How Bayern saved Borussia Mönchengladbach from insolvency

You can say what you want about Bayern, but whenever some of their competitors are in an hour of need, the team from Säbener Strasse comes through for them. A lot has been written about the friendly against FC St. Pauli that saved the buccaneers from financial ruin and the loan that helped Borussia Dortmund pay the players wages when the club was in financial dire straights.

As it turns out, Bayern saved another team from the brink of insolvency during the 1990s.

Crisis for the Foals

Back in 1992, Borussia Mönchengladbach had just lost the DFB Pokal final against Bundesliga 2 side Hannover 96. Besides that disaster on the pitch, officials at the club were also battling financial doom. Former vice president Hans-Peter Moll later told Rheinische Post about the period:

“One crisis meeting after the other. Uefa had threatened us with a trial, because the club couldn’t pay the second installment of the transfer fees for the players Dahlin and Nielsen. The sum in question was 700,000 Marks, which is roughly speaking 350,000 Euros.”

The Swede Martin Dahlin had already joined the Foals from Malmö FF but had only scored one goal in his first season at the Bökelberg. Danish midfielder Peter Nielsen, on the other hand, was about to move to the club for the new season.

Given that the coffers were empty, however, some people in Gladbach’s boardroom considered drastic measures, according to Moll:

“There were deliberations about handing in an insolvency application as quickly as possible. But I didn’t want to allow that.”

Bayern lend a helping hand

Suddenly, it struck Moll that he could generate the money needed quickly if Uli Hoeness and Bayern Munich would be willing to play ball with him. It all had to do with a former player who would later return to both Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayern:

“There was still an installment due after the transfer of Stefan Effenberg from FC Bayern Munich to Fiorentina in 1992. That was put into the conditions two years earlier when Bayern purchased Effenberg from Borussia. However, the money was due at a later stage. At that point, it would have been too late for us.”

So Borussia’s vice president got on the phone and contacted his former business partner Paul Breitner, asking him to inform Uli Hoeness that the Foals needed the money earlier than agreed.

The following day, Moll boarded a plane to Munich and was handed the much-needed cheque. Borussia Mönchengladbach had received their 900,000 Marks early and were saved from insolvency.

Better times ahead

After the club avoided going bankrupt, it turned out that both Dahlin and Nielsen were brilliant signings. Dahlin scored 60 goals in 125 matches for the club, while Nielsen played a whopping 212 matches for the Foals, in which he contributed 12 goals and 20 assists.

Moll wasn’t at the club to experience the upswing in form, though. Both he and the rest of the board had to leave their positions after the disappointing 1991/92 season.

Bernd Krauss took over as the coach from 1992 and the team started playing some marvelous football during his tenure, which lasted until 1996. The DFB Pokal was won in the 1994/95 campaign. Martin Dahlin formed a brilliant partnership alongside Heiko Herrlich, with the return of Stefan Effenberg and the signing of Swedish centre-back Patrik Andersson making Gladbach one of the most entertaining teams in the Bundesliga at that time.

Had it not been for Bayern’s largesse, however, football fans from all over Germany and beyond might have never been able to enjoy seeing them play.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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