Borussia Mönchengladbach and 2019/20: good season, great season

We mentioned the Champions League as a goal at some point and that’s what we’re being measured by now. We have to show a different mentality on the day in the last three games. 

Borussia Mönchengladbach coach Marco Rose on June 15, two days after losing to 2-1 Bayern München.

Borussia Mönchengladbach’s 2019/2020 season was undeniably a success. The only reasonable domestic target – qualification for the Champions League – was achieved, for the first time since 2016.

Gladbach even topped the table for a month from the end of October, causing some to wonder whether they could even mount a title challenge. But their drop-off from that lofty position shouldn’t be a source of regret.

The greater disappointment might be that from being in control of their Champions League qualification before the season’s break, defeats to Freiburg, Bayern and, crucially, Champions League qualification rivals Bayer Leverkusen, saw them cede the initiative in that battle, and made for a nervous final few gameweeks.

However, given the unprecedented disruption to the Bundesliga, combined with the injuries he had to deal with, coach Marco Rose deserves a lot of credit for calmly guiding the team to three straight wins to finish the season, enough to overtake Bayer and deny them the Champions League spot that they had won the previous season. Given the form of talisman Kai Havertz, and much a easier ride with injuries, the fact Bayer fell short where Gladbach triumphed is perhaps the greater surprise, and Rose has, if anything, overachieved. And if the early season form set expectations that Gladbach would mount a title challenge, then that is just a testament to how quickly Rose has brought this team forward in his first season as coach, rather than reflecting any realistic hope of Bundesliga glory. 

So it was a good season, and possibly a great one. How history will judge it depends on what happens next. If the club can keep this squad together and strengthen it, if Die Fohlen kick on in Rose’s second season, then maybe Gladbach can re-establish themselves as the presumptive fourth best team in Germany, and plausibly start setting their sights on overtaking those ahead of them.

But it will be tough. With big teams behind them (admittedly in varying states of disarray), it would be easy for them to slip out of the top four, and then maybe 2019-2020 will be seen as a great season, where they achieved the exception of Champions League qualification rather than making it a rule.

With all the talk of a “new normal” in life more generally, Gladbach should believe that achievements of 2019-20 can set the standard for the future, and use it as a platform to build on. On this site we will assess the prospects for the year ahead, making the case that Gladbach is well-placed in comparison to those around them. We’ll also take a look at their signings, preview their return to the Champions League and examine the domestic fixture list, which starts with a mouthwatering game against the other Borussia, Dortmund. 2019-2020 was good, but we reckon there are greater things to come.

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