In our three-part interview with Max Eberl, the Borussia sporting director talks about expectation levels, the new coach Marco Rose and the tricky issue of time. Today we bring you part three…
With a new coach coming in, some people also expected the squad to get a radical makeover…
Max Eberl: We decided to take a different path, but without a revolution. After all, what we have has taken us to Europe five times, so it can’t be all that bad. We discussed things with the coach and together we agreed to make slight adjustments to the squad. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Players that have previously been on the fringes may step into the spotlight, while players who are used to the spotlight will have to fight for their place. I think this new approach will be incredible exciting – everyone has to prove themselves, everyone has to fight.
What role does the time factor play?
Max Eberl: The new coach isn’t a magician. The cogs could all start turning together nicely very quickly, but it could take some time too. It would be nice if the fans are prepared to and happy to stick with us during this exciting process. Success needs an origin and a chance to bloom – that was the case when I was still a player and Hans Meyer took over in 1999, and it was the same when Lucien Favre came in. A new approach needs time and I hope that we’re afforded that time.
The same goes for new players…
Max Eberl: Absolutely. We have obviously received some decent transfer fees in recent years, but you need to remember that we have also lost some of the best players in our squad as a result. It’s very difficult to replace them one-to-one with that money though. We often have to go down another route. Head of scouting Steffen Korell once said: “We’re regularly losing quality and buying potential.” There’s a lot of truth to that. We’ve shown often enough that we can turn potential into quality, but that often takes time and it’s an ongoing challenge to make sure that we get that time.
The Rheinische Post wrote in April 2019: “If it was only down to financial means, Borussia would never finish in the top seven. However, it is about clever strategy, and Gladbach continue to leave big clubs in their wake in that department.”
Max Eberl: We have solidified our position as a top-half side in the past years – nobody put that on a plate for us. In the Bundesliga you’ve got a side who have been controlling the destination of the title for years in Bayern, then Dortmund and now Leipzig are giving chase. With the means available to them, Wolfsburg, Schalke and Leverkusen should really be playing in Europe every year. That’s the top six places taken. Then you have sides like Hoffenheim, Frankfurt and ourselves. Based on their environment and their means, Hamburg and Stuttgart should really be up there too even though they’re in the second tier. We have shown for a number of years now that football isn’t just decided by figures, but that other factors come into play too.
We’ve spoken a lot about expectations. What are your expectations for the 2019/20 season?
Max Eberl: I hope that our new approach with our new coach and new players takes hold. I hope that our team can implement the coach’s ideas. I hope that we can play a role in the Bundesliga, get out of the group in the Europa League and get as far as we can in the DFB-Pokal. And I hope that we all support this development and the path we take together.