Analysis: Beating Man City a must for Moenchengladbach

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Tensions at Borussia Moenchengladbach are increasing ahead of the Champions League last-16 first leg against Manchester City in Budapest this Wednesday.

Disappointing defeats against lowly arch-rival Cologne and Mainz have triggered a crisis as well as fan protests after head coach Marco Rose's decision to leave after only two years.

The current downward trend is endangering the club's goal of qualifying for international football. Failure to do so would lead to financial disadvantages.

Managing director Max Eberl faces a crucial stress test in the upcoming weeks that include the vital matches against the Premier League leaders, the league clash with RB Leipzig, and the cup game against Dortmund.

The upcoming games will determine whether Eberl can continue with a coach that will be leaving for league rivals Dortmund at the end of the season.

"If there is someone to blame, it is me as I accepted the exit-clause for the coach. Otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to sign him two years ago," said Eberl when rejecting fan demands to fire Rose.

The reported exit-clause includes a 5-million fee from Dortmund.

Fans, meanwhile, are not calming down even though Eberl has highlighted the development Moenchengladbach has made under Rose.

Eberl and several of the team's leading players denied they were in dispute with Rose but at the same time concluded only success will ease tension.

Failing to qualify for continental competitions will increase the pressure to sell some of the best players, such as the strikers Marcus Thuram, Alassane Plea, and midfielders Denis Zakaria and Florian Neuhaus.

Eberl's announcement on finding a new coach couldn't calm fans' anger. Rumors talk about Florian Kohfeldt (Bremen), Adi Huetter (Frankfurt), Jesse Marsh (Salzburg), Gerardo (Bern), and Erik ten Hag (Ajax) as possible successors.

Rose has promised not to take one of Moenchengladbach's players to Dortmund but still has been accused by supporters of betraying the club's values.

The coach's decision might be understandable as Dortmund provides the next step for the ambitious coach. After some dark years, the former Salzburg manager has managed to lead Gladbach back to the Champions League.

Fans saw the chance for a permanent return of the five-time league champion and two-time UEFA (Euro League) winner to the top echelon of European football. They now fear progress will come to a halt.

Rose promised to concentrate fully on his job and not gather information from his friend Juergen Klopp, whose Liverpool side recently played against the Citizens. Klopp is said to have encouraged Dortmund to sign his former Mainz player.

Rose said the Champions League duel against Pep Guardiola is a welcome chance to set a mark "as we have been doing a good job on the international stage."

The Borussia coach said the Champions League is triggering new ambitions as his team is comfortable with its underdog role. "We know City doesn't like not having the ball. We can hurt them if we get some passion into our game. We are ready to spring a surprise." Enditem

[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]