With so much attention on the top of the table title race and the battle for Europe as well as the fight to avoid relegation, those teams left in midtable limbo are going somewhat under the radar. One such club Borussia Mönchengladbach had been hoping for a new dawn under coach Daniel Farke, but are in danger of going backwards with fans starting to ask questions about the direction the club is headed.
After finishing the 2021-22 Bundesliga season in tenth place, the move was made to replace coach Adi Hütter with Daniel Farke with the hope of initiating a new start under the coach who had previously plied his trade in the English Premier League and Championship with Norwich City.
At his unveiling all the right words were spoken to stoke the passions and hopes of the Gladbach faithful. “I think it is important that a club has clear values and a strong identity” Farke explained. “Borussia stands for possession, dominance, creativity and a love of the game. I can identify with all of these things.
“We have a good framework and lots of potential as a team. Borussia conceded too many goals last season and that is something we have to work on.”
As mentioned the previous season had seen the Foals finish tenth with 45 points giving them an average of 1.32 points per game. They conceded 61 goals meaning an average of 1.79 goals per game.
Fast forward to the present moment and the club are in eleventh position after 30 games (after Köln beat Leverkusen) with a lower average points per game of 1.2. They have conceded 48 goals thus far giving them a slightly better ratio of 1.6 goals conceded per game. We are however not exactly looking at progress and there is a real danger that the situation could worsen before the end of the campaign and the club could actually go backwards compared to the last season under Hütter’s control.
A movement backwards would be slightly more palatable for the Fohlen fans to stomach if there were signs of a brighter future on the horizon, but with a whole host of key players set to leave the club in the summer, the outlook is far from rosy and it hard to imagine progress being made with a weaker squad.
Yann Sommer has gone, Marcus Thuram, Ramy Bensebaini, and Lars Stindl have confirmed their departures, while a big question mark remains over the future of much-admired Manu Koné, who will surely be attracting interest over the summer.
Sporting director Roland Virkus has a real job on his hands this summer to replenish the Gladbach squad and he has admitted he understands the fans’ frustrations. “Football is a very emotional sport. I can understand that the fans feel angry and disappointed when we don’t play well. It’s also completely normally for these emotions to then need to be released. Our job as those responsible for the club is to be objective. That’s always been how Borussia have operated.
“We’ve been through even rougher patches before in the past. Back then, we also managed to build up a sense of togetherness. That’s the challenge I’m putting to the team.
“We will have a lot of hard work to do, which will be a challenge, but also something fun. That’s our job that we’re here to do. We have some concrete ideas already about where we want to strengthen our team. It will almost certainly also come down to finding creative solutions. The most basic requirement for any new player is always that they are fully on board with what this club represents and that they want to play for Borussia Mönchengladbach. That’s what I want to see, as sporting director.”
Again the right words are being spoken, but it is results on the pitch that count. The quality that the current squad possesses by no means matches up to their current league position and the use of the word ‘underperformance’ would not be an exaggeration. Gladbach are one of the teams to have beaten Bayern this season while they have also beaten Borussia Dortmund (4-2) and RB Leipzig (3-0) at home. They are however the third worst away side in the Bundesliga this season with just one win and a total of nine points won on the road.
The potential has been here this season just not the progress. Gladbach fans will not be content with where they are, but they might be more concerned about where things are going. The prospect of a better second season under Daniel Farke is not looking guaranteed.