Vladimir Petkovic’s rather sudden decision on leaving Nati post after seven years in charge has put Switzerland’s football federation in sorrow since he has been considered successfully improving the team’s form in the major tournaments. SFV, Switzerland Football Association chairman, Dominique Blanc released an official statement regarding Petkovic’s departure.
"We are sad that Vladimir Petkovic is leaving us, but we are very grateful to Vlado for the extremely good and successful seven years he has given us as a national coach,"
The former Lazio boss managed to lead Switzerland to advance knock-out stage in each tournament during his reign from Euro 2016, World Cup 2018 and the current one, EURO 2020, which they could progress to the quarter final, the first one since World Cup 1954. He was actually still under the contract till World Cup 2022. Nevertheless, the Sarajevo-born manager eventually asked for contract termination so that he could join the Ligue 1 side, Bordeaux. Now with World Cup 2022 Qualifiers is approaching, Switzerland needs to find the replacement soon. Here are some of the potential candidates to guide Nati on September fixtures onwards.
- Arsene Wenger. The former Arsenal tactician has been reportedly linked to the vacant post lately by the media. Wenger is currently working for FIFA global development program after resigning from The Gunners in 2018. His most notable accolades are surely the three Premier League titles, including the invincible record while clinching the silverware in 2003/04 season, plus seven FA Cup titles. In continental competition, the 71-year old manager who is nicknamed the Professor guided Arsenal to reach UCL final in 2006 before losing to Barcelona. Previously, he was at the helm of Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan and AS Monaco where he won a Ligue 1 title in his season debut in 1987/88.
- Joachim Low. The former Die Mannschaft boss is tipped for the post as well after his resignation. His extraordinary success when leading Germany win their last World Cup in 2014 after being runner up in EURO 2008 and semifinalist in EURO 2012 and World Cup 2010 is certainly noteworthy despite the downfall in the later years of his reign. His experience playing for Swiss team with FC Schaffhausen, FC Wintherthur and Frauenfeld in his later years as a player plus his early managerial career there could put him as the next favorite candidate.
- Marcel Koller. The former FC Koln and Austria boss is currently available after leaving FC Basel in 2020. His most noteworthy achievement was when he brought Austria to qualify to their first major tournament in EURO 2016 since World Cup 1998, the last time they managed to go through from the qualifying round, not as a host like in EURO 2008. He also led David Alaba and Co to be on the 10th of FIFA ranks, their highest ever in their history. Koller was even already offered for the same position in 2000 and 2013 but he turned it down.
- Urs Fischer. The current Union Berlin head coach is now one of the most high profile Swiss-born managers in Europe today. He is the mastermind behind the elevating form of Union Berlin recently. He managed to guide the team to get promoted in his first season in 2018/19 and to finish on 7th in Bundesliga in 2020/21 plus earned one spot in Europa Conference League. The only issue here is that this former Basel boss is still tied up under the contract till 2023 with Union.
- Lucien Favre. The former Nice and Dortmund manager is another well-known Swiss boss in Europe. Despite his disappointing spell in Signal Iduna Park, he is still considered for the job. Favre's most memorable seasons were in 2015 when he was able to lead his teams back then, Gladbach to advance the UCL group stage and in 2017 when Nice qualifed for the UCL, their first in decades.
There are some other minor candidates too such as the former Swiss international Raphael Wicky, the former Anderlecht boss Rene Weiler or even the U-21 manager Mauro Lustrinelli. Yet, Wenger remains the favorite, especially if Swiss FA is looking for the short term success as World Cup qualifier is looming, plus he is fluent in six languages, including French, German and Italian. The Frenchman could return to the side of the pitch for the role he once missed in 1995.