While Borussia Moenchengladbach has been largely terrible this season. They have no points after five matchdays and took a thumping loss in their initial Champions League group stage match in Seville, but nobody expected this. Trainer Lucien Favre surprised the German soccer world by quitting Sunday after a 1-0 derby loss to FC Koeln.
“I’ve come to the realization that the best decision in this situation is for me to step down,” he said. “I no longer feel like I’m the perfect coach for Borussia Moenchengladbach.”
His sentiment parallels Juergen Klopp’s decision to leave Borussia Dortmund last year, but for one huge caveat: Klopp stayed until season’s end eventually dragging his team from the
relegation zone back up into a European spot. Favre has left the Foals severely in the lurch.
He joined the club in 2011, as they faced a relegation playoff with Bochum and, over the last several years, has steadily brought them back to Bundesliga prominence, culminating in last
season’s third place finish. He did this despite losing his best players at the end of each season as they were cherry-picked for the rest of the league. Striker Max Kruse (Wolfsburg) and midfielder Christoph Kramer (Leverkusen) were the latest star transfers out in a list that includes Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen (2014), Dortmund’s
Marco Reus and then-Bayern Munich’s Dante (both 2013).
Of course, Klopp’s name was the first on everyone’s list to replace Favre, but he nixed the idea through his agent early Monday morning. Instead, the ex-Dortmund and Mainz coach will likely continue his sabbatical until a) Liverpool becomes available (the fervent wish of nearly all Kop supporters), or b) Bayern Munich comes calling after Pep Guardiola moves on.
As a Bayern supporter, I have a problem with this. Klopp was heavily derided in his last season in charge of BVB, so why ever would the storied club want to hire a trainer that was seen as inflexible a one-trick pony, as it were? I would take Favre over Klopp any day of the week. And I say that as a person who wanted Thomas Tuchel after Jupp Heynckes in 2013.
All of these things hinge on what Pep Guardiola will decide to do, made easier as Manchester United’s Louis van Gaal has decided to retire at the end of his current contract. Long has Guardiola been rumored to be joining Manchester City, but despite his having friends in the front office, it’s a move I have never been able to see him make. Clubs offered him more
money than Munich’s front office did, but the Catalan coach loves the massive historical institutions – dare I say the Barcelonas, the Bayern Munichs, the Manchester Uniteds of the
As things stand currently, Pep signs a Bayern extension while waiting for van Gaal to retire. Klopp likely goes to Liverpool when they finally figure out that Brendan Rodgers can’t quite cut the mustard. And Favre? He rejoins the ever-revolving door of Bundesliga coaches.
Not all are welcome
Last week I touched on the Bundesliga’s plight to help the masses of refugees that have made their way to Germany. It’s a situation that has grown uglier, and more contentious, not by changing opinions on the matter, but through BILD’s cynical usurpation of “Refugees welcome.”
The “Wir helfen” (we help) campaign by the German media giants placed patches on the sleeves of German soccer clubs on matchday five, but it was met with much consternation throughout the country, with famously left-leaning St. Pauli leading the charge, refusing to wear them.
BILD, in the past, has been less than kind to those seeking asylum in Germany, and St. Pauli called out the publication in a public statement:
“FC St. Pauli stands for a welcoming culture. And we act in a way that has set our club apart in the last few decades. We will help in
practical and direct ways where it is needed.”
The staunch refusal by the Hamburg-based club enraged BILD’s editor, Kai Diekmann, who promptly went to Twitter to voice his opinion: “No heart for refugees: Such a shame, St. Pauli!”
He would go on to battle with the club’s supporters over the course of the day, and into the next, even suggesting that they change their logo to local rival Hamburger SV.
The ensuing media “s–tstorm” (it’s now a German word, too) caused other clubs to voice their displeasure. SC Freiburg, FC Nuremberg, Union Berlin and VfL Bochum all either publicly
decried Diekmann’s treatment of St. Pauli or refused to wear the patches, as well.
In the end, BILD ran sorry photos on Twitter over the weekend, saying “BILD says ‘thank you’” when they could catch a good snap of a player in action with the patch prominently displayed.
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