With Borussia Mönchengladbach due to return to Bundesliga action away at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday (18:30 CEST), Marco Rose sat down for a virtual press conference this afternoon to talk to journalists ahead of the game.
Marco Rose on…
…team news: We’ve filled out the squad nicely. Apart from Fabian Johnson (muscular problems) and Denis Zakaria (knee operation), everyone is fit. Christoph Kramer and Lars Stindl only joined team training this week, so we’ll have to wait and see how many minutes they’re capable of playing. The young players in the squad are also training hard though. We will keep monitoring them and if we feel it’s the right time to play them, then we will.
…his excitement for the Bundesliga restart: I’m really looking forward to it kicking off again. Football is not only my job, it’s my passion. Nevertheless, we’re all well aware that the restart carries huge economic importance too. It’s our duty to get back out there, even though the most important aspect of football is missing – the fans. That dampens the anticipation a little.
…Saturday’s opponents: Frankfurt hit the ground running both at the beginning of the season and after the winter break. I think they will come at us with force. They’re particularly dangerous with their crosses from the wing and from set pieces. They have several top players likes Filip Kostic, Martin Hinteregger and Stefan Ilsanker. They had success at the start of the season in particular with a back-three and then later a back-four – we’ll be prepared for both. We’re expecting a tough game; we’re up against a quality side.
…the past weeks of training: We’had to get a little creative to keep the lads’ spirits up. If you do the same thing every day, it quickly stops being fun when you’re in groups of three or four. We came up with some good solutions though. Getting the timing with our tackles is very important of course, but we’ve had the chance to play 11v11 three times and I get the sense that the boys have got back up to speed quickly. We’re probably a bit shy of match fitness for 90 minutes, but I think that our timing is on point and that we’ll be able to make tackles at a high level.
…matches behind closed doors: We don’t want to become accustomed to playing without fans. We have to accept certain things though and for now that includes playing behind closed doors. Without the fans there to push us on, the players’ own motivation will play a big role.
…being able to make five substitutions: I think it’s a good way to ease the strain on the squad by having two subs more. It’s important to have found a solution so that no extra time can be wasted.
…the rest of the season: I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to play our remaining nine games. The DFL’s concept is very good, even though it can’t give us 100 percent assurance. We’re still learning about the virus and how to deal with the current situation, so everyone has to be ready to make compromises and be alert. But I’m confident that we will finish the season.
…Breel Embolo: Picking the starting XI is always a tough call. Breel has had a good season so far and he got a goal and an assist against Köln before the break, which puts him in good stead. He’s worked really well in the break too, he’s looking very fit and has trained in every session, so he has every chance of starting on Saturday.
…hygiene measures at BORUSSIA-PARK: Our doctors and Christopher Heimeroth have prepared everything at the hotel superbly. We eat in the large lounge area, where we can sit far enough apart from each other, and there is disinfectant set up at the doors. The lads have gotten used to wearing their masks when we’re inside BORUSSIA-PARK. The team have adjusted well to the circumstances.
…potential goal celebrations: I’m sure the lads will have come up with some celebrations without physical contact that are sure to give us a chuckle. We have spoken about celebrations within the team and made everyone aware of avoiding contact, but I think that we have to accept that players may forget sometimes in the emotion.
…the fan cut-outs: I think they’re really cool. Not only does it give us some motivation, but it’s also helping a good cause. We all had a good laugh when we saw our own cut-outs in the stands among the fans. It breathes a little bit of life into the stadium, which is great.