Glad to be Bach
Success doesn't last forever. It is evident that throughout the history of football what comes up must come down, that the bubble will eventually burst. It's a sad reality. Even sadder is that the fall from grace can be so severe that a club can go years without tasting that success again or even coming close to it. A perfect example of this drought did befall one of Germany's biggest football teams; Borussia Monchengladbach. However, after this season, the draught may finally be over.
Monchengladbach achieved legendary status in the 1970s as they held their own with the best Europe, and Germany, had to offer. They claimed five Bundesliga titles, two UEFA Cups and one German Cup in that decade; and were beaten finalists in the 1977 European Cup Final. Gladbach played an eye-catching attacking style of football that bought them many fans from across the country; and they remain the sixth largest club in Germany with 50,000 club members.
Alas, as the ‘80s dawned, Borussia Monchengladbach went on the decline. They have yet to win another Bundesliga title and the club experienced tough times in 2007 when they were relegated. The club would return to the top-flight after only a year away but their first two seasons back saw them struggle.
The 2010/11 season proved testing for Monchengladbach as they languished at the very bottom of the league and a second relegation loomed if the club did not act fast. In what is proving to be a stroke of genius, the club hired studious Swish coach Lucien Favre in February last year. Under Favre's leadership, Gladbach just avoided relegation by overcoming the play-offs in May.
Starting the new season with a clean slate, the team has been transformed. The statistics show a complete reversal of fortunes, for instance, Gladbach have gone from having the second worst home record and defence last term to currently having the best home record – zero defeats – and the joint best defence – only fourteen conceded; the same as Bayern (at the time of writing).
For the football romantic out there, the team from North Rhine-Westphalia have had a season to admire. Die Fohlen (the foals) have taken the Bundesliga by storm, currently occupying a top-three position. The club's bright young prospects such as Marco Reus and Patrick Hermann are sizzling with quality and brimming with confidence; while verterans like Mike Hanke and Juan Arango have been reinvigorated this season. The much underrated Favre has established a well-drilled side, both tactically and mentally, and his attention to detail has paid dividends. Monchengladbach have grabbed the headlines with several show-stopping displays this season. The demolition of both Bayern and Schalke recently has even led some overzealous spectators to proclaim them better than Barcelona. While these observations stretch the imagination, there is no club more enjoyable, in this most entertaining league, to watch at the moment than Borussia Monchengladbach. Whether they win the league or not – they're certainly in contention – the romantics out there (including your humble writer) will no doubt be savouring the sight of a former heavyweight of the sport enjoying a renaissance. And long may it continue.