Mönchengladbach On Wednesday, Borussia Monchengladbach will host the Ukrainian national team, which is its first match since the start of the war. How the duel took place, what people in Ukraine should get out of and how many spectators are expected.
The players of the Ukrainian national football team are facing a special task on Wednesday. As war rages in their homeland, they will play a game for the first time since the war began on February 24, in order to send a signal of solidarity from afar. The rival is the Bundesliga team Gladbach, and the match takes place at 8.45 pm in Borussia Park.
“The national team wants to send a message of Ukrainian unity and show them how important support from all over the world is for them,” said Irina Schum, Consul General of Ukraine in Dusseldorf before the match.
It is important for players who are currently completing a training camp in Slovenia that they feel supported by the people on the field. About 14,000 tickets are gone by Monday, the target is 20,000. Tickets are available at discounted prices, and Ukrainian citizens can order them for free. According to Schum, about 150,000 Ukrainians have now fled to North Rhine-Westphalia alone.
“We would be happy if people attended the match in Ukrainian colors,” Shum said. Small flags should also be distributed in the stands. Borussia declared that the game is a charity game and will donate all winnings from the game to a good cause. To date, the club has already donated one euro per club member, and spectators can still donate by depositing the cup at the stadium. “Currently, approximately 180,000 euros have been raised,” said Schippers, managing director of Borussia. He explained that these funds were used, for example, to buy medicines and then send them to Ukraine.
The game aims to increase the total, but how did the duel between Gladbach and Ukraine happen? “We have been contacted by the legal advisor of the Ukrainian Football Association to see if such a thing is possible,” Schippers said. “We want to give Ukraine the sporting opportunity to prepare for important games, but we also offer a platform to express that what is happening in Ukraine is despicable,” Schippers said. For Ukraine, the game is used, among other things, to prepare for the World Cup qualifier against Scotland on 1 June, and then three matches in the Nations League.
The Ukrainian players, who will use the Borussia training ground from Tuesday to Thursday and also stay in the club’s hotel, will have the names of different Ukrainian cities on their shirts. The team mainly consists of players from the best Ukrainian clubs Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk. Mykola Matvienko and Taras Stepanenko are among those who played against Borussia in the UEFA Champions League 2020. Players active in foreign clubs will only join the team after their respective seasons.
It’s an honor for Gladbach coach Addie Hutter to be able to help in this way. Four days before the final game of the season against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday (3:30 p.m.), he will distribute playing time as evenly as possible. “We will mix the team and try to get two strong teams for one half each. We can try one or the other and give some of the players who have played recently less playing time,” Hutter said.
In terms of media, Wednesday’s match should have the widest possible reach. Television station ProSieben will present a report from Borussia Park for three hours starting from 8.15 pm and will give viewers the opportunity to help in various ways. “We noticed that a fan criticized the late kick-off time, but ProSieben gave us a clear indication that the audience will be more than double that time later,” a club spokesperson said.
In cooperation with a Ukrainian TV station, there will be an opportunity to watch the match from Ukraine. “The match between Borussia Dortmund and Dynamo Kyiv two weeks ago attracted a lot of attention. Such actions give the people of my country courage and strength.” After all, this is more important than the outcome in the end.