By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- It must feel like coming home after a long journey for Thomas Doll returning to the Bundesliga after 11 years of absence.
But the 52-year-old is under no illusion as the former German international is facing a Herculean challenge having to save the struggling Hannover 96 in 15 crucial games remaining.
Disappointing 11 points after the 19th round of matches with only 18 goals scored tells the story of the tableau's second-last in advance of Doll's first game against RB Leipzig this Friday evening.
It was a surprise to see the former midfielder take over a first division team after he spent more than a decade abroad coaching the Turkish club Genclerbirligi Ankara (2009-2010), Al Hilal (2011-2012) in Saudi Arabia and the Hungarian outfit of Ferencvarosi Budapest (2013-2018), having achieved three domestic Cup wins.
Fans are divided in their opinion about the value of Hannover's move. Only one-third of the club's supporters are confident the Budapest resident Doll deal will be helpful. Others see an act of despair around the signing of the new coach who has played for the Hamburger SV, Lazio Rome, Eintracht Frankfurt and AS Bari.
In their critical state, Hannover's managing director remembered Doll's successful rescue work for both the Hamburger SV (2004-2007) and Borussia Dortmund (2007-2008). Only hours after the dismissal of head coach Andre Breitenreiter the club announced Doll's contract running until 2020 valid for both the first and second division.
Doll found both Hamburg and Dortmund in danger to be relegated and managed the turnaround.
Looking back at his start in Budapest in December 2013 Doll won all of his nine first games with a struggling side leading the team back to stability. In 2016 Doll was awarded as "coach of the year" in Hungary but had disappeared entirely from German football's radar.
Last months, Doll turned up as a TV-pundit attending several football shows but was far from expected to coach a first division team shortly.
"Looking at his career steps it is apparent that he always fully addressed expectations. That made us believe he is the best solution and the suitable man to achieve the success we need," Hannover's managing director Horst Heldt commented in advance of the first training session on Monday afternoon.
"Thomas has all a chief coach needs, he knows about coaching a bottom team as well as how to win titles," Heldt added.
To appoint Doll is seen as Heldt' last attempt to save the club and his job. The under-fire director is said to have convinced Hannover club boss Martin Kind of Doll. Kind favored former Hannover and Hamburg coach Mirko Slomka as the side's new face.
Doll said his main task is to create a better mood among his squad underlining "that it is not about me today though I was abroad for such a long time. I can tell you, as a coach you have to be fully focused when you work in other countries."
Doll said he is happy to be Back and so "seem many to be happy as I received over 160 messages on my mobile." Doll is said to be a coach strongly working with emotions. While he seems to get to heads and hearts of his players he was under attack by the public for thoughtless comments.
Heldt confirmed the side will most likely sign new players until the transfer window is closing this Thursday at 6 pm.