Borussia loanees: Season in review
Five players left the club on loan last season. We take a look back at how Hannes Wolf, Rocco Reitz, Moritz Nicolas, Torben Müsel and Andreas Poulsen got on.
Ahead of Saturday afternoon’s meeting with Hertha BSC (15:30 CEST), head coach Marco Rose and sporting director Max Eberl spoke to the media about the upcoming opponents and the battle for European football.
Head coach Marco Rose on…
…the personnel situation: Jonas Hofmann will leave quarantine and return to training as planned on Tuesday. We will have to see how he gets on until then and if there are any knock-on effects from his corona infection. The tests so far have all been good. Nico Elvedi has some pain and couldn’t train today. It’ll be touch and go for him to make the Hertha match. Torben Müsel and Julio Villalba will also miss out.
…Saturday’s opponents: Hertha have a lot of individual quality – especially the lads up top: Córdoba, Lukebakio, Cunha. So we can expect a lot of push-back from them. The team has stabilised under Pál Dárdai. He has clear principles. Last week against Union Berlin, he started with a back four. But generally he also likes to vary things with a back three or five. Before that, they would always play in different systems. I think Hertha rely on solid defensive stability and breaking with speed, physicality and good players.
…Hertha head coach Pál Dárdai: Pál is a really likeable guy. I like to watch his press conferences and interviews, because he speaks freely about what he thinks or how he is feeling. I got to know him personally while doing my coaching badges in Hungary. He was on his course, I was on mine. We did a bus tour together. I’m looking forward to seeing him again, I have great respect for him and his work.
…then next goals: We’ve had a bad period, but we’ve picked up two wins in a row now. That was important. First of all, it’s about backing up those victories with a good performance in Berlin and working hard to get the three points. We’ve spoken about clear goals in the past, but it was important for us to just get back in form. Now we need to maintain it.
…the Freiburg match: Freiburg played incredibly well against us. Their positioning was solid and their passing was on point. There were five or six situations before the break where we ran into Freiburg’s attacks, we weren’t on point and couldn’t find the right moments to press and we made the wrong runs. We looked at this week and talked it through. Of course, we’re going to face other teams that play a back three against our default formation, but on this occasion we decided to switch to a back three for the second half. And the boys did a very good job.
Sporting director Max Eberl on…
…Hertha BSC: The club were given huge financial opportunities and made some really big transfers. Hertha BSC have probably invested over 100 million on transfer fees alone, not including wages. But the players signed need to be able to work together. This season, for whatever reason, it hasn’t really worked for Hertha. The club isn’t in a very easy situation right now, but they still have a very good team with very good players. The atmosphere in the team seems to be better under Pál Dárdai. Football is a team sport, it’s not about individuals. The combination of players can make that very interesting, however. Hertha had a lot of opportunities, which they have used to take the first step. The club will get through this season and then continue taking steps next season to get to where the club sees itself, and where I also see the club. Specifically, competing for European spots.
…the race for Europe: Dortmund and Leverkusen have done an extraordinary job for the past 20 years. It’s no coincidence they were always the ones chasing Bayern. And we chase the European spots. In the Bundesliga, we had a run recently where things didn’t go as well as we had planned, as far as picking up points is concerned. For that reason, we dropped down the table. The last two wins have brought us back in to contention among the other teams. We always say: if Borussia qualifies for Europe, it has been a very good season. Last season, it was Champions League after we overtook Leverkusen on the final day. This season that will be too far out of reach. But we’re very much in the battle for a Europa League spot. And if we can be in the fight until the final matchday, that’ll be great. But we cannot afford any more poor runs of form.
…Borussia’s 2020 financial report: Despite losses of €16.8 million, those figures are a very good result for us in these corona times – as dumb as that sounds. Stephan Schippers and all his colleagues have done a fantastic job. The same goes to Marco Rose and the team, because playing in the UEFA Champions League and reaching the knockout stages also brought in money that we hadn’t originally accounted for. That made things a lot easier for us in a truly complicated time – not just for football, but for everyone. We got off lightly in that regard. Now we are in a situation where we don’t need to sell, but we also have some contract situations that we don’t want to let run down. If we sell players, we will also have the opportunity to recruit players. We will try to bring in money and then use that money, as we always have done. But of course, during these corona times, you have to put a little more aside and be more economical to give yourself more security for the future. But the club is in good shape. Nobody needs to worry. We also won’t take any loans from the state. We deal with everything ourselves, just as we have done for the last 20 years.
…financial support from investors: I think that contract negotiations are not any easier when there’s an investor in the background. It’s difficult when you have little money, but I also don’t think it’s much easier if you have it. Everything is on a whole different scale and you also compete on a different level. When others know you have lots of money, it definitely doesn’t make the situation easier. I don’t think about issues that aren’t relevant to us. Every situation has its challenges and difficulties, but also opportunities. It’s not envisaged that an investor or sheikh will take an interest in our club. But we will continue to work hard, to create more good opportunities that will allow us to make good sporting decisions. That’s how we have worked for the last 12 years and how we want to continue.