How did they qualify?
A European force to be reckoned with back in the 1970s, the sleeping giants of Monchengladbach have re-awakened in the past few years and a third place finish in last season’s Bundesliga sealed their Champions League qualification. Previously a tough nut to crack, The Foals lost just six of their 34 league games last season – including just once at home – and their 26 goals conceded was a total only bettered by runaway champions Bayern Munich. The goals were shared around, with three players – Patrick Herrmann, Max Kruse and Raffael – reaching double figures. However, they endured a disastrous start to this season which saw boss Lucien Favre resign.
Record in Europe:
Gladbach’s best performances in continental competition came around 40 years ago. They reached four UEFA Cup finals in the 1970s – winning one, against fellow Germans Eintracht Frankfurt – and made it to the final of the European Cup in 1976/77, where they were defeated by Liverpool. In the modern era, their best effort was a run to the quarter-finals of the now-defunct Cup Winner’s Cup in 1995/96. They have participated in the Europa League in each of the past two seasons, but haven’t made it past the second knockout round.
Who’s the boss?
André Schubert replaced Favre in the dugout as interm boss earlier this month and has made a decent start, winning his first two matches at the helm. The 44-year-old German is a pure coach, making his way up through the ranks after a playing career in the lower divisions. Cutting his teeth at Paderboen before failing to show his true talents at St Pauli, Schubert then worked for a year with Germany Under-15s. He is not expected to land the role on a full time basis due to his lack of experience at this level. But with a 100% record so far he is going the right way to prove that he has developed since his St Pauli days.
How they’ll play:
When Favre was at the club, his team played dynamic, expansive and attacking football, which saw them do the league double over Bayern Munich in 2011/12. Schubert hasn’t been at Monchengladbach long enough to really get his ideas over to the players so in the opening wins – 4-2 vs Augsburg and 3-1 at Stuttgart – the team played with the same attacking intent as they did under Favre. As time goes on though, especially and in the Champions League, Schubert’s team may be a bit more rigid than his predecessor’s following his close work with the German football association, whose teams are known for being disciplined and organised.
Striker Josip Drmic has been the most notable addition to the Gladbach squad this summer. The 23-year-old frontman has joined from Bayer Leverkusen for £7 million and is seeking to recapture the form he showed in the season before last whilst at Nuremburg. He scored 17 goals in that campaign but managed just six last time out; Schubert will hope he can get the best out of the Switzerland international, and he will have to if they are to make it out of this group.