Borussia Mönchengladbach: Glad to be Back Near the Top

Borussia MöchengladbachBorussia Möchengladbach was formed in 1900 and is a club situated in Germany’s North-Rhine Westphalia. They are a very well supported club that has many times been compared to Liverpool for their unique way of supporting a football team.

Borussia Mönchengladbach plays at Borussia-Park and has done so since 2004 after moving from their famous Bökelbergstadion. Their stadium holds just over 54,000 supporters and is famous for it’s ‘Nordkurve’ (North Stand) due to its similarities with Liverpool’s ‘Kop.’ The club has just over 38,000 members making them one of the largest clubs in Germany.

Die Fohlen (The Foals) won their first ever trophy in 1960 when they won the DFB Pokal after beating rivals 1. FC Köln with the score of 2-1. Mönchengladbach did not win anything else for another ten years when they reached their ‘Golden Generation’ between 1970 and 1980.

This Mönchengladbach era saw players such as Berti Vogts, Günter Netzer, Herbert Wimmer, and Jupp Heynckes play for them. This period in time built a huge rivalry with Bayern Munich, and going head to head with players like Beckenbauer, Schwarzenbeck, Müller, and Maier was a huge task.

They acquired their first ever Bundesliga trophy in 1970 and went on to successfully defend their trophy a year later, making them the first team to do so in the short Bundesliga history. Bayern Munich stated their dominance however, winning it three years in a row that only allowed Borussia Mönchengladbach to gain their second DFB Pokal in 1973. In that same year, Mönchengladbach reached the UEFA Cup Final, only losing out 3-2 over two legs to Liverpool.

Borussia MöchengladbachHowever, when they reached 1975, this is where Die Fohlen proved their dominance with players like Jupp Heynckes demonstrating his predator instincts, scoring 29 goals that year. They won the Bundesliga and managed to mirror Bayern Munich’s record, winning it three years on the trot.

They reached the UEFA Cup Final, beating Dutch side FC Twente 5-1 over two legs with Jupp Heynckes scoring a hat trick in the away tie. In 1977, Mönchengladbach reached the European Cup Final at the Stadio Olympico in Rome, but went onto lose yet again to Liverpool 3-1 in a major European final.

Mönchengladbach reached the promise land yet again in 1979, beating Red Star Belgrade 2-1 over two legs in the UEFA Cup Final, with the only Danish player in the team, Allen Simonsen, scoring the winner. It seemed that Borussia Mönchengladbach were back again, reaching the UEFA Cup Final another time for an all-German affair.

They lost the match on away goals that seemed to really hurt the Borussia Mönchengladbach fans and players. Since this final, Mönchengladbach has only managed to add the DFB Pokal in 1995 and have struggled to maintain a consistency in the Bundesliga, yo-yoing between the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga.

Borussia Mönchengladbach have had major players wear their famous shirt over recent years, but this has all ended in them selling these players to clubs with a much higher status, most notably Marco Reus to Borussia Dortmund and Dante to Bayern Munich.

Since their ‘Golden Generation,’ Mönchengladbach has majorly stepped back, whereas Bayern Munich kicked on, getting stronger and stronger as an empire. Questions have been asked why this was the case, but nobody could really put together an explanation for them not getting stronger like Bayern.

Borussia MöchengladbachRecently though, Mönchengladbach have managed to get some type of consistency after near missing relegation in 2011 after a post-season playoff. After that season, they have been a very strong side in the German Bundesliga when finishing fourth last season, gaining entry into the UEFA Champions League; they were beaten over two legs by Dynamo Kiev in the qualifying round. They were then entered into the UEFA Europa League but were beaten in the knock out stages by Lazio.

Mönchengladbach currently sits in seventh place on with 41 points and hold a strong position to gain another European spot. UEFA Champions League may be a big ask, but it is still a possibility if Schalke 04 slip up. Mönchengladbach still have to play Schalke 04, so the European race still could be turned on its head. Their supporters will certainly expect them to gain some type of European football, with manager Lucien Favre wanting the same.

But with striker De Jong arguably being out of form, as he has only scored six goals in the league all season, it may be a hard target and a big mountain to climb. However, with Mönchengladbach not being in any more cups, they can fully focus on the league for the final push into one of the European spots.

Borussia MöchengladbachAs mentioned earlier, the Borussia Mönchengladbach supporters have been compared to the Liverpool fans of England for their unique style of supporting the team. Since the 1970s, Mönchengladbach has built a strong relationship with Liverpool as they had a strong rivalry throughout their prestigious years. This relationship has developed every single year as many Liverpool and Mönchengladbach supporters travel between the two cities to see each other play.

After the Hillsborough disaster, Borussia Mönchengladbach donated a large amount of money into the Hillsborough fund. They were also the opposition for Emlyn Hughes’ testimonial game, and to this day, many Mönchengladbach fans wear Liverpool shirts on their famous ‘Nordkurve.’

This is a club that has much tradition that arguably should be at the top challenging Bayern Munich, as they did throughout the 1970s. But it can be said that Mönchengladbach has turned into a selling club, and they will not progress if they continually sell their top players. They have a great chance to enter the UEFA Champions League again this season, but they will have to impose some strong performances if that is to happen.

Written by James Williams