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Gladbach boss confident that club are headed for a new era of glory

Borussia Mönchengladbach have had a rough time of it on the road in 2016. However, their win in Glasgow showed that in the bigger picture, the club are on their way to better things.

Going into Wednesday's game, Borussia Mönchengladbach were in ninth position in the Bundesliga standings with just 11 points and bottom of Champions League Group 0 with a grand total of zero points. There was, on paper, very little to celebrate for the vibrant, friendly hoard of Foals fans who descended upon downtown Glasgow with the very clear intent of enjoying every second of their trip.

A few hours later, Borussia Mönchengladbach had secured a 2-0 win over Celtic - the Bundesliga club's first away win in Europe's premier club competition in 39 years. This should mean that Foals supporters, who have been vocal about their concerns about the fact that the club have won just three of 15 away games in 2016, will be a little more willing to cut head coach Andre Schubert some slack.

For many Gladbach fans the idea of playing in Europe's top competitions is still very much a novelty. Many of them are simply too young to remember the club's golden years of the 1970s, and only know the Foals as a team who, not that long ago, were struggling against the threat of relegation from the Bundesliga.

Through thin - and thick

Nobody knows this better than Max Eberl. The club's sporting director, who played for Gladbach during at a time when the club fluctuated between the Bundesliga and the second division, has played a huge part in making the club one of the most successful in the modern landscape of German football.

For him and many supporters of a similar age, competing - and winning games - in the Champions League is much more than a momentary high, it is a clear sign that the club are entering a new age of prosperity.

"It's like a dream," Eberl told DW as he stood outside Celtic Park, shortly after watching his side pick up all three points on a cold night in Glasgow.

 "I've been at Mönchengladbach for 20 years - as a player, in the youth academy and now as the sporting director, and we played through relegation, the second division and then struggled to stay in the Bundesliga.

"That was how things were for much of my time at Gladbach. But the last five years have been like a fairytale. We are very proud to be able to write this new chapter in the history of Gladbach."

One key decision made by Eberl in early 2011 had a major part in turning things around for the club. After the sporting director appointed Lucien Favre as head coach, the Foals quickly went from a side destined to be involved in the relegation battle, to a club competing in the Europa League and then qualifying for the Champions League.

Although Favre is now gone, Schubert has kept the club on their upward trajectory, leading them to a fourth-place finish in the Bundesliga last season. An this is the first time the club have ever enjoyed back-to-back seasons in the Champions League, since it replaced the European Cup in 1992.

High expectations

"In Germany there are high expectations for Mönchengladbach, and this is something that we have to deal with," admitted Eberl when asked about the criticism directed at Schubert and his side for not displaying the same defensive fortitude this season that Favre's teams rarely lacked. "In every game there are only two directions: good or bad," he said.

UEFA Champions League | Celtic FC vs VfL Borussia Moenchengladbach - Andre Hahn (Getty Images/M. Runnacles)

Andre Hahn got the second of Mönchengladbach's two goals in Glasgow on Wednesday night

"We know that we have a chance if we play football. In the past few years, we have known how to play football. The other side of things, defending, has been a bit of a problem, particularly in away games. Tonight we did a great job defensively."

Gladbach played Celtic off the park in Glasgow, despite missing key players Thorgan Hazard, Raffael, Fabian Johnson and Andreas Christensen, in what was undoubtedly one of the best performances from Schubert's team this season.

Asked how important taking all three points was to Gladbach's aspirations of extending their European adventure beyond the group stage, Eberl conceded that it was "very important," before breathing a sigh of relief. "If we had lost tonight we would have had a big problem," he added.

Yet they didn't. And against a backdrop of almost 3,000 feverish Gladbach fans in one of Europe's most famous stadiums, the team looked more than comfortable in the Champions League.

Ebert laughed when asked if Gladbach could not only secure third place with a win over Celtic at Borussia Park in two week's time but also sneak in to second place if they could get something from Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side when they travel to Germany.

Professional die-hard

"The next game at home against Celtic is very important," he said. "We have to really fight in that game to ensure third place in the group and then if in the end we are in a position to battle for second that will be great. But right now it's all about Celtic."

These may be the words of a professional businessman used to dealing with multi-million-euro transfers and contract signings on a weekly basis. However, he is also is a die-hard Gladbach fan, who can't help but marvel at what the current club has already become and has the potential to develop into.

"We were a famous club in the past," Eberl said with a broad smile. "Now we have to write our own, new story."

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