Mönchengladbach: Foals to be reckoned with

I imagine that Lucien Favre was quite relieved to wake up on the morning after the transfer deadline day.

No player from his team had been sold at the last minute, despite many rumors circulated about a couple of his Mönchengladbach players being on the radars of other European clubs. No transfers were made. I bet Favre had a big smile on his lips as he drank his first zip of coffee that morning.

There is always a leaping risk of losing your best players when you are the coach of a team like Mönchengladbach. The club has loads of history and are often competing the big European tournament spots. And they are showing a lot of promise right now. However, they are not competing with the likes of Dortmund and Bayern; instead, they are competing with teams like Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim.

This reality is not bad at all. It is just a difficult position to be in for a club of Gladbach’s stature, because in the end, the club is more or less a stepping stone to the bigger stages for its players.

But the only significant loss this summer for Mönchengladbach was Marc-André ter Stegen, and the club had already found the replacement in the Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer. The World Cup winner Christoph Kramer remained. The Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka stayed too. Suddenly, Mönchengladbach looked like a club doing a pretty good job during this summer’s transfer period.

Because they did not just buy Yann Sommer. They also signed Augsburg’s best player André Hahn, who made his first appearance in the German national team in March. Fabian Johnson, who played a great World Cup with the United States, was snapped from Hoffenheim when his contract ended in the summer. Winger Ibrahima Traore joined from Stuttgart and Thorgan Hazard, the brother of the more famous Eden, joined on a loan from Chelsea.

Needless to say, although the departure of ter Stegen was a big loss, sporting director Max Eberl and coach Lucien Favre did a great job signing new players to the club by adding more quality to a team that already had plenty – although not enough talent to compete with the big guys.

This season could be different though.

So far, the signings have improved the team, taking Mönchengladbach to the next level. The partnership between Raffael and Max Kruse is looking as lethal as it did last year and the two midfielders Xhaka and Kramer are teaming up quite well.

After eight games, including this weekend’s impressive away win against Hannover with 3-0, Borussia Mönchengladbach still are unbeaten in the Bundesliga. So far, they have won four games and drawn four games, adding up to 16 points and second place, only four points behind league leaders Bayern Munich in the table.  Mönchengladbach has not been unbeaten after 13 competitive since the season 1970/71 when they went 17 games unbeaten.

Lucien Favre and his team are sending out a message to the rest of the Bundesliga: the Foals are here to stay in the top tier, and they have the strength and quality to remain.

On Sunday, Mönchengladbach will host Bayern at Borussia-Park. The giants from Munich have looked unbeatable so far this season. But if there is one team that could get three points against Bayern, then it is Mönchengladbach.

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