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.
Ahead of the final match of the season against SV Werder Bremen, head coach Marco Rose and sporting director Max Eberl discussed squad news, the upcoming opponents, and the lack of consistency that has characterised this season.
Head coach Marco Rose on…
…squad news: Ibrahima Traoré sat out training today, but all the other players in the quarantine training camp are fit. Torben Müsel (rehabilitation training) and Mamadou Doucouré (operation on Achilles tendon tear) are still out.
…upcoming opponents Werder Bremen: We don’t know exactly what’s coming on Saturday. That makes it all the important to focus on our own performance. But I believe that Werder coach Thomas Schaaf will have tried to fit a lot of content into this week with the team. He has a lot of experience. Under Florian Kohfeldt, they placed a lot of emphasis on the first and second balls, and had attackers who are strong in the air on the pitch. But it’s very possible that Thomas Schaaf will go with a different approach. We have to be prepared for anything.
…Florian Kohfeldt and Thomas Schaaf: I think it’s a big shame that Flo isn’t there any longer as he is an outstanding coach. He did a very good job at Bremen with the tools at his disposal. He tried everything he could at Werder, but as coaches we have to accept that sometimes things just don’t go your way in the football business. On Saturday it will be Thomas Schaaf in the other dugout though. I hold him in very high regard and have come up against him once before in a Europa League game in Salzburg. He’s a great coach and has achieved so much. He defined an era at Werder Bremen. He has always had an innovative approach to the game. However, for the task ahead we have to focus on our own performance. The game is important for both teams because of our respective positions. There’s a lot at stake.
…preparations for the Bremen match: This week we’ve tried to instil a positive feeling in the dressing room and we’ve worked hard to improve the atmosphere over the course of the quarantine training camp. Now it’s a matter of the boys bringing that with them out onto the pitch on Saturday. As always, we’re training very intensively and we have periods in matches where we’re very good. But consistency over the full 90 minutes is a theme that we have to bring into our game in Bremen. It’s all about taking on responsibility and defending in a clean and efficient way.
…the possible starting XI in Bremen: Over the course of the week, we’ve been watching closely to see which players are in the best form. It’s not just about the players’ quality at the moment. On Saturday we need a team out on the pitch who will keep running and give 120%. It’s important that we respond to Werder in the right way. We can introduce fresh legs earlier on if necessary too.
…fighting for seventh place: We know that it’s dependent on Union Berlin’s result to reach seventh place. Nevertheless, we have to focus on ourselves. If the result in Berlin is right but ours isn't, it won't do us any good. That’s why we’re just concentrating on our own game in Bremen. We want to do our job, rise to the challenge, and put in a good performance. Only then can we look to the capital and see what’s happening there.
…the season finale: At the end of Matchday 34, if we don’t finish in a position that would mean we qualify for the Europa Conference League playoffs, we have not achieved our goals. We wouldn’t be satisfied with that.
…the lack of consistency that has characterised this season: Sometimes you can’t easily explain things in football. It’s a culmination of many things coming together. This year has had lots of little things like that. A constant theme for us this season has been our luck in games and the way that we’ve conceded a lot of late goals. Then there was a phase in which the boys weren’t in top form. As a group, we didn’t show enough consistency on the pitch and didn’t perform at a high enough level. Individually, we have the quality; that’s been proved with all the players who have been called up for the European Championship this summer. Now we just have to show that as a group on Saturday.
…his personal development: I’ll deal with that when I’m on holiday. But I can say that it’s very challenging every day to be a Bundesliga coach. You have to deal with a lot of different things simultaneously. You’re responsible for a big team and have to achieve success in order to be allowed to carry on doing your job. With that in mind, I’ve had a lot to do this week. Then I will take some time to reflect on myself after the end of the season. A lot has happened in the two years I’ve been at Borussia. In the last quarter of that time, the atmosphere around the club hasn’t been what we all wanted it to be. Naturally I’ll think about that and the reasons that have contributed to it, and then see how I can develop personally as a result.
Sporting director Max Eberl on…
…spectators in Bremen and Berlin: We should be happy that people are being allowed back into the stadium again. It could be the case that Bremen or Union are in a position where they can have fans in the ground. It’s something that we’re all working towards, not just in football but with cultural events as well. We’re all looking to get back to some normality. In the end, it won’t be a few more people in the stands that will prove decisive, however. We’ve had enough time to achieve our goals already.
…this season’s goals: We’ve been aiming for the places in the table that qualify you for European football all of this season. We’ve always said that if we could achieve European football, it would have been a good season. Europe was and is our goal and we still have the chance to make that. I can only say how satisfied I am overall when all 34 matches have been played.
…call-ups for the European Championship: The fact that so many Borussia players have been selected for their countries for the EUROs shows that we have a very good squad. It makes us extremely proud. It’s a reward for the performance that the players have put in. Of course, we’re a little concerned that the players might not recover quite as well when they’re away on international duty. But we will make sure they get enough time off for rest and recovery afterwards.
…Valentino Lazaro’s future: As of right now, Tino’s loan ends on 30th June. He will return to Inter Milan and then when the new coach arrives, we’ll continue to plan the squad. It’s a shame that his time here never quite took off because of his injuries. Nevertheless, he has been very flexible and has helped us a lot this season.