The Terriers enjoyed great success by appointing David Wagner as manager in 2015, and tapping into his knowledge of the German game as he took them from the bottom end of the Championship into the Premier League. Wagner joined from Borussia Dortmund's second team, as did his replacement last year, Jan Siewert.
But when Siewert failed to have the same success, unable to prevent the relegation which already looked on the cards when Wagner resigned in January 2019, or to stop a dreadful start to this season, Huddersfield changed direction, appointing Englishman Cowley, who signed all but one of the nine players he has brought to the club from British sides, the exception being Englishman Chris Willock, on loan from Arsenal.
Cowley, though, has been using the coronavirus lockdown to get more involved in recruitment work, and has revealed the German second division is a market he has been focusing on.
“We're trying to learn Bundesliga 2, which is a league which is quite similar, we think, to the Championship in terms of the level and the quality of players,” he revealed in an interview with The Sack Race.
Managers working in a new country often lean heavily on signings from their homeland, and Germans Christopher Schindler, Chris Lowe, Colin Quarner, Herbert Bockhorn, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Erik Durm and Michael Hefele all joined in the Wagner/Siewert era. German-born Congolese international Elias Kachunga came from Ingolstadt, Danish goalkeeper Jonas Lossl joined from Mainz and Slovenian Jon Stankovic saw signed from Dortmund.
Meanwhile, Cowley, whose entire playing career and his early days in management with Concord Rangers, Braintree Town and Lincoln City were spent in non-league football, has backed the National League's decision to abandon the 2019-20 season. A decision is expected this week on how or if relegation and promotion will take place.
“I think it was a decision that ultimately had to be made for lower league clubs, the position they're in financially,” he said. “In the Football League contracts run through to June 30 with players but invariably in the National League their contracts only run through to the middle of May and a lot of clubs are not in a position to pay their players beyond that period so I think a decision did have to be made.
“I know a decision's not been made yet about promotion and relegation.”
By contrast, Cowley supports the Football League view that the Championship season should be completed, even though declaring it null and void would guarantee Huddersfield's safety. The Terriers went into lockdown three points clear of the relegation zone with nine matches to play.
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