More than just “a German club”, Borussia Mönchengladbach are one of the most successful teams in the Bundesliga era. Their name may be a mouthful, but their play has often been savoury.
The fifth-biggest club in Germany in terms of membership (almost 80,000 members), Borussia Mönchengladbach were founded in 1900 - as the full name indicates: Borussia VfL 1900 Mönchengladbach e.V.
Borussia is the neo-Latin term for 'Prussia', the kingdom to which the city of Mönchengladbach belonged at the time of foundation. The club pulled up no trees until the 1970s, when Hennes Weisweiler's free-flowing side won five Bundesliga titles in ten years with a crop of brilliant homegrown youngsters – notably Günter Netzer, whose ownership of a city-centre nightclub was trumpeted as evidence of the club's devil-may-care approach – and engaged in a spectacular and spiteful long-distance rivalry, the original Klassiker, with Bayern Munich. Gladbach also won the UEFA Cup twice that decade and reached the 1977 European Cup final (losing to Liverpool), earning the nickname the Foals in the process as a nod to their insouciant attacking style.
Forced to sell players to balance the books, Borussia endured barren years in the 1980s and 1990s – the DFB Cup triumph in 1995 was one of the few the high points – and were relegated from the top flight in 1999. Another demotion followed eight years later, but the appointment of Lucien Favre in January 2011 turned the Foals from cannon fodder into European contenders. Several seasons of top-level European football have since followed – all the while staying true to the tradition of bringing through vibrant young players – with Dieter Hecking stabilising the club after Favre's surprise departure in 2015.
5x German champions (1970, 1971, 1975, 1976, 1977)
3x DFB Cup winners (1960, 1973, 1995)
2x UEFA Cup winners (1975, 1979)
A player of modest repute, Hecking began his top-flight coaching career with Alemannia Aachen in 2006, before taking the reins at Hannover that same summer. He left Lower Saxony for Nuremberg three years later, before a January 2013 switch to Wolfsburg, who he guided to DFB Cup glory in 2015 – for the first time in the Wolves' history – and the Champions League last eight the following season.
A poor run of results led to his departure from the Volkswagen Arena in October 2016, but Gladbach moved swiftly to appoint Hecking – who started his playing career at the club – just two months later. The 53-year-old has since led the Foals to successive ninth-place finishes; his brief this term is to secure a European spot.
Slowly stepping out of the long shadows cast by his elder brother, Chelsea star Eden, Thorgan Hazard – who initially arrived on loan from the Blues at the Borussia Park – is making a name for himself in Mönchengladbach. The tricky winger deservedly earned a place alongside his sibling in Belgium's 2018 FIFA World Cup squad after a season in which he plundered 10 Bundesliga goals and created a further five. A set-piece specialist and creator supreme, Hazard adds a sprinkling of star dust to the Gladbach forward line.
Watch: All of Hazard's goals and assists in 2017/18!
Gladbach never really got off the ground in 2017/18. A derby win against Cologne on the opening day was soon overshadowed by a 6-1 defeat at Borussia Dortmund and a 5-1 home hammering by Bayer Leverkusen. Although Hecking's troops became the first side to beat Bayern under Jupp Heynckes – emerging 2-1 winners on home turf – the Foals sat sixth at the winter break, having also exited the DFB Cup without a whimper against Leverkusen.
The second half of the season went from bad to worse – Gladbach only won five games, all against sides who finished below them, and ended up in a below-par ninth place. The Foals particularly struggled away from home, but one caveat was the injury list: at one point, the number of first team players in the treatment room was into double digits.
The Borussia Park replaced the storied, much-loved and utterly outdated Bökelberg Stadium in 2004, when Borussia competitively inaugurated their new home with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Borussia Dortmund. Although the arena has a maximum capacity of 59,724 spectators, there is a limit of 54,010 for the Bundesliga due to a redesign of the South Stand.
In any case, the Borussia Park is a thoroughly modern stadium, with top-class views from all angles and an impressive green-white-black lighting system. The facilities inside are as swish as anywhere in Germany, while standing tickets start as cheaply as €14.50. While all of that makes it well worth a visit, the centrepiece is the noise: Gladbach fans are as passionate as any in the land, with the famed Nordkurve (North Stand) whipping up a quite a din every other week.
Known commonly as Gladbach since its foundation in the 14th century, the city has long served as a crossing point between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. That long, imperial history means plenty of stately buildings: the Dyck Castle (Schloss Dyck) and Rheydt Castle (Schloss Rheydt) in particular are famed for their beautiful gardens.
Elsewhere, art lovers will enjoy perusing the collections of the Abteiberg Museum in the centre of town (before stopping for a coffee in the picturesque Alter Markt), while animal lovers are encouraged to pay the Odenkirchen Zoo (boasting bisons and racoons aplenty) a visit. The city also hosts the Rheindahlen Military Complex, former home to the British Armed Forces in Germany, although we're not sure we should recommend that you get too close. Maybe visit the famed Water Tower (Wasserturm) instead.
Mönchengladbach does have an airport, but it is used primarily for local aviation and flying lessons. Dusseldorf and Cologne-Bonn airport are the two major hubs in the region with daily flights across Europe and to North America, and are within an hour of Mönchengladbach by train. The city is also well serviced by two main stations (Mönchengladbach HBF and Rheydt HBF), with regular trains from Cologne, Dusseldorf and Dortmund. For a greater variety of flights from North America, Frankfurt airport is Germany's busiest and just over two hours away from Mönchengladbach thanks to frequent, direct high-speed train services.
Getting to the Borussia Park
Located to the west of the city, the Borussia Park complex houses the stadium, training grounds and administrative buildings. The easiest way to get to the Borussia Park on a Bundesliga Matchday is via shuttle bus: line 017 runs from Mönchengladbach HBF to the stadium in around 15 minutes. That service is well signposted inside the station and available from three hours before kick-off until two hours after full-time. From Rheydt HBF, there's a shuttle bus that departs for the Borussia Park every five minutes – you can pick that up from opposite platform four on a Bundesliga Matchday.
If you're driving to the Borussia Park, enter Am Nordpark 400 into your sat-nav; there are over 10,000 parking places in the vicinity of the stadium (costing €5 per car per day), but there is no pick-up or drop-off point. In that instance, your best bet is to drop your guests at one of the main stations (Mönchengladbach HBF or Rheydt HBF) for the shuttle bus. There is also space for 1,000 bicycles (this is Germany, after all), and a taxi rank at the Aachener Straße/Am Nordpark entrance.
Tickets can still be bought via the official club website HERE.
Can’t make it? Watch here:
If you can’t make it to the stadium, Bundesliga matches are broadcast around the world. FOX Sports and Univision provide coverage in the United States, while BT Sports are the exclusive broadcaster in the United Kingdom. In Germany, Sky Sports show the majority of matches, with Eurosport hosting one match per week.
Buy the kit
You can get your own Gladbach jersey from the official club shop.