On Saturday, Borussia will say their goodbyes to Raffael, Fabian Johnson and Tobias Strobl. The Foals would like wish all three players all the best for the future.
Raffael joined Borussia in summer 2013 from Dynamo Kiev, and has been a star in the Foals’ attack ever since. He had gone on to play 200 competitive games for Gladbach, and has been directly involved in 106 goals (71 goals, 35 assists). In his first season with the club, he played in all 34 Bundesliga games and scored 14 goals – his best ever tally for the Foals. Raffael hit similar heights in both of his next two campaigns: he bagged twelve goals in 31 Bundesliga games in 2014/15 and, with thirteen goals and ten assists, was Borussia’s most prolific player in the 2015/16 season. That same season, the Brazilian played six games in the Champions League, scoring twice. In his next two campaigns, Raffael scored 13 and ten goals respectively. An injury-hit 2018/19 season meant that Raffael made just fifteen competitive appearances, scoring six goals. The 35-year-old has largely been used as a substitute this season, making ten appearances and not scoring a goal.
Johnson leaves Borussia after six years
Fabian Johnson joined Borussia from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in 2014, and has since gone on to make 140 competitive appearances (15 goals) for the club. Capped 57 times by the US men’s national team, Johnson began life with the Foals in the 2014/15 season and immediately carved out a niche for himself as a versatile attacking wide man. He played 34 times in that campaign, scoring once, and made the same amount of appearances in the following season too (eight goals). In the 2016/17 season, he went one better and made 35 competitive appearances (4 goals). Following campaigns saw his game time reduced – due in some part also to injury. He played in just twelve games during the 2017/18 season (one goal), 19 in 2018/19 (one goal) and seven in the current campaign (no goals). "It’s been six wonderful years with Borussia. I’ve always felt really great here. My first two years especially went a lot better than I could’ve imagined. Playing in the Champions League was definitely the sporting highlight," Johnson said.
Strobl leaves after four years
Two years after Johnson, Tobias Strobl made the same move from Hoffenheim to Borussia. He has since made 83 competitive appearances (no goals) for the Foals. In his first season, Strobl played 37 times and showed his strengths as a solid and dependable defensive midfielder. An ACL injury saw Strobl miss large parts of the 2017/18 season; he was limited to just four Bundesliga appearances. Strobl was back at his best for the 2018/19 season and played in 30 competitive games for Gladbach. The 30-year-old has made twelve appearances this season. "I’ve really enjoyed my four years with this great club," said Strobl. "There have been a lot of highs but, with the ACL and other smaller injuries, lots of lows as well. Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives, so I’ll have a tear in my eye when I leave the club."