Stick or twist? That’s the dilemma facing Borussia Mönchengladbach as the Bundesliga enters the final international break of 2015. The club’s abysmal start to the season and Lucien Favre’s shock resignation rocked the Fohlen, but since then interim trainer Andre Schubert has overseen six successive league wins, and only a goalless draw at the weekend against Ingolstadt prevented him from equalling Otto Rehhagel’s record of seven consecutive wins at the start of a trainer’s tenure.
The club’s decision to hand the reins to U-23 coach Schubert following Favre’s decision to fall on his own sword back in September was meant as a stop-gap solution, but the performances and results since have put the former youth coach firmly in pole position to be considered the full-time successor to Swiss coach Favre.
The saying ‘If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it’ springs to mind and it would be hard to offer a case against offering Schubert the job on a full-time basis, save for the fact that he has zero experience at the first-division level before his appointment as Gladbach’s interim coach. The 44 year-old was the head coach for brief stints at SC Paderborn and at St. Pauli, guiding Paderborn to promotion from 3.Liga although his subsequent stint with St. Pauli only lasted seven matches, from which the club recorded but one victory to start the 2011/2012 season. Schubert’s playing career was restricted to featuring with lower-division clubs, but he was an assistant for German national youth squads at the U-15, 1-16 and U-17 levels.
But Gladbach’s stunning turnaround under Schubert, which as seen them surge from the bottom of the table to within two points of a Champions League, has led fans and players alike to urge the club’s leadership to stick with him, rather than go for a more prominent name.
Indeed, Granit Xhaka in the past few days has lent his voice to the pro-Schubert camp. “I don’t think that we need another trainer, who wants to see something different” the stand-in Fohlen captain has said.
“Andre is the right trainer for us. He has developed Lucien Favre’s system and even developed it. These nuances were decisive.”
Deploying young talent Mahmoud Dahoud alongside Xhaka as a ‘double six’ has paid dividends, as has his retention of Raffael up front. His record stands up to scrutiny, the players are seemingly on board, so in theory we should be expecting an announcement installing Andre Schubert as the club’s new trainer before the home game against Hannover following the international break.
Schubert for one is not overly concerned about his current job description or contract situation pointing to the fact that he only recently signed a new deal to coach the U23’s until 2018 so showing that he’s guaranteed a job whatever happens.
While to some the appointment of such an unexperienced coach would prove anathema, Gladbach will face little opposition should they continue down the Andre Schubert route. Back in 1996 a certain Joachim Löw was installed as ‘interim trainer’ of VfB Stuttgart and began with nine wins from eleven matches before going on to win the DFB Cup. And he didn’t go on to have a bad career did he?
Stick or twist? Surely it’s a no-brainer?
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