MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - APRIL 28: Mike Hanke of Moenchengladbach jumps for the ball during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and FC Augsburg at Borussia Park Stadium on April 28, 2012 in Moenchengladbach, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Gladbach are in the Champions League for the first time ever this year. Do they have the depth to compete in three competitions?
Team: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Manager: Lucien Favre
Key Additions: Granit Xhaka, Peniel Mlapa, Alvaro Dominguez, Luuk de Jong
Key Losses: Marco Reus, Dante, Roman Neustädter
2011-2012 Finish: Bundesliga 4th
2012-2013 Prediction: To talk about Borussia Mönchengladbach, we have to go back to the end of the 2010-11 season. Lucien Favre was appointed manager and led the club through a miraculous survival. Not a lot was expected from Gladbach last season, and Favre had a surprise for everyone. That surprise took them to fourth in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. Last year was quite the season for supporters, as they found themselves around the top of the table for the first time in many years. Two wins over Bayern Munich added to their joy.
Gladbach has been very busy this transfer window. They sold Marco Reus, Roman Neustädter, and Dante to Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04, and Bayern Munich respectively. Those are the three clubs that finished ahead of Gladbach last season. They were quick to make moves to replace those players bringing in a quartet of young and extremely talented players in Granit Xhaka, Peniel Mlapa, Alvaro Dominguez, and Luuk de Jong. They have very big shoes to fill, and it's going to be fun to watch them.
You're going to want to keep your eyes on the back five of this Gladbach team for the upcoming season. Starting in goal with 20 year old Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The young goalkeeper was absolutely sensational last season and was the best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga. Ter Stegen is one of many great young goalkeepers in the Bundesliga, but he has the potential to be a truly world class goalkeeper.
Gladbach had one of the league's best defenses last season with a back line of Tony Jantschke, Filip Daems, Dante, and Martin Stranzl. Add Roel Brouwers into that mix, and you had a talented group of five that conceded the second fewest goals in the Bundesliga. With Dante's departure to Bayern Munich, Gladbach brought in Atletico Madrid defender Alvaro Dominguez. The centerback is on the verge of breaking into Spain's national side and is quite the coup for the club.
It's difficult to imagine what's going to happen with Gladbach this season. The have a playoff against Dynamo Kyiv for entrance into the Champions League group stage, and if they can win they'll have to compete on three fronts until at least the winter break. Do they have the quality depth to do it? If they are able to get a good draw, they could very well find themselves competing for a spot in the knockout rounds of the Champions League. What should we expect from them in the league? A finish in the top 8 will be expected this year. With the retools going on at Stuttgart and Wolfsburg, I can see one of them pipping Gladbach for the fourth spot. Gladbach can realistically expect to see themselves in some form of European football next season.