Borussia Monchengladbach: The Miracle Completed

Back at the end of the 2010-2011 Hinrunde, Borussia Monchengladbach were mired in last place, accumulating only 10 points after 17 matches. There was no historical precedent for a Bundesliga team so far behind to escape relegation.  But the appointment of Lucien Favre as coach on St. Valentine’s Day turned the club’s fortunes around, and today with their 1-1 draw against VfL Bochum, they have survived to play again in the 1. Bundesliga next season.  Truly a sporting miracle.

Farve led Gladbach to the 16th berth in the table, the playoff spot, by gaining 26 points in the 11 matches in which he guided the club, including huge consecutive wins over Borussia Dortmund. Hannover 96 and SC Freiburg down the stretch.  Still, to complete the miracle, Gladbach had to get past a solid Bochum side in the two legs of the playoff series.

The first leg was played at Borussia Park, with the game looking to end a scoreless draw despite Gladbach’s home-field advantage and superiority in possession, shots taken and corner kicks.  But statistics don’t tell the entire story, and Bochum and especially goalkeeper Andreas Luthe played well to keep the game scoreless as the final seconds of stoppage time clicked away.   But Gladbach scored on the last play of the contest, as Belgian Igor de Camargo netted the winner from four yards out to eke out the win for the Foals.  One more step to complete the miracle.

The second leg was played at rewirpower -Stadion with the Bochum supporters in full voice, knowing that promotion to 1. Bundesliga was very much within their grasp.  Bochum took the lead and evened up the aggregate score when an unlucky Havard Nordveit created an own goal following a quality offensive buildup by Bochum in the 24th minute of play, and Bochum seemed to surge in confidence after the goal.

Bochum carried their lead into the second half, with Gladbach looking ever more likely to

score.  Cameroonian striker Mohammadou Idrissou used his 6’3″ frame batter away at Bochum’s defense and nearly scored twice on headed balls in the box, and Juan Arango sent in a long, curling ball that almost snuck by Luthe.  It looked inevitable that Gladbach would equalize, and surely enough they did, as Marco Reus coolly finished assisted by de Camargo, who had just come on four minutes earlier in Idrissou’s place.    The 72nd minute goal completed the day’s scoring,  with Bochum turning desperate and frustrated towards the end as their dream of promotion slipped away.  Gladbach’s miracle was completed.

Condolences to the Bochum club and its fans for missing promotion by so narrow a margin after a fine 2. Bundesliga season.  And congratulations to Borussia Monchengladbach, miracle-worker Lucien Favre, Dante, Marco Reus, Mohammadou Issidrou, de Camargo, Martin Stranzl, Mike Hanke, Havard Nordveit and the rest of the club for such a compelling comeback.  As I watched this match end, I couldn’t help but wonder if Gladbach can duplicate Hannover 96’s great success next season and gain European competition.

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Gerry Wittmann

Gerry is the founder of the Bundesliga Fanatic. Besides loving German football, he also enjoys the NBA, collecting jerseys and LPs, his pets and wishes he had more time for fishing, bicycling and learning the bass guitar.


  1. everyone did an awsome job ! just keep it up next season too because is going to be third place at the end of it !

  2. they have a decent defense, a good midfield and a couple of great strikers in their squad. Their 19 year old!!! keeper is one of the most exciting players and is a guy to watch in the next Bundesliga season(he has played the last 8 games of Gladbach’s season, and has kept 4 clean sheets).

    So, the quality is there, and they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I think they should be able to get a better season in 11/12. Players to keep an eye on alongside ter Stegen(their keeper), are Marco Reus, Dante, Nordtveit and Jantschke.

  3. Gerry, I believe I read yesterday, in, that Gladbach want 15M for Bradley, and that they want him back. I can’t imagine a club paying 15M for him (anyone, AS Roma included, regardless of Yank owners), so I certainly see him working his ass off for a spot on the bench with the Foals next year.

    The sad thing about his story, is that he was a solid player, twice voted as top MF for BMG before leaving on lone. Also, rated among the best MF in I do not believe the story in the press that Bradley had a row with Frontzack which lead to his departure. I think he was worried about being relegated; moreoever, he was presented(tempted) with what he thought was a dream, a move to the EPL. Well, that back-fired, b/c no one will pay 15M for Bradley, so he could be in for a pay cut when he renegotiates his salary.

  4. Wonderful work by Borussia Monchengladbach. How do you think they’ll fare next season, and will Favre be able to carry this momentum over the summer break?

  5. Yes it’s difficult to imagine Bradley coming back at this point. Unfortunately his potential transfer fee probably flattened because he played so little at Aston Villa.

  6. Congrats to the Foals! Well-deserved. If he comes back, Michael Bradley will have as tough of a time craking this 11 as he did when he first arrived and at AV. This team earned this without him and the comraderie develo.ped during an amazing run will be hard-pressed to welcome him back.

  7. I agree, Shane, it’s an amazing comeback. I never really thought about the point you raise about getting the team to not lose hope, but that’s a very valid quality that Favre was able to instill. Let’s face it — it would have been more likely of most clubs in their situation to give up hope. To instill hope and keep it alive was probably as great a contribution that Favre brought to the club as picking out his starting XI each week, making substitutions and applying tactics.

  8. 26 points in 11 matches is truly incredible. 8 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss. Very, very impressive from Favre and the team to never lose hope.

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