After reaching the dizzying heights of the Champions League last season, Gladbach started their Bundesliga campaign in nervy fashion this year, accruing just one win in their opening six Bundesliga games. Despite the bad start however Gladbach lie 8th in the Bundesliga going into the winter break level on points with Stuttgart and Schalke and just the solitary point behind the automatic Europa League place of. It seems that Gladbach have finally stabilised, not only over the course of the season, but also as a first division Bundesliga side.
It was not long ago that Gladbach was fighting relegation, Favre steadied them from relegation to Europe and did so in one giant step. The Foals took 20 points from 12 matches after the former Swiss international had taken the reins at the club, crawling into the 16th spot. VfL Bochum were defeated over the course of two relegation play off matches, saving Gladbach from relegation.
Favre and the personnel at Gladbach also deserve a huge amount of credit with the way they invested in the team, buying very talented and young players. They knew that Gladbach were not going to get far in the Champions League if they even made it to the group stage, so the idea of investing in these players only because they have an eye on the Champions League is not entirely the case. The additions of Dominguez, Xhaka and De Jong in particular were not only investment in the team but also investment in the club. These types of players could potentially achieve European qualification year in year out which is huge in terms of investment into the club and attraction of players with a similar type of stature. Not only are they strong in technical ability but also strong in character, not the type of players to moan about being knocked out of the Champions League at the first hurdle or losing to a newly promoted side in the Cup.
This new-found stability generally takes some of the pressure off and relaxes everyone at the club to an extent. As long as the club doesn’t go backwards the fans, players and staff can not come short on any unrealistic expectations. Even if the team doesn’t qualify for Europe, whilst it would be disappointing given the chance they have, it will not be a disaster. From relegation to challenging for Europe is a giant step but from relegation to league stability is perhaps an even bigger one. The fact of the matter is the team is new, not only in terms of players but also in terms of stature. They’re not the team they were two or three years ago, it’s the team that is now beating the likes of Fenerbache and Marseille.
It’s generally a ‘let’s see what you can do season’ for Gladbach which may set the benchmark for future campaigns, which ironically is the type of thing a newly promoted side would be doing. The team is doing well in Europe but have been drawn with Lazio. Their Bundesliga form is also coming along nicely especially away from home which is where they seemed to struggle last time around. While people may be grateful to Favre for the individual results from both the current and previous campaign, they have a lot more to be grateful for then meets the eye.
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