Ten claims to fame: Borussia Mönchengladbach

A famous, if long, name in the 1970s, Borussia Mönchengladbach have returned to prominence and we look at just some of the Foals' many claims to fame.

Günter Netzer lifts the trophy after Borussia Mönchengladbach's 1969/70 German title success
Günter Netzer lifts the trophy after Borussia Mönchengladbach's 1969/70 German title success ©AFP

A famous, if long, name in the 1970s, Borussia Mönchengladbach have returned to prominence of late and we profile a side hoping to overturn a 1-0 deficit at Fiorentina in Thursday's UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg.

Formed: 1900
Nicknames: Die Fohlen (the Foals)

UEFA club competition honours
• UEFA Cup: 1975, 1979

Domestic honours
• League title: 5 (1970, 1971, 1975, 1976, 1977)
• German Cup: 3 (1960, 1973, 1995)

• The name 'Borussia' is Latin for Prussia and while the latter kingdom no longer exists as a separate entity, the club name is the equivalent of Bayern München: region first, city second.

• In the late 1950s and early 60s, Gladbach's outstanding player was forward Albert Brülls. In 1962, when the club were in financial trouble, a Modena offer of 250,000 Deutsche Mark seemed like a saving grace. There was only one problem: Helmut Grashoff, vice-chairman at the time, had to pick up the money in cash and endured some agonising hours on his return journey from Italy, fearing he would be deemed a bank robber if his luggage were searched.

• In the 1970s, under first Hennes Weisweiler and then Udo Lattek, Gladbach became famed for their youthful vigour and quick, dynamic, attack-minded football. 'Foals' (the name for a young horse) appeared a good fit as a nickname and it stuck, the idea having been introduced by a local journalist. Weisweiler and Lattek led Borussia to five Bundesliga titles, one German Cup and two UEFA Cups in that glorious decade.

Hennes Weisweiler
Hennes Weisweiler©Getty Images

• One of the key players during Weisweiler's reign was Günter Netzer, with whom he had a fall-out in 1973. The creative midfielder had outraged Foals fans by negotiating a move to Real Madrid early that calendar year, and in the final weeks of the season Weisweiler confined his captain to the bench – even for the German Cup final against Köln, which would be Netzer's last match for Gladbach.

When, at half-time, Weisweiler told Netzer he would be bringing him on, the schemer refused, laying the ground for one of the great fairy-tale endings in German football. In added time, Borussia's Christian Kulik sustained an injury and signalled to be taken off. Netzer removed his tracksuit top, walked past his coach and mumbled: "I am going to play now." Two touches later, he fired the ball into the top-left corner and Gladbach were cup winners.

• Gladbach's 12-0 pasting of Borussia Dortmund on the last day of the 1977/78 campaign still stands as the biggest Bundesliga win ever. Even more remarkable than the record itself were the circumstances. The Foals were level on points with leaders Köln on that decisive day of the season, but had a seemingly impossible ten-goal deficit to make up. They gave it everything, yet because Köln registered a simultaneous 5-0 victory over St. Pauli, Gladbach were edged out by three goals.

• Their domestic and European success faded in the 1980s. Borussia came close to lifting the German Cup in 1984, when Lothar Matthäus missed a penalty in the final against Bayern. That did not go down well with Foals fans, since Matthäus had already announced an impending summer move to the Munich outfit. There was more heartbreak a year later, Gladbach surrendering a 5-1 first-leg advantage over Real Madrid in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup, losing the return in Madrid 4-0.

• A gravel pit turned iconic stadium: the history of their infamous Bökelbergstadion is long and rich in anecdotes, not least the famous broken goal post in 1971 that led to a change from wooden to aluminium goal frames in football matches. Used as a tank production site during World War II, the stadium was updated several times down the decades, but it eventually became clear that a new facility was required for the demands of modern football. The Borussia-Park opened in 2004.

Lucien Favre helped turn Gladbach's fortunes
Lucien Favre helped turn Gladbach's fortunes©Getty Images

• In February 2011, Gladbach were rock bottom of the Bundesliga, seven points from safety. Coach Lucien Favre took over and pushed all the right buttons, his team making a late surge to reach the relegation play-off. Here Marco Reus got the crucial goal to keep them up in a tight two-legged contest with Bochum.

• In one of the more remarkable team developments the Bundesliga has witnessed, Gladbach qualified for the UEFA Champions League by finishing fourth the following season. But then key players Dante, Reus and Roman Neustädter left, forcing Favre to rebuild his side. "It is as if Barcelona lost Messi, Xavi and Piqué all at the same time," Favre said ruefully.

• Mönchengladbach are back in Europe this term, and – in keeping with the cheerful nature of their supporters – are happy to partake in friendly banter. When an Edinburgh pub gave up trying to spell the club's name ahead of their UEFA Champions League visit to Celtic, opting for "A German Team" instead, Gladbach reacted by changing their Twitter handle to exactly that.

Top European scorer
45: Jupp Heynckes (23 UEFA Cup)

Top scoring sides (goals per game) in UEFA club competition (must have played a minimum of 20 matches:
2.62: Stade de Reims (63 goals in 24 games)
2.27: Derby County (50 goals in 22 games)
2.16: Borussia Mönchengladbach (350 goals in 162 games)
2.11: Real Madrid (1079 goals in 511 games)
2.03: Eintracht Frankfurt (215 goals in 106 games)

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