We gathered the reactions from the players and coaches after Gladbach’s 2-0 defeat to Dortmund on Saturday.
Tobias Strobl: We gave them a good game in the first half and Ibo’s shot could easily have gone in. Unfortunately, we ended up going in at the break behind in controversial circumstances. We didn’t really have a chance in the second half. We’ve qualified for Europe at the end of the day, and that was the goal we set ourselves ahead of the season, although sadly it’s not ended up being the Champions League. It's clear that the first half of the season was exceptional, and that it was difficult to recreate that. It is normal for every season to have a low point. I think that we managed to dig our way out of that hole. We can be satisfied with fifth place.”
Christoph Kramer: There were four teams that were better than us this season. You can win against Dortmund, if you play the way we did during the first half hour. We had a lot of possession, but then Dortmund outplayed us. We lost the ball too easily. Even if we had won 2-0, we still wouldn’t have made it to the Champions League, based on the other results. We need to accept our result, and we are happy to have finished fifth. After 20 matchdays, no one would have expected that we would finish in fifth, but we can be happy with where we landed. We owe our thanks to Dieter Hecking. We had a great time with him as head coach. We can not only thank him for helping us out of a difficult phase, but also for the way that he treated us. It was always a really welcoming environment during the last two and a half years. From the bottom of our hearts, we’d like to thank him.
Jonas Hofmann: We sadly didn't benefit from the stroke of luck needed to take the lead. The fact that it took so long for the Video Assistant Referee to give the first goal shows that the fine margins ultimately decided the outcome for the match. Unfortunately in this case, the goal stood and the decision didn't go in our favour. We also conceded the second goal far too early. Subsequently, we simply allowed ourselves to be pushed back too much and we didn't create enough chances or attacking moves. As a result, it was difficult to create chances against a Dortmund side who made the ball do the work. We finish the season in fifth place and have secured European football. This was our aim for the season. Of course we would've loved to play in the Champions League but we are all excited at the prospect of playing in the Europa League.
Coach Dieter Hecking: We had a really good home performance for about 25 minutes. We were somewhat unlucky - for example, when Ibo Traoré was denied by the bar or when Nico Elvedi's header went wide. I just wish we'd taken the lead. Dortmund's opener soon afterwards was very controversial, but I must not go on about that. That, combined with the results coming in from the other matches, killed it for us. We didn't play well in the second half. We let the visitors have too much possession and were too passive. Dortmund also played well. All things considered, it was a deserved win for BVB.
Sporting director Max Eberl: We played with passion during the first half. We were a lot closer to taking the lead than Dortmund were. Then there was that contentious scene just before halftime. That hit us just like the 2-1 against Leverkusen did. However, we delivered a strong performance against Dortmund. It’s also a big achievement to have qualified for the Europa League group stage. We had a great season—the first half was spectacular and the second was a bit more difficult. However, we still managed to come out on top. This season had a bit of everything. That’s why we hold finishing in fifth in high esteem. I know that for a lot of people, Gladbach and the Europa League are automatically connected. But, you can’t always expect to take part. The last matchday showed how complicated the Bundesliga is. It was close right up until the end. In the end, we played well and will take part in the Europa League next season.
Lucien Favre (BVB head coach): Gladbach played well in the first 20, 25 minutes. We really had to defend well. We gradually got into the game and began to control it. The opening goal was very important for us. In the second half we were the better team as we had more of the ball and more chances. In the end it is a deserved victory. It was our aim today to win here.