Borussia Mönchengladbach head coach Marco Rose has guided the Foals to their best start to a season since 1987 and has his side galloping away at the top of the Bundesliga table through 11 weeks of the season.
bundesliga.com: How would you summarise Gladbach's current situation?
Marco Rose: "We're top of the table and have 25 points, so the mood is positive. We're continuing to work hard, even now with a smaller squad. We just had a small practice match. From next week onwards we'll have to start building towards a difficult test in Berlin."
bundesliga.com: Have you lived up to your own expectations of and wishes for yourself?
Rose: "Things don’t come easily in professional football, that much is true, but we have certain expectations and prepare ourselves well. You have to do that in order to face the challenges you do properly. A lot of the experiences I have been able to bring here have been useful, and this is a well-run and ambitious club with a squad that has exactly the character required. That has been a good base to approach things from. So far I think we have worked well enough to give ourselves a good start, so now it is all down to making sure we continue that.”
bundesliga.com: Is the upbeat mood in the team solely down to your place in the table, or does it also come from the general chemistry within the team?
Rose: "The one always facilitates the other, I think. You can only win games when the squad's morale is good. Of course, we'll also have times when things don't go quite so well for us, so we have to stay calm in those situations and hold our nerve long enough to discuss what needs to change so we can get back on the right track. We'll have to stay grounded but remain ambitious."
bundesliga.com: How was your time in Mainz?
Rose: "I say in many interviews what a wonderful time that was, we were a real band of brothers. We also achieved something special at Mainz; I don't think many people would've imagined that the then second division team Mainz would make it to the Bundesliga. At this point the team has been in the Bundesliga for a good while and the expectations have changed, with the top division becoming the norm. I think we became the template for a few other clubs like Union Berlin, Paderborn, Alemannia Aachen… who else has been in the Bundesliga recently? Braunschweig, for example. Smaller clubs who achieved a lofty goal by doing what we did."
Watch: Gladbach's win over Mainz earlier this season!
bundesliga.com: Do the team spirit and the togetherness within the squad play an important role?
Rose: "It's relatively simple for me: football is a team game. Of course, you depend on individual quality too at the highest levels, but even that can only shine through on the pitch when the team is working correctly. We often speak about teams with enormous mental strength beating teams with greater footballing quality, and that's what makes football so special. That favourite vs. underdog dynamic is vanishing in the modern game, because a lot of clubs know their own strengths and build on them, and because they work to be successful as a collective."
bundesliga.com: Do teams sometimes fear Bayern Munich a little too much?
Rose: "I don’t know, I think there have always been years when you could hurt Bayern. The fact is that Bayern thrived off their natural authority for years because teams went there to try, but as soon as the going got tough they rolled over. There were occasional years when Bayern lost that air of invincibility and became vulnerable, but at the end of the day, they are Bayern. They'll always find their feet again and they're the best team in Germany, the most successful team in Germany. Despite that everyone will always try to beat them."
bundesliga.com: What were you able to take from your time at Red Bull Salzburg?
Rose: "When I was there I came to understand the Bavarians' point of view, because for us it became about winning every single league game, winning the cup and taking home the title. You have to be strong for that because every opponent comes and gives 120% against you, so you have to stand strong against that and manage to bring your qualities to show on the pitch. That isn't always easy, but we succeeded in doing it. Much like Bayern have in Germany."
Watch: How Marco Rose has Gladbach top of the table!
bundesliga.com: How long can you maintain the current level of performance for? Will you have to rotate players?
Rose: "We're doing that already. Even so, there will always be periods in a season when performances drop. Teams rarely manage to perform at a consistently high level for an entire season. Teams that succeed in doing that, like Leicester City, win the English Premier League if they can maintain it. I don't think we'll change anything about how we want to go out onto the pitch and how we want to play football, because I'm glad to hear that it looks good and is fun to watch. To an extent that is our task, and our goal too. Football in front of 50 to 80 thousand is entertainment as well, so if the people are having fun, we're doing a lot of things right. Of course, in professional football results are part of it too and are very important."
bundesliga.com: You are often described as the perfect coach here in Gladbach. What does the club do for you?
Rose: "I'm far from a perfect person, but overall I think I was raised right and have learned a few things during my life about how you should behave. Even so, I still do many things wrong and behave incorrectly. I got a red card in Dortmund and sometimes say stupid things, so I'm far from perfect. What does this club do for me? Well I made a considered decision to come to Borussia Mönchengladbach, because I felt a connection with what the club is about and what it means to people. The first thing I encountered was the enormous fan-power, and it has been great fun to work at a club that is so beloved. The support here is unbelievable when you play good football. Thanks to our success we're seeing that right now, during every home game. The club is more than solid and well-run, it's very grounded and due to its history also has ambitions that it strives to reach someday. That's why it made sense for me, why I fit here and why the club gives me so much. Because we've been integrated so well."
bundesliga.com: Are you surprised by how well Marcus Thuram is developing as a part of this team?
Rose: "That speaks to the quality of our scouting. Marcus was on the club's radar even before I was in contact with them. Of course, we had some discussions about the player and came to the conclusion that he fit our idea of football. A lot of things that we saw in him and that the scouting team saw in him have shone through, and he's been integrated well. It reflects well on the team and the club that players settle in quickly here. I think Marcus is still a long way from completing his development, and he still has a lot left to give."
bundesliga.com: Had you expected Stefan Lainer to be able to replicate his good form for Salzburg here?
Rose: "Of course I did. Firstly, you shouldn't underestimate other leagues, because the boys do a good job there too and are very talented. It was clear to me that 'Stevy' could be an asset to this team with the manner he plays football, because we have changed a few things and 'Stevy' is someone who sets an unbelievable example and drags others along with him to achieve highly. He was taken in so well here too and felt really happy from the very first moment. It's been great so far for all involved."
bundesliga.com: As head coach, you have many responsibilities. Is there one of them which you most enjoy?
Rose: “Not really, it's all part of the job and everything is important. These days you have people who help you with everything too, which I think is very important. You have to be the person who tries to steer things in the right direction, so you have to be involved in everything and have a broad set of skills."
bundesliga.com: How did a football blogger end up as part of your team?
Rose: "We got to know each other in Salzburg and got chatting a few times. At some point we were looking for an analyst in the academy who could also fill an assistant coaching role, which is exactly what Rene Maric had been hoping for at the time. As we had previously discussed football full of excitement and with good understanding, it all went well. We've been a great team since then and I'm happy he's a part of this journey."
bundesliga.com: Is Jürgen Klopp a role model for you?
Rose: "Absolutely. Klopp is someone who shaped a lot of people, particularly during the time I was close to him, at Mainz. In your career in football, you meet a lot of people and you cherry-pick things: what would I change, what would I imitate? I had a coach at Leipzig, Joachim Steffens, who shaped my philosophy a lot too. I think you always find things to learn from, but Klopp had a big effect on me in the few years we worked together."
bundesliga.com: What do you think of Klopp’s career trajectory?
Rose: "That's what's been so nice. Good, continual, honest work over many years has paid off and been rewarded."
bundesliga.com: There's a certain rivalry between Gladbach and Bayern. Are you looking forward to that game?
Rose: "First we have Union [Berlin], Wolfsburger AC, Freiburg and then Bayern. I would like to point that out, so we're clear about the order and what lies ahead of us. We're all looking forward to that game, but we aren't building it up into more than what it is. It's an important home game here against Bayern Munich, in which we can measure ourselves against the best and reaffirm our form, or even find it again; I don't know how well we will find our feet in the upcoming games. The fact is that we'll be facing a big challenge, but we have our fans behind us and are a confident side who want to get a result here at home."