Before the much-anticipated game, we talked to Christian Straßburger. He spoke to us about the past and told us why Max Eberl is currently the best manager in the league.
Hello Christian, please quickly introduce yourself. Who are you, what is your occupation, and why did you choose Borussia as your team?
Hi Justin, my name is Christian Straßburger, I am 27 years old and I’m chief of media and communication at Rot-Weiß Oberhausen in Germany’s fourth division. In addition to that I work as the stadium announcer and as a reporter for our own media channels.
Borussia has been my team since I was 11 years old. At that time I moved to Glachbach and watched my first match live at the previous stadium “Bökelberg”. It was at night and freezing cold, Hannover 96 was the opponent. Most importantly, we won the game, but I also caught a football at halftime and even won some kind of beach-chair as well. A magical night! Ever since then I’ve been a Fan of Borussia.
This is probably the craziest story in all our previews so far. Let us talk sport now! Andre Schubert has been coach of Borussia for more than a year now. What do you think of him?
We need to be satisfied with where we stand. There’s a saying amongst Borussia fans: „Those who can’t remember playing in Bochum, don’t get the meaning of playing in Barcelona.“ It is a reminder of where we’ve come from. A few years ago, we were relegated and always played for the lower ranks of the Bundesliga. Many coaches came and went and the board was always active publicly.
Right now, all of that has changed for good. The structures inside the club are stable and strong and to exaggerate a bit, you have to be a fool as a coach not to have “success” with a team like that. Schubert obviously does his job quite well even if he acts hard-headed from time to time. In comparison to former coach Lucien Favre, he implemented a three at the back option but is more or less maintaining his players’ well-coached habits.
Your squad seems to be well-balanced and always prepared as well. Do you agree? And can you name some weak spots the team has to work on?
Max Eberl, who is, first and foremost, responsible for the squad, is without a doubt the best manager we have in the league right now. He is always faster than his competitors and thinks two steps ahead. In addition to that, the current situation at the club is another big advantage and his team does some outstanding work, day in day out.
Quality-wise the squad may just be the best of the recent past. Offensively, we are incredible strong. Christoph Kramer does an amazing job, Elvedi and Christensen showed what they are capable of at such a young age and Vestergaard needs some more games. I am not a huge fan of the three at the back formation because I think we would be much stronger with four defenders. But that’s just my opinion.
What are the reasons for the rough start at the beginning of the season?
“Rough” in this case is a loose description, I think. We have a constant problem playing away from home, which causes us to be only in 9th place right now. But we beat Leverkusen and managed to steal some point at Leipzig. In total, we acquired 11 point in seven games; I can think of worse situations in the past. Schubert still has not found “his team” properly and the absence of Rafael harms us as well.
We will fight for the top six in the Bundesliga again, which is huge if you keep in mind the situation a few years ago. That is something we need to be satisfied with.
You already mentioned that you’ve been in the top tier of the Bundesliga for some time now and you have a real concept at hand. What are the short-term and long-term goals Gladbach would like to achieve?
Like I already mentioned, the structures at the club are incredibly strong. This is all thanks to the people who work there in different departments. Whether it’s media, marketing or sport in youth and professional areas, it all developed well over the past few years.
We deserve to win a title in the near future. I think the DFB Cup might be the most realistic target but you need some luck when drawing opponents. There were only a few home games in the past, which is quite unfortunate. One time we reached the semi-final and lost against Bayern in a penalty shootout where Dante missed before departing for your club the following season. I do not understand how they could put him in such a ridiculous situation. But whatever…
Due to the last few matchups you may say Borussia is the favourite on Saturday. How do you expect your team to play?
(laughs) Like we always do. We will be playing courageously and with a lot of discipline. Then Manuel Neuer will make a huge mistake, which causes us to win 1:0.
If you could choose one Bayern player for your team – who would it be and why?
Jérôme Boateng. He is a terrific defender and human being as well. All of his success is due to hard work and you can always rely on him. For me, he is the best Bayern player right now.