Frankfurt - After losing their first five matches of the season and winning their last four, not even the Borussia Mönchengladbach players can explain their startling about-turn in form.
"Sometimes crazy things happen in football," said Foals defender Tony Jantschke following Saturday’s 5-1 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt. "You can’t put your finger on these things."
Whether it is the red-hot goalscoring form of Raffael, the decision to hand midfield hardman Granit Xhaka the captain’s armband, summer signing Lars Stindl’s endless energy reserves, the growing confidence of 19-year-old midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud, or a combination of the lot, the results since Andre Schubert was promoted from the Under-23s and installed as head coach on a caretaker basis following Lucien Favre’s shock resignation have been extraordinary.
Following a debut win against FC Augsburg on Matchday 6, the Schubert effect gathered pace in impressive victories over VfB Stuttgart and last season’s runners-up VfL Wolfsburg, before a vintage Gladbach display made mincemeat out of Frankfurt’s 14-match unbeaten home record on Matchday 9. If the 44-year-old did want the opportunity to make his stay more permanent, he is going the right way about it.
'It's so much fun'
"I’m enjoying the moment," admitted Schubert after extending his 100 per cent record as a Bundesliga coach on Saturday night. "It’s a lot of fun to work with these guys. I never said that I wouldn’t like to work as a first-team head coach. I only said that I wasn’t desperate to. It’s just so much fun. I’m not ruling it out whether it’s here or somewhere else."
It goes without saying the Gladbach fans will be hoping it is the former. Schubert has reawakened something inside of the players that was clearly missing earlier in the campaign. Once again they are playing with masterful efficiency in transition, improving by the week defensively and scoring goals for fun: 14 in their last four Bundesliga matches.
The next challenge facing the man with the Midas touch is a daunting midweek trip to Turin to face Juventus FC in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League. An agonising 2-1 defeat to Manchester City FC on Matchday 2 represents the only blot to Schubert’s copy book, but there is a growing belief that ever-improving Borussia can get something from the game against last season’s beaten Champions League finalists.
"The squad is constantly picking up more confidence with each game," acknowledged Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl, who says he has yet to hold concrete talks with anyone regarding the vacant position of head coach. "They believe in themselves, as we saw against Frankfurt. We want to show what we’re capable of [in Turin] and right now that’s quite a lot. Andre is doing an exceptional job."