Mönchengladbach - With the winter transfer window about to officially open in Germany, the country's top-flight clubs are once again mulling over their possible options on the personnel front.
Signing just the right players is no easy undertaking, and unearthing a gem can be the difference between success and failure. Coming into the current campaign, Borussia Mönchengladbach hit the jackpot not once, but twice.
Having acquired the services of from Dynamo Kyiv and from league rivals SC Freiburg, Foals sporting director Max Eberl is entitled to pat himself on the back for a job well done. Between them, the pair have made a pivotal contribution to the team's steady rise to third in the table at the midway stage of the season.
Both settled swiftly into Gladbach's font line and they soon struck up a harmonious partnership that as had defences sweating across Germany. Former Hertha Berlin regular Raffael evidently thrives under Lucien Favre, the head coach for some of his time in the capital and with whom he first worked at FC Zürich in Switzerland. Reunited for a third time, the chemistry is stronger than ever before.
Kruse made a name for himself as a key member of the Freiburg side who sensationally almost qualified for the UEFA Champions League in 2012/13, his consistent form earning him a first senior call-up for Germany at the end of the season. The 25-year-old has seamlessly picked up in the current campaign where he left off in the last, and looks set to get even better in his new surroundings. The Gladbach fans can hardly wait to find out who Eberl has lined up next...
Coach | Surprise package | Rookie | Striker | Transfers
See for yourself exactly what Raffael is capable of with this screamer against Schalke, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: