Borussia Mönchengladbach are arguably the only club to have held a candle to Bayern Munich for a prolonged period of time, succeeding in keeping the record champions in check during a duopolistic decade in the 1970s.
The talent they produced then is enough to make the mouth water, but they did not stop developing stars when their success dried up. Indeed, we at bundesliga.com argue that several modern-day Gladbach greats belong in their all-time XI. Read on to find out who features, and why...
A world renowned custodian and current Germany No.2 plying his trade in an all-conquering Barcelona team, Marc-Andre ter Stegen embarked on what would become a highly notable career at Gladbach. Rising through the youth ranks with the Foals, the 25-year-old signed professional terms with his boyhood club in 2009 before making his senior bow two years later. Mönchengladbach born and bred, the goalkeeper was on hand to help the team narrowly avoid relegation in his first season, before a fourth-placed finish was achieved the following campaign. At Barcelona since 2014, he has enjoyed La Liga, Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League glory in his time in the Catalan capital.
Watch: ter Stegen - a global goalkeeping icon made in the Bundesliga
Gladbach's all-time record appearance holder, Berti Vogts is synonymous with the club's brilliant successes of the 1970s. Few players in the game are as decorated as 'Der Terrier,' the former defender adding two UEFA Cups and a DFB Cup to an incredible five Bundesliga titles during a blistering 14-year spell. Famed for being an attack-minded defender, captain Vogts scored 33 goals in his 419 Bundesliga games for Gladbach, while he was a European and world champion with Germany. After later going on to be a coach, he famously oversaw Germany's UEFA Euro 96 triumph in England.
Hans-Günter Bruns was at Gladbach twice, his second stint reaching 10 years and encompassing 301 Bundesliga appearances with 55 goals scored. Having started out as a midfielder for Schalke, the North Rhine-Westphalia-born star eventually evolved into one of the finest sweepers of his generation. A member of the Gladbach side that went all the way to 1979 UEFA Cup glory, Bruns is also part of Bundesliga folklore for a moment during an encounter with Bayern where he ran past almost every opposition player before seeing his shot strike both posts and fail to go in.
There's more to this Brazilian defender than his distinctive afro. Much more. Dante joined Gladbach in January 2009, when the Foals were staring relegation in the face. Having conceded 35 goals in 17 games, they needed to shore up their defence and the Sporting Charleroi stopper was brought in to do that. Thanks to a much-improved second half of the season, Gladbach stayed up and in the subsequent campaign, Dante was named by the club's fans as their best defender. Surprisingly comfortable on the ball, despite his height, Dante was imperious at both ends of the field, and it was not long before he moved to record champions Bayern, with whom he won the UEFA Champions League, as part of their 2012/13 treble, and was called up to the Brazil national team.
Gladbach's second vice president boasts a trophy haul that almost beggars belief. The versatile full-back, who lifted four Bundesliga titles, the DFB Cup and UEFA Cup, graced Germany's top flight on 311 occasions, scoring 57 goals. Bonhof was renowned for a blistering shot that could light up games from set-pieces or via long-range efforts, while his astute passing ability was highlighted in the 1974 FIFA World Cup final, when he set up Gerd Müller's winning goal against Holland. The Lower Rhine-born player went on to enjoy Cup Winners' Cup and Spanish Cup honours with Valencia, before returning to play out his career with Cologne and Hertha Berlin, winning the DFB Cup with the former.
If it was at Bayern where Stefan Effenberg celebrated with silverware, it was with the Foals that he made his name as an uncompromising midfielder. Appearing as something of a young veteran by the tender age of 20, the Hamburg-born star was snapped up by the Bavarians following three impressive seasons with Gladbach. The attacking midfielder would later return to the club for a second time after a stint in Italy with Fiorentina, this time adding a winner's medal in the 1995 DFB Cup final, where he scored in the showpiece 3-0 win against Wolfsburg.
A German footballing institution and World Cup winner, former midfield technician Lothar Matthäus would go on to win seven Bundesliga titles with Bayern after a 1984 switch from Gladbach, where the story all began. Fine-tuning his talents under coach Jupp Heynckes as a prodigious 18-year-old, Matthäus quickly flourished and in his first season with the Foals played a big part in the team's march towards the 1980 UEFA Cup final, which they lost to Eintracht Frankfurt. So outstanding were the midfield wizard's performances at Gladbach that he even made the squad for Germany's winning 1980 European Championship squad. The former Inter Milan great left for Bavaria having helped the Foals to a third-place Bundesliga finish in 1983/84, but not before featuring in a losing DFB Cup final against his future employers.
Watch: Matthäus’ rocket to open the 1981/82 campaign
Just weeks after making his Bundesliga debut following his arrival from Rot Weiss Ahlen, Marco Reus scored his first goal in Germany's top flight, and it was a suggestive strike. After a run of over 50 yards, Reus picked his spot to ensure everybody at the stadium that day left talking about a certain 20-year-old. Having set the bar so high, Reus consistently lived up to the lofty standards he set, scoring eight in his debut season and a further ten, as Gladbach's top scorer, the following year. In his swansong year prior to joining Borussia Dortmund, Reus' 18 goals was the fourth highest tally in the league, and the Foals qualified for the Champions League as the attacking midfielder was crowned Germany’s Footballer of the Year for the first time.
Watch: Reus’ first 100 Bundesliga goals, beginning at Gladbach
Reputed to this day as one of the greatest midfielders in the history of the Bundesliga, Günter Netzer roamed the field during Gladbach's 1970s heyday while becoming Germany's first footballing pin-up, rendering the game even more popular. Between 1971 and 1973, the blond-haired fashion victim ran a night club in Mönchengladbach, tapping into his popularity which extended beyond the dressing room, where even at the age of 19 he was regarded as a leader. Gladbach's No.10 won two Bundesliga titles with his long, deep balls becoming his trademark. Not happy with being a success on the field, Netzer founded his own insurance agency before moving into sports management with Hamburg, overseeing their three Bundesliga titles and European Cup triumph between 1979 and 1983, and then becoming a television pundit.
If you want to be reminded of midfielder Juan Arango's inspirational footballing brain, you need only watch the Venezuelan's insane goal against Mainz in 2012 below, a lofted shot from so far, few would have attempted it, let alone scored. Such was his daring that he deservedly holds status as a Bundesliga great. Venezuela's appearance record holder, Arango first arrived in Europe with Mallorca, but made Mönchengladbach his home in 2009. Of his five seasons in Germany - where he weighed in with 31 goals and 175 appearances across all competitions - the attacking midfielder's finest campaign came in 2011/12, when he helped Borussia achieve a fourth-placed finish - and with it eventual Champions League qualification - with six goals and 12 assists in 34 games.
Watch: Arango’s top five Bundesliga goals
His insatiable appetite for football saw Heynckes’ career in the game span over half a century, taking in Munich, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Bilbao, Madrid, Tenerife and Lisbon, but the former player and coach is just as fondly remembered at Gladbach, where he holds legendary status. Heynckes kick-started an immensely successful playing career at his hometown in 1964. A goalscoring machine, the four-time Bayern coach won four Bundesliga titles and a UEFA Cup with Borussia during the team’s glory years. A three-year stint in Hannover either side of 11 seasons with the Foals helped Heynckes chalk up 220 goals in 369 Bundesliga appearances – the third most of any player in the league’s history. As a coach, he won the Champions League with Real Madrid before repeating the feat as part of a historic treble with Bayern in 2012/13, almost 15 years after the first two of his four Bundesliga titles in charge of the record champions.
Watch: Heynckes top five Bundesliga moments as a player and coach
Regarded as one of the greatest German coaches of all time, Hennes Weisweiler managed to achieve hero status at both Gladbach and Rhineland neighbours Cologne, whose goat mascot, Hennes, is named after the Lechenich-born tactician. Following three highly successful spells in charge of the Billy Goats, Weisweiler was appointed head coach at Borussia - then in the second division - at the start of the 1964/65 campaign. He guided the club to top-flight promotion in his very first season, his young side’s swashbuckling style of football quickly earning them the nickname Die Fohlen (the Foals). After successive third-place finishes in 1967/68 and 1968/69, Gladbach became the first club to win back-to-back Bundesliga crowns in 1970 and 1971. A first DFB Cup triumph in 13 years in 1972/73 was followed by yet another league title in 1974/75, before Weisweiler’s 'Elf vom Niederrhein' got their hands on their first ever European trophy - the 1975 UEFA Cup - with a thumping 5-1 win over Twente in Dusseldorf.