Luuk de Jong (r.) got some friendly minutes under his belt in Gladbach's 2-2 draw with Hamburg in Dubai
Luuk de Jong (r.) got some friendly minutes under his belt in Gladbach's 2-2 draw with Hamburg in Dubai

Gladbach "on the right track"

Dubai - It may only have been a 2-2 friendly draw with fellow Bundesliga side Hamburger SV, but for Borussia Mönchengladbach coach Lucien Favre, his side’s performance on Wednesday evening showed his team is on a healthy course ahead of the resumption of the Bundesliga season on 19 January.

Good first game

Captain Filip Daems and Branimir Hrgota were on the scoresheet for the Foals as they fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 down, and Favre was pleased with the effort put in by the collective: "I saw some good things from my team today. It was our first game here in Dubai and for me it was okay."

Before the game the players had been put through their paces with some intense training exercises, the effects of which were partly evident among players from both teams. "After only six days preparation, obviously there was a little bit missing from our game," said the 54-year-old. "We need to move the ball faster when we win it back, but we still have nine days to prepare for the match against Hoffenheim and we have time to work on that."

Favre described the goals that his team conceded as "unnecessary", but defender was happy with the way that the team functioned as a unit with as many as eleven changes made during the game. "We know each other really well, so [the changes] didn’t matter," said the Austrian. "We’ve practiced a lot of systems and formations here and it wasn’t a problem to change it up."

Good run-out

It was a tough evening’s work all told for the players, whose last competitive outing was a 1-1 draw at FC Bayern Munich on 14 December. "The pitch was dry and bumpy, which didn’t make it easy for us," revealed defender . His back-four colleague Stranzl concurred: "Some of us were playing with heavy legs, which is totally normal when you’re at a training camp, but in the second half we improved, especially on the wings, where Tolga Cigerci and Branimir Hrgota injected a lot of energy into our game."

"Our tempo wasn’t quite as it could be […] but it’s sometimes like that in games like this," continued Favre, while star striker also took a realistic view of the game, saying: "It was a good game where both teams worked hard and that’s what’s important in a friendly." De Jong especially will have appreciated the opportunity to get some serious training under his belt after his first six months in the Bundesliga were blighted by a knee injury.

Hard work continues

Gladbach now have two days to recover from Wednesday’s exertions before they face Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday evening. The Eagles will present just as tough a test as Hamburg before competitive football returns in just over a week, but Brouwers for one was pleased with how the Foals are shaping up for what will be a testing second half to the season, domestically and in Europe.

“Friendlies are always something different to an 11-a-side game in training," said the Dutchman. "With friendlies you can see where you’re making progress, and after this game we can say we’re on the right track."