Cologne – Despite having the greater scoring opportunities in the goalless draw with 1. FC Köln on Sunday, the mood among Borussia Mönchengladbach’s players after the 81st Rhineland derby was one of satisfaction.
‘Can’t expect to win’
Max Kruse, Raffael and Tony Jantschke were all guilty of missing clear-cut chances against their regional rivals, but given the fiercely hostile atmosphere inside the RheinEnergieStadion - not to mention their hosts’ defensive record prior to the Matchday 4 encounter - the Foals were far from disappointed with a share of the spoils.
“You could see why they haven’t conceded a goal or lost yet this season,” 2014 FIFA World Cup winner Christoph Kramer said of the Billy Goats, who had previously kept clean sheets against Hamburger SV, VfB Stuttgart and SC Paderborn in the league. “We had two decent chances and one golden opportunity to score. If you don’t make the most of those, you can’t expect to win.”
It was Kruse who came closest to silencing the vociferous home support in Cologne, heading wide of Timo Horn’s goal at the beginning of the second half after escaping the attentions of his markers. “We should have scored really, but they were happy to play for the 0-0,” said Kramer. “The longer we went without scoring, the less space there was for us to attack. We did our best in difficult circumstances, so we can’t be too unhappy with the draw.”
U.S. Men’s National Team international Fabian Johnson, meanwhile, who joined Gladbach from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in the summer, was pleased to emerge from Sunday’s clash with the Foals’ own unbeaten league record still intact. “We’ve done really well not to lose so far, and to get a draw away from home in the derby is definitely a positive result,” Johnson told bundesliga.com in an exclusive interview.
“These last few days haven’t been easy for us,” added the 26-year-old, alluding to Gladbach’s recent fixture schedule, which has seen Lucien Favre’s side host Villarreal CF in the UEFA Europa League and face their local rivals before welcoming Hamburger SV to the Borussia Park this coming Wednesday. “The coach is doing a great job of rotating the squad and giving us some sort of rhythm. We’re coping well so far and are just looking forward to our next game.”
‘Better than last season’
Having held champions FC Bayern München to a goalless draw in Josef Zinnbauer’s first game in charge of the club on Saturday, HSV are unlikely to be fazed by the prospect of a visit to Gladbach, despite Borussia’s impressive 4-1 victory over FC Schalke 04 on Matchday 3. Kramer, however, is confident of returning to winning ways against the Red Shorts in midweek.
“We’re playing at home, so it’ll be a completely different scenario,” he insisted. “We want to win the game and continue our good start to the campaign. We’ve picked up two goalless draws away from home, which is a lot better than we managed last season [when die Fohlen lost their first two away games to FC Bayern and Bayer 04 Leverkusen]. Overall, we can be very pleased.”
Matthew Howarth reporting from the RheinEnergieStadion