Stuttgart - Following their worst ever start to a Bundesliga season, Borussia Mönchengladbach appear to have turned the corner under the astute guidance of caretaker coach Andre Schubert.
"He's just a really positive guy and he has an extremely positive influence on the team," said Gladbach's sporting director Max Eberl to bundesliga.com after the Foals 3-1 win at VfB Stuttgart, their second victory in four days since Schubert took over.
Xhaka the transformed leader
It has been a startling transformation from the side that began the season with five straight losses – six including their Champions League debut against Sevilla FC. Lucien Favre's subsequent resignation came as a huge shock, but the sudden change has brought out the best in a number of players, particularly Granit Xhaka, who has embraced the responsibility of captaining the side in the absence of Tony Jantschke and Martin Stranzl.
The Swiss midfielder is Schubert's general on the field of play, barking out the orders and putting the instructions into practice. He has also scored in each of the last two games from free-kicks delivered to perfection by Raffael, who is another player to have apparently benefitted greatly from the change in coach.
Confident for Man City
Little has changed in a tactical sense since Favre's departure. Instead, Borussia are once again playing like a side without the handbrake on and making the most of a talented bunch of players. "We're brave and we do everything to win the ball back when we lose it," acknowledges Xhaka. "We're playing the same football that made us so strong last season."
As a consequence, they await the visit of Manchester City in the Champions League next week without the fear that characterised their debut in Europe's elite club competition earlier this month. "Obviously this game's taken a great deal of energy out of us because it was a real battle, but all we can do now is recharge our batteries for our next difficult assignment in the Champions League on Wednesday," said Patrick Herrmann.
With the Citizens having lost three of their last four themselves, Gladbach fans will suddenly be a whole lot more confident of a maiden Champions League win on Wednesday.