The German Bundesliga starts on August 5, and heinnews is providing extensive coverage in the buildup to the 2011-12 season with a club preview each day. Today is Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Borussia Mönchengladbach needed the relegation playoff victory over Bochum to remain in the Bundesliga for this season, completing a sensational close to the 2010-11 season. But last second savior head coach Lucien Favre has plenty of work to do to keep Gladbach from relegation.
Favre is setting his fingerprint on Gladbach and the main thing the Swiss coach will have to figure out is his defense as Borussia have allowed 187 goals in the last three seasons – nearly two goals a game.
Favre let go of defender Christian Dorda as well as goalkeeper Logan Bailly, the latter who will be replaced by 19-year-old Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
And Favre looked to the player market to stabilize his defense. He signed 16-time Swedish international left back Oscar Wendt from Danish champs FC Kobenhavn. Wendt had interest from a number of teams but decided on Gladbach, who have a history with Swedish players in Martin Dahlin, Patrik Andersson and Jörgen Pettersson.
Gladbach also brought in two players from Karlsruhe in 19-year-old defender Matthias Zimmermann and 20-year-old midfielder Lukas Rupp. Both are German youth internationals and Zimmermann had drawn interest from Stuttgart, Hoffenheim, Kaiserslautern and Augsburg.
In the midfield, American Michael Bradley was expected to play this season at English side Aston Villa but the transfer fell through and Favre will now have the services of an international with World Cup experience. In the middle, the team will continue to rely on young German talent, including Marco Reus, Patrick Hermann and Roman Neustädter.
The attack also has a new acquisition as Australian 20-year-old Mathew Leckie joins Gladbach from Adelaide United as a talented and quick striker.
Gladbach also welcome back Raul Bobadilla who was with Greek side Aris Saloniki last season and may struggle to find playing time with Mike Hanke and Igor de Camargo on the team.
One thing is certain, Gladbach will have the support of their fans as three weeks before the start of the season the club had sold a club record 27,500 season tickets, besting the mark of 26,200 from 2006-07.