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Marco Rose: The most prominent of Jurgen Klopp’s direct disciples has transformed Borussia Monchengladbach

Marco Rose: The most prominent of Jurgen Klopp’s direct disciples has transformed Borussia Monchengladbach

In Rose's first season at Borussia-Park, Monchengladbach are just six points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

BORUSSIA Monchengladbach were bold in their move to appoint Marco Rose last summer. Previous manager Dieter Hecking had done a fine job, finishing a respectable fifth in the Bundesliga last season, just three points shy of Champions League qualification. And had Rose not been an option, Hecking would still be manning the dugout at Borussia-Park.

But in Rose, Gladbach saw their future, a vibrant, young, sought-after coach who could awaken German football’s sleeping giant, making them a force once again. And they moved.

"If Marco hadn't been on the market or had rejected us, it would have been logical for Dieter to continue sitting on our bench," Max Eberl, Gladbach’s sporting director, told

"We do our coaching scouting very intensively and therefore had Marco in our sights for a long time. As sporting director you rarely have the chance to get the coach you want. In probably 90 per cent of cases, you choose the one on the market that seems to suit you best after you have dismissed a coach. But you rarely get the solution you want.”

Bayern Munich’s return to form, unbeaten now in 12 Bundesliga games, has seen the Bavarian giants regain their stranglehold on the division, forcing Gladbach to slip six points shy of the top spot they had earlier occupied. And only two points separate Gladbach in third and fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen, Saturday’s visitors to Borussia-Park.

But Die Fohlen’s decision to move swiftly to appoint Rose has thus far been wholly justified. A first title since 1977 was always unlikely, but Rose has firmly re-established Gladbach as a player among the German elite, resting now in a strong position to return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

And Rose comes with an endorsement of the highest order. He is perhaps the most prominent of Jurgen Klopp’s direct disciples, having both played with and been managed by the former Borussia Dortmund boss at Mainz, and Klopp counts himself among Rose’s most ardent supporters.

"Marco can have any job and could do any job too,” the Champions League-winning Liverpool coach said recently of Rose. “He is really the most hyped [coach] of all at the moment, everyone is asking about you."

It seemed, after his initial success with Red Bull Salzburg, that Rose was destined to eventually take over at RB Leipzig, the marquee club of the drinks manufacturers’ football portfolio which happens to be based in the city of the 43-year-old coach’s birth. But Leipzig’s appointment last summer of an even young manager, 32-year-old prodigy Julian Nagelsmann, ruled that out in the short term, and Red Bull’s loss has been Gladbach’s gain.

Borrowing the pressing and on-field intensity he’d have learned under Klopp, Rose has made Gladbach a fearsome and intriguing proposition this season. There is a fluidity to his tactical approach, at times reprising the diamond midfield he favoured in Austria, at other switching to three at the back or a more conventional 4-2-3-1. And he has inspired standout performances from a crop of gifted young players, most notably 22-year-old French forward Marcus Thuram – son of World Cup winner Lillian Thuram – versatile Swiss defender Nico Elvedi and authoritative central midfielder Denis Zakaria.

Rose’s time in Salzburg – where he began coaching the under-16s in 2013 before eventually graduating to the senior side, winning back-to-back titles in his two seasons at the helm – equipped him for the Gladbach post in a number of ways, not least in how to best utilise and encourage high-potential young players and how to thrive at a club with a relatively high turnover of its best players.

But the key facet Rose demonstrated in Austria that bodes well for Gladbach’s Bundesliga prospects in his ability to have his side punch above their weight.

Considering Salzburg have won the Austrian Bundesliga 10 times in the last 13 years, Rose’s two title triumphs don’t fall into this category. But the fact he guided the club’s under-19s to success in UEFA Youth League – the youth equivalent of the Champions League – in 2017 and then took the first team to the semi-finals of the Europa League, beating the likes of Dortmund and Lazio along the way, should encourage Gladbach fans who hope to eventually see their side topple Bayern.

Gladbach impressed in their first game back from the coronavirus-enforced shutdown last week, thumping Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1. But with Bayern and Dortmund back in their customary positions above them, a title this season remains a slim hope for Die Fohlen.

The prospect of a Champions League return is very real, though, and that is where Rose’s focus will be trained in the final weeks of the season.





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Ryan Baldi
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