Borussia Monchengladbach hold crisis talks before Champions League debut
Borussia Monchengladbach players have held crisis talks as they head into their Champions League debut against Sevilla on Tuesday sitting bottom of the Bundesliga.
Gladbach were the best Bundesliga team in the second half of the 2014-2015 season, winning 39 points and conceding only 10 goals after the winter break to finish third behind champions Bayern Munich and runners-up Wolfsburg.
That run saw Lucien Favre's side qualify for the Champions League group stages for the first time in their history, but their poor Bundesliga form is overshadowing their midweek trip to Europa League winners Sevilla.
During the summer, Germany internationals Max Kruse and Christoph Kramer left the club. Though the Foals brought in Bayer Leverkusen attacker Josip Drmic as well as Hannover captain Lars Stindl as replacements for their outgoing stars, they have so far been unable to fill the void.
The Foals suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund in the first match of the season, and in the three games that followed have seen losses against Mainz, Werder Bremen and Hamburg to leave them bottom of the table.
Favre's side have only scored only two goals and conceded 11, three of them coming in Friday's shock 3-0 home defeat to last season's relegation strugglers Hamburg.
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During that defeat, veteran captain Martin Stranzl -- returning from a long injury layoff -- suffered a fractured eye socket and has been ruled out for up to eight weeks.
On Saturday, the players met without coach Favre or sporting executive Max Eberl to discuss the crisis ahead of their Champions League bow.
"It was important to discuss all relevant things without the coach and the sporting director," Switzerland international Granit Xhaka told Bild.
He, however, was suspended against Hamburg and will also miss the Sevilla trip following his red card against the Spanish side in the Europa League last season.
"It was a good talk, we did not have a go at each other. But we clearly addressed that we need to help each other on the pitch again. Individual quality doesn't decides games for us, but the whole team," Xhaka said, and vowed that they have to "work their a---- off" from now on.
"We want to play a good match at Sevilla, and take positive things back home," veteran defender Roel Brouwers told Rheinische Post on Monday morning. "Of course we've had a bad start, but the Champions League remains something special for us."
Fourteen German clubs started a Bundesliga season with four consecutive defeats before Gladbach -- along with Stuttgart -- matched the record this season. Only five of those teams were relegated at the end of their respective seasons, though none ended in the top half of the standings.
Favre will be without Stranzl, Xhaka, Fabian Johnson, Patrick Herrmann and Alvaro Dominguez at Sevilla, but the coach told kicker: "We now need to find solutions, but it will get difficult. There will not be a miracle this season."