Mönchengladbach returned to VfL Bochum nearly eleven years ago. Gladbach’s current sporting director was in another position at the time. The game is still very special to him.
Like Lucien Favre, no Gladbach coach will fly across the Ruhr stadium in Bochum this time around.
When they return to a place that has been a trend for Borussia Mönchengladbach, the lower Rhine side cannot make the league perfect on Friday – unlike for nearly eleven years. In May 2011, Favre and Borussia prevented relegation from the Bundesliga in two thrilling relegation matches against Bochum, and his players gleefully threw the Swiss into the air. For the first time since this turning point in the club’s history, Gladbach has returned to Castroper Straße. Once again, there is a lot at stake. Both clubs have to lay off their coaches because of Corona.
Gladbach coach Uday Hutter, not just under one Corona infection, but he also suffers from laryngitis, and will be replaced by assistant coach Christian Bentinger. In Bochum, assistant Markus Gellhaus stands as boss Thomas Reiss for a short time. It works reasonably well,” Gilhouse said. In the last duel at the Ruhrstadion so far, no one doubted that the pandemic would one day affect life and football.
Ferkus succeeds April
“I was at the stadium at the time. It did something for you emotionally in Bochum,” says Roland Verkus, Gladbach’s sporting director. “It’s a great stadium, a tight stadium where there will be a lot of activities.”
Ferkus was youth coordinator in 2011 and succeeded Max Eberl as head of sport for a month. Eberl and Favre have made Borussia a prominent title in German football once again. The landing was the decisive starting point. A club in the relegation battle has become a big team. Gladbach has played three times in the Champions League since then, just a year ago Borussia were in the last 16 under coach Marco Rose.
Well, when it comes time to return to Bochum for the first time since scheduled 2011, the main protagonists will be different. Marco Reus, Mike Hanke or Marc-Andre ter Stegen should not be ruling the pitch anymore, but Marcos Thuram, Alasan Plea or Jan Sommer. However, the main task is the same: after successful years, Borussia are only interested in staying in the league in this crisis season.
Respect for Bochum
The 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin last weekend gave Borussia a little breathing room. “We haven’t achieved anything yet,” says Bentinger, and rightly so. Gladbach leads by seven points from the relegation zone. Promoted Bochum earned two extra points. Unlike the recent duel in Revier, the hosts do not enter the game as obvious outsiders.
“VfL Bochum can no longer be compared to the team at the time,” Virkus agrees. “They are a top-tier club now and a team that played superbly at home against two great teams.” Ferkus was referring to the thrilling 4-2 win over Bayern Munich and the strong showing in the unfortunate 1-0 defeat to RB Leipzig. “There is a lot coming our way.”
But the Bochum team has to dispense with several players infected with Corona. Defender Christian Gamboa, striker Milos Pantovic and midfielder Robert Tisch will be absent. The return of defenders Maxim Leach and Danilo Soares is still open.
Midfielder Nico Elvi is absent in Borussia due to the Corona virus, and national player Jonas Hoffmann is still infected. However, that cannot be used as an excuse for Gladbach. The team has been very extensive for that in recent years and has improved dramatically in terms of quality. If the Gladbachers win, they can win the Bundesliga twice in a row for the first time since October 2021. Even if staying in the league isn’t ideal: the big move would be to succeed in Bochum this time too.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220317-99-558000 / 3