody should be too shocked, as Lucien Favre has form for overperforming

Lucien Favre

The 59-year-old Swiss manager is a world-class specialist in turning modest squads into top teams, just like we witnessed last season with the most recent example of his work at Nice. 

The Eaglets had seemingly fulfilled their potential the previous season, finishing fourth with 63 points, but Favre – having taken over from the Southampton-bound Claude Puel last summer – managed to overcome the loss of star performer Hatem Ben Arfa (yes, that Hatem Ben Arfa) and led them to a title challenge.

Getting the best out of Mario Balotelli, the coach has also made the likes of Jean Michael Seri, Malang Sarr, Valentin Eysseric, Alassane Plea and Wylan Cyprien play the best football of their careers. Nice eventually qualified for the Champions League in third place with 78 points.

Mario Balotelli

Favre has got Mario Balotelli playing. Yep

Joy in Germany

It’s easy to understand why Borussia Dortmund tried (and failed) to lure him to replace Thomas Tuchel. Favre previously made a name for himself in the Bundesliga, starting in the 2008/09 season when he led Hertha Berlin to fourth place with extremely well-organised performances.

Players love working under Favre and some follow him wherever he goes

He then took over at Borussia Monchengladbach in February 2011, with the club facing almost-certain relegation. Favre guided them to safety against all odds, and proceeded to turn them into a very successful outfit that finished fourth in 2012 and third in 2015.

Players love working under Favre, and some follow him wherever he goes. Raffael, the Brazilian midfielder unearthed by the Swiss at Zurich back in 2005, joined the coach at Hertha and then flourished thanks to him at Monchengladbach.

Dante, the Brazilian centre-back who was hugely underrated in his early days, fulfilled his potential at Gladbach under Favre's guidance, and was lured to Bayern Munich. He is now excelling at Nice, reunited with his mentor again. The list of stars he had nurtured includes the likes of Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Arsenal's Granit Xhaka. You get the feeling it won’t end there.

The list

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See also...

FourFourTwo's 50 Best Football Managers in the World 2017