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Borussia VfL Mönchengladbach

Borussia Verein für Leibesübungen 1900 e. V. Mönchengladbach is a German football club from Mönchengladbach near the Swiss border in North Rhine Westphalia.

It is one of the most decorated clubs of Germany and features in the 1.Bundesliga. It has won 5 league-titles, 3 DFB-Pokals and 2 UEFA Cups.

As of 2021, Borussia M’gladbach has 93,000 official members, making it the 5th largest club in the country. It has played its home-games at Borussia-Park since 2004, having previously used the Bökelbergstadion for 85 years. The chief rivals of the club are 1. FC Köln, BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund, TuS Fortuna Düsseldorf and Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

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History

In November 1899, 13 youngsters of the city left their sports association, TC Germania Gladbach to form a new club that focussed specifically on association football. The word Borussia was chosen as Mönchengladbach was among the western provinces awarded to the Kingdom of Prussia as part of the 1815 Congress of Vienna.

The Early Decades

For the 1906/07 season, the club featured in the B-Klasse but lost out in the playoffs for promotion. After losing the opening fixture of the 1908/09 season, Borussia M’gladabch stayed unbeaten for the rest of the campaign and picked up the league-title and gained promotion to the A- Klasse in the local 1st division.

By this time the club had grown in popularity and had gathered over 100 members. But the mounting number of teams in the league and increasing number of matches took a toll on the mostly amateur squad. Borussia struggled in its maiden season in the top-tier but was able to narrowly survive relegation.

Borussia won the A-Klasse title in 1911/12, thereby qualifying for promotion to Verbandsliga and also the West German Championship. It defeated VfJuB Düren 4-2 before winning 5-0 against VfB 1900 Gießen. However it lost 2-4 to Cologne BC 01 in the final of the West German championship.

Following the end of World War I, Borussia joined in with another local club Turnverein Germania 1899 to become 1889 VfTuR M’Gladbach. It beat Kölner BC 3–1 to win the West German championship final in 1921/22. Yet the merger soon fell apart and the club has since been known as Borussia VfL 1900 e.V. M’Gladbach.

After the end of World War II, Borussia gained promotion to the Landesliga Niederrhein in 1948/49, the regional 2nd division. It earned an immediate promotion to the Oberliga West in the 1st division but was relegated on its maiden season in 1950/51. The club went up and down the top two tiers a couple of times in the next 10 years.

Promotion to Bundesliga

At the end of the 1962/63 season, Borussia M’gladbach finished in 13th position and was unable to make the cut for a nationwide league called the Bundesliga that would be the new top-division. Therefore it was among the numerous clubs that had drop down to the 2nd tier and M’gladbach was cast into the Regionalliga West.

In 1964/65, Hennes Weisweiler became the manager and signed Jupp Heynckes and Bernd Rupp to develop the youngest squad in the 2nd division which was well-known for its carefree style of play. The team easily won the Regionalliga West in 1965/66 and later earned promotion to the top-tier through the playoffs.

Borussia started the Bundesliga journey in 1965/66 with a 1-1 draw away at Borussia VfB Neunkirchen. Its maiden win came in its first home-game with a 5-0 victory over SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin. But the team still lacked consistency and it ended the first Bundesliga campaign in 13th spot.

The following campaign was much more successful and it finished the season in 8th position including an 11-0 home-win over FC Schalke 04. Despite selling its star-players Heynckes and Rupp, M’gladbach climbed up to 3rd spot in the next season. In 1968/69, it again ended in 3rd place while Bayern München picked up its 1st Bundesliga title.

The Golden Period

In the 1969/70 season, M’Gladbach bagged its first league-win over Bayern München before registering a 5-1 win against Alemannia Aachen on 31st October 1969 to move up to the top of the Bundesliga for the first time. A victory over Hamburger SV on Matchday 33 confirmed Borussia M’gladbach as Bundesliga champions for the first time.

In 1970/71, the team was involved in a bizarre home-fixture with SV Werder Bremen which has since been known as ‘post break from Bökelberg’. While M’gladbach lost the points by a DFB court ruling, it still won the league-title with a final-day victory over Eintracht Frankfurt to become the first club to successfully defend the Bundesliga title.

Borussia M’gladbach was unable to challenge for the league-title in the next couple of seasons but reached the 1972/73 UEFA Cup final which was lost 2-3 on aggregate to Liverpool FC. In 1973/74, M’gladbach finished as runners-up in the Bundesliga while Jupp Heynckes scored 30 goals, becoming the player in the league to reach that mark.

In the subsequent 1974/75 campaign, Borussia M’gladbach climbed to the top of the league-table and stayed in front until the end to win its 3rd Bundesliga. The club also earned its first European honour trophy by beating Twente Enschede 5-1 on aggregate in the final of the UEFA Cup.

For the 1975/76 season, Hennes Weisweiler ended his 11 year spell at the club and was replaced by Udo Lattek from rivals Bayern München. Under his leadership, Borussia had changed its flashy style to a more pragmatic one. After taking top-spot in round 12, the club held on to its lead to successfully defend its league-title.

Udo Lattek kept a largely unchanged side for 1976/77 and in spite of a more challenging season, M’gladbach was able to clinch its Bundesliga title in a row. It was the club’s 5th and so far its final league-crown. Borussia also reached the final of the European Cup that year but lost 1-3 to Liverpool at Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

In the following 1977/78 season, M’gladbach finished tied with 1.FC Köln at the top of the Bundesliga but lost its title on goal-difference. The team dropped down to 10th spot in 1978/79 although it managed to win the UEFA Cup for a 2nd time after defeating Red Star Belgrade 2-1 on aggregate in the final.

Stagnation & Relegation

At the end of the 1979/80 season Borussia moved up to 7th position in the Bundesliga table. The club reached the final of the UEFA Cup once again but relinquished the title to Eintracht Frankfurt after losing the final on away-goals. Udo Lattek vacated his spot as the manager and Jupp Heynckes was named as his replacement.

In the 1980’s, Borussia M’gladbach were no longer the powerhouse it was in the earlier decade, being unable to compete financially with FC Bayern.

Due to its modest revenue generated from the Bökelsbergstadion, it was repeatedly forced to sell off its top players although it managed to stay in the top-third for much of this period.

The 1983/84 season ended in a unique 3-way tie at the top of the Bundesliga table but Borussia M’gladbach could only get 3rd position due to the tie-breaker of goal-difference. It secured a couple of 4th place finishes in the next couple of years before taking 3rd spot once again in 1986/87 after which Jupp Heynckes left the club.

Despite staying in the top-half for the next two seasons Borussia M’gladbach finished only 1 point above the drop-zone in the 1989/90 season. By the mid 90’s Borussia had become a mid-table team and the 1997/98 season saw the club finish on 15th spot yet again, this time avoiding the drop only on goal-difference.

However in the following 1998/99 season, Borussia M’gladbach ended the campaign in 18th position and was relegated out of the Bundesliga for the very first time.

The club would spend the next 2 seasons in the 2nd division before earning promotion to the top-tier by finishing as 2.Bundesliga runners-up in 20but was unable to break into the top-half of the Bundesliga table.

The club narrowly escaped relegation in 2004/05 finishing 1 point above the bottom-3 in 15th position. But in 2006/07, Borussia was relegated once again after ending the season in 18th spot.

Resurgence in the Present Era

Borussia returned to the top-tier after a one-year absence by winning the 2.Bundesliga in 2007/08. The team stayed in the bottom-half for the next few years and even had to get past VfL Bochum in the relegation-playoff to stay in 1.Bundesliga but the team did reach the last-16 of the DFB-Pokal for the first time in 5 years.

Therefore it was a major surprise when Borussia M’gladbach finished the 2011/12 1.Bundesliga season in 4th position, its best finish in more than a decade. But the club could not reach the group-stage of the UEFA Champions League and also sold off Marco Reus, who was voted as Player of the Season.

Borussia ended outside the top-4 for the next couple of seasons before taking 3rd place in 2014/15, its best 1.Bundesliga finish in recent times. The club went on to finish in the top-half for the next 5 years and earned 4th place finishes during the 2015/16 and the 2019/20 league-campaigns.

The 2021/22 season was the poorest one in recent times with Borussia dropping out of the top-half after a dreadful spell midway through the campaign. With the club’s tendency to rapidly fire coaches, Adi Hütter was dismissed after just one year at the helm while Daniel Farke was announced as the current manager.

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