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Who is Borussia Monchengladbach?

A closer look at Man City’s next Champions League opponents

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Manchester City will face Borussia Monchengladbach in the knockout stage of the Champions League later this month.

Both sides are looking to return to the old glory they had over 50 years ago.

Here’s a closer look at the history of the German club and what City can expect to see from the current edition.

Die Fohlen

Founded in 1900 Die Fohlen (the Colts) have seen a revival of sorts in the Bundesliga.

Since the 2014/15 season, the club has steadily grown.

In the past six seasons, the team’s always finished in the top half of the league.

Their best finish in that span came in 2014/15 when they were third with 66 points.

Many of us aren’t old enough to remember that over 50 years ago this team was the only competition for Bayern Munich.

Rose Revolution

Since Marco Rose’s appointment in 2019, Gladbach has quickly become one of Europe’s most flexible and flamboyant sides to watch.

Traditionally adopting a 4-4-2 diamond formation all on-field players are very active pressing high and winning many high balls.

There’s not much about his teams play that is bad, but at the same time there’s isn’t the same kind of individual talent and flair that Man City can boast.

Like City, they’re a well-balanced team as 14 different players have goals in the domestic league.

They’re very similar to City because all their attacks come from strong midfield play though they don’t pass the ball around quite as much as the Sky Blues.

Rose is a very patient man like Guardiola.

When City face them later this month, they can expect to see a lot of tight man-marking as Rose’s pressing tactics can suffocate the opposition.

Gladbach is well-coordinated, and their intense pressure often forces opponents to retreat with back passes.

As patient as City are they might need to be a little quicker and more direct when transitioning from midfield to attack.

Another significant aspect of Rose’s side is their adaptability.

The tactical insight and in-game adjustments that Rose provides are impressive, and his side can execute new tactics reasonably quickly.

One weakness Die Fohlen have is their defensive game.

It’s rare for a German side to lack organisation and discipline at the back, but that’s something Die Fohlen have struggled with this season.

They only have three clean sheets in the domestic league so far and have conceded two or more goals in all competitions 13 times.

Players to Watch

Captain Lars Stindl leads the team in goals so far with nine in 19 league fixtures while also boasting four assists.

His German countryman Jonas Hofman is dynamic, quick and has excellent vision producing eight assists and four goals.

Florian Neuhaus is another young, hard-nosed German midfielder who has tremendous pace and is strong both in attack and defence.

Frenchman Marcus Thuram has added another dimension to Rose’s side with three goals and an assist and a tower a strength like his legendary father Lilian was for France in the glory days of Les Bleus.

This team is young and full of energy and exuberance.

Champions League Form

Die Fohlen will relish the role of being the underdogs heading into their round of 16 tie with City.

Heading into the Champions League group stage very few predicted they’d make it out of a group with European giants Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

Rose’s side not only qualified; they showed they could compete with the very best.

Their campaign started with a pair of 2-2 draws against Inter and Real.

They only grew in confidence from there thrashing Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 and 4-0.

Ultimately those beat downs helped them advance as they claimed the second spot on goal difference.

Gladbach scored 14 goals in their six matches, one more than City had in their group stage.

European History

As Man City was relishing, it’s lone European triumph in 1960/70 the dominance of Borussia Monchengladbach was beginning.

That same season the German side won their first of five Bundesliga titles in the decade.

That wasn’t enough though as they twice won the UEFA Cup in 1974/75 and 1978/79.

Their best-ever finish in this competition came in 1976/77 when they lost in the European Cup Final 3-1 to Liverpool.

Giant Killers

Monchengladbach is well off the Bundesliga pace right now sitting in seventh place 14 points back of leaders Bayern Munich.

One thing they have shown this season though is a thirst to beat the leagues best.

In the new year, Rose’s side has victories against leaders Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Impressive when you consider those two sides have dominated German football for close to 50 years.

Their only loss against Germany’s top six teams so far came in September in a 3-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

Seeking Perfection

Like Man City Borussia Monchengladbach are perfect so far this year.

Gladbach has scored twelve goals in six games earning four wins and two draws.

Without the likes of Kevin de Bruyne for City, you have to wonder if the German’s can find an Achilles heel in what’s been a perfect 2021 for the Sky Blues.

The first leg goes Wednesday, February 24 at Borussia Park.

Leg two is scheduled for Tuesday, March 16 at the Etihad. (JSL).

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