Football Features

Where are they now? The Gladbach side that went from a relegation play-off to the Champions League

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:01, 23 February 2021

Borussia Mönchengladbach were staring down the barrel when they hired Lucien Favre in February 2011.

The five-time Bundesliga champions were rock-bottom and seven points adrift of safety. Relegation from Germany’s top division, which they last suffered in 2007, was a possibility.

However, six wins from the club’s remaining 12 matches dragged them into the relegation play-offs and by outlasting VfL Bochum across two legs, Favre maintained Gladbach’s top-flight status.

No one, though, could have imagined what followed. Gladbach entered the 2011/12 season with minimal buzz considering everything that happened but against everyone’s initial expectations they went from hovering over the abyss to Champions League qualification.

This brave new world ushered in an exciting era at Borussia-Park. So, with that being said, let’s take a look back to see where the members of that Gladbach team are now.

GK: Marc-André ter Stegen

Age: 28

Current Club: Barcelona

Gladbach appearances: 127

A graduate of Gladbach’s academy system Marc-André ter Stegen broke through in that difficult 2010/11 campaign keeping three clean sheets across six Bundesliga outings. He’d be the undisputed first choice the following season, playing all 34 matches, which proved to be his finest hour with only Manuel Neuer (17) keeping more clean sheets (15).

Ter Stegen, whose stock continued to rise, became a wanted man and ultimately left for Barcelona in 2014 where the Germany international continues to ply his trade and has won four league titles as well as one Champions League crown so far.

RB: Tony Jantschke

Age: 30

Current Club: Gladbach

Gladbach appearances: 283

A one-club man, Tony Jantschke emerged during the 2008/09 season but really became a first-team mainstay in their incredible 2011/12 campaign. It would remain that way until recent years where he’s taken on a bit-part role. 

CB: Martin Stranzl

Age: 40

Current Club: Retired

Gladbach appearances: 145

Gladbach would prove to be Martin Stranzl’s final club in a near two-decade career. Having started at 1860 Munich he’d represent Stuttgart and Spartak Moscow before joining Die Fohlen and helping them stave off relegation. The former Austria international remained in North Rhine-Westphalia until hanging up his boots just before the 2016/17 season got underway.

CB: Dante

Age: 37

Current Club: Nice

Gladbach appearances: 103

Before achieving prominent status that earned him a national team call-up, Brazilian centre-back Dante was making his name at Gladbach. Such elegant and powerful showing convinced German powerhouse Bayern Munich to snap him up. The native of Salvador enjoyed four seasons there where he lifted three Bundesliga trophies, as well as the 2013 Champions League title. Since then he’s turned out for Wolfsburg and Nice, where you can find him today.

LB: Filip Daems

Age: 42

Current Club: Retired

Gladbach appearances: 232

Favre’s voice on the pitch. Filip Daems, who had been on Gladbach’s book since 2005, captained with great distinction and could often be counted on with attacking returns. He’d leave in 2015 to join Westerlo in his native Belgium before calling time on a solid career which saw him wear the colours of Lierse and Gençlerbirliği before moving to Germany.

RM: Patrick Herrmann

Age: 30

Current Club: Gladbach

Gladbach appearances: 355

Another who graduated from Gladbach’s youth academy, Patrick Herrmann remains a presence in the club’s first team but the days of him being relentless in front of goal seem to be a distant memory. In his last 129 league appearances — spanning six seasons — he’s posted only 13 goals. He managed 29 in the 125 preceding games across four seasons. That being said, Herrmann’s experience is invaluable to this current Gladbach outfit.

CM: Håvard Nordtveit

Age: 30

Current Club: Hoffenheim

Gladbach appearances: 187

Seemingly tipped for big things when swapping boyhood club Haugesund for Arsenal in 2007 but a stellar career under Arsene Wenger never materialised and instead, Håvard Nordtveit became somewhat of a journeyman. Gladbach ultimately became home and he enjoyed six solid seasons before returning to England with West Ham but the Premier League never really worked out — which included a brief loan spell at Fulham. These days you can see Nordtveit turning out for Hoffenheim.

CM: Roman Neustädter

Age: 33

Current Club: Dynamo Moscow

Gladbach appearances: 68

An important component in midfield Roman Neustädter’s final act in a Gladbach jersey was helping them secure Champions League qualification. The former Mainz 05 stalwart opted for Schalke 04 post-Gladbach, where he became a crowd favourite. His time in Gelsenkirchen came to an end after four seasons and the 13-time Russian international joined Fenerbahçe, before moving onto Dynamo Moscow, where he remains.

LM: Juan Arango

Age: 40

Current Club: Retired

Gladbach appearances: 175

The much-travelled Venezuelan midfielder Juan Arango made Gladbach his second European home after enjoying five seasons at Mallorca and to say he settled in, well, is an understatement. Arango immediately commanded a first team role and during their stellar 2011/12 campaign he registered six goals across 34 league appearances. Once leaving Germany he ended up in Tijuana before two spells at the newly-reformed New York Cosmos.

SS: Marco Reus

Age: 31

Current Club: Borussia Dortmund

Gladbach appearances: 109

Unquestionably the jewel in Gladbach’s crown. Marco Reus had long threatened to break out and the 2011/12 season was his true rise to prominence. The dynamic German forward registered 12 assists and scored 18 goals across 32 appearances — which remains his most prolific campaign to date. This caught the attention of former club Borussia Dortmund, who parted with £14.5m for his signature.

Now a piece of the Westfalenstadion furniture — 133 goals and 89 assist in 298 matches to date — Reus, who now skippers the side, has often battled with injuries these past few years, subsequently denying him from reaching his true potential.

CF: Mike Hanke

Age: 37

Current Club: Wiescherhöfen

Gladbach appearances: 95

Mike Hanke turned professional in 2001 when he came through the ranks at Schalke 04. He’d spend a few years representing Die Königsblauen before Wolfsburg came knocking. From there Hanke joined Hannover 96 where Gladbach noticed his skills.

Not exactly the most prolific marksman, the Hamm-born striker had other positive traits which Favre unleashed during that spectacular 2011/12 campaign. Since leaving, the 12-time Germany international has called Freiburg and Guizhou Renhe home. Hanke recently enjoyed a sabbatical and is now turning out for Wiescherhöfen.

Other notable players: Roel Brouwers (Retired), Thorben Marx (Retired), Raúl Bobadilla (Argentinos Juniors), Igor de Camargo (Mechelen), Joshua King (Everton).