Max Eberl and other responsible persons have reiterated the mantra-like “We shouldn’t forget where we came from!” since the season 2011-12 in an effort to remind fans and followers of Borussia Mönchengladbach that success is not granted and to keep a down-to-earth mindset.
Now they can be sure that everybody remembers, because they are back again at the starting point.
Andre Schubert’s time as a head coach belongs to history now. Borussia Mönchengladbach confirmed on last Wednesday that the coach was dismissed by mutual consent from his duties. A day later, Dieter Hecking was being announced as Schubert’s replacement.
After being named to succeed Lucien Favre in September 2015, Schubert managed to lead the club from the bottom of the table to a sensational fourth place finish. There were doubts, however, about how much of the success could be credited to his new ideas and concepts, or whether he was simply a man at the right place at the right time to benefit from the preparatory work of Favre.
It is true that Schubert unleashed the offensive play of the team from Lucien Favre’s tactical limitations, but the subsidiary effect is that the defense conceded more goals. The stability was lost, and what was once one of the strongest defenses in the Bundesliga was now only a shadow of its former glory. After sixteen matches in the current season, there are only five teams with a weaker defensive showing.
During the last fifteen months, one could observe a creeping stagnation in the team development and a loss of tactical moves and mechanism, which had once made the game of the Fohlenelf so strong. Due to the high quality the squad possesses, the club remained on course last season, but as we can all see, things get lost over time if one does not work on the basics repeatedly. The team has regressed not advanced, and the players increasingly lack solutions to turn possession into goals.
“It’s depressing, and the naked figures speak for themselves,” said Gladbach Sporting Director Max Eberl. “Everyone can read the table and see how we are currently playing football. This is no longer the team we have known. And we do not defend as it is necessary in the Bundesliga.”
Eberl could not allow a continuation of the downward spiral any longer. He kept a steady hand as long as possible. He remained true to the club’s philosophy of continuity until the moment was reached where he had to let Schubert go for the greater good. Therefore, the dismissal of the head coach was no spontaneous reaction.
Eberl was prepared for the situation, as usual, and had his replacement ready. The timing of the Hecking hire allows maximum preparation for the second half of the season.
Be that as it may, the winter break is here and the Borussen and their fans take the last poor impression of this year with them. It can be safely assumed that everybody is determined to make the year 2017 a successful one. In order to do this, a new head coach with more experience, a clear idea, and the ability to develop young players are such great needs, but also only a beginning. Transfers to improve the squad are also necessary. It has been shown that in the absence of Raffael and Stindl, there are no real options among the current players who can lead in difficult times, and injuries to Patrick Herrmann, Fabian Johnson and Ibrahima Traore severely diminished the club’s attacking pace on the wings.
Borussia Mönchengladbach will not trigger a revolution; they will stick with their idea of football and adjust the details.