Borussia win last pre-season friendly 2-1 against Groningen
The Foals recorded a 2-1 win in their final friendly of pre-season against Dutch top-flight side FC Groningen.
Head coach Marco Rose and sporting director Max Eberl faced the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of the Bundesliga derby against 1. FC Köln on Saturday at BORUSSIA-PARK (18:30 CET).
Marco Rose on…
…squad news: There’s not much to report all in all. Apart from a couple of minor injuries, all of the players are fit and ready to go. Valentino Lazaro has trained well this week and is fit again, so he’ll be back in the squad on Saturday. Rocco Reitz has also been training with the team again this week and is well on his way back after his injury. Torben Müsel is up and running again as well which is also good news for us.
…the significance of the derby: Derbies are always special, similar to games in the DFB-Pokal. During the time I’ve been in charge here at Mönchengladbach, we’ve been successful in every derby so far. The boys know exactly what’s coming and what’s at stake. All of them want to win for our fans and I don’t need to provide any extra motivation for any of them.
…the match itself: We have to be ready right from the beginning because they will be fighting for everything. We must be focused and committed, while also trying to play good football. Over the past few weeks, Köln have built up consistency in terms of their structure, tactics, and organisation. They’ll give it everything they’ve got and have nothing to lose. On our part, we have a strong desire to win the match and continue our good run.
…the table: We’ve been doing a lot of things right since the start of this year and have been rewarded for that. However, there’s still room for improvement. We’re fighting for the top places in the league with formidable sides like Wolfsburg and Frankfurt, who are also in very good form. To stay up there, we need the three points on Saturday.
…playing games behind closed doors: I don’t think there’s much difference in terms of the quality of football. You do start to get used to the new conditions, although you don’t want to of course. A big part of football is missing without the fans. We all hope that the pandemic will be over sooner rather than later and we can get fans back into the stadiums. What we’ve felt, particularly here at BORUSSIA-PARK, is that we’re missing that extra push that the fans give us. In some games we’ve ended up dropping points late on and I feel sure that we wouldn’t have done so if we’d had fans urging us on from the stands.
…the draw for the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal on Sunday: If you want to make it to the final in Berlin you have to beat everyone in your path, so I don’t have any opponents that I don’t want to face. Having said that, a home game would do us a lot of good because we’re having to travel a lot at the moment. So overall, I would say that I just want us to be drawn at home.
Max Eberl on…
…playing the derby without fans: Unfortunately, it’s the second derby at home that we’ve had to play behind closed doors. It feels completely different playing in front of empty stands and it’s a different emotional experience. Nevertheless, we know how important these games against Köln are to our fans. They’ll all be watching from afar, we know that. It’s also a crucial game in terms of the table. We want to keep picking up points to stay in contention for the European places.
…the upcoming Champions League game against Manchester City: As of now, we’re having to look for a new venue. We’re staying in constant contact with the state government and the public health authorities, as well as with the DFL, DFB, and UEFA. At the moment, it’s looking like we won’t be able to play our home leg in Germany because of the travel ban on English teams due to the mutation of the virus. Therefore, we’re having to look for alternatives because we are responsible for the match taking place. There are still a few political decisions that need to be made and UEFA is supporting us in making those. Then it’s a case of making a decision in plenty of time for where the match will take place.
...squad planning for next season: We managed to keep the core of our squad together last year. That was a big effort from the club. I’m relaxed looking ahead to the next summer transfer window. The contracts of Nico Elvedi, Matthias Ginter and Denis Zakaria are up in 2022 and we would like to extend all three of them. We will wait and see whether we can keep them all. We will definitely do our homework so that we can put together the best possible squad for next season.