Gladbach manager Roland Virkus on derby debacle and ultra protest

Borussia after the derby collapse
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Virkus praises ‘discussion culture’ and admonishes team

It was his first derby as a coach, but by no means his first as Borussia. Roland Virkus tells how he experienced the discussion with the fans after the 3-1 draw against Cologne and tries to explain the poor performance. He does not mention coach Adi Hütter.

Sporting director Roland Virkus had little time for interviews after Saturday’s derby defeat as shortly after the final whistle, ground works were announced outside the stadium forecourt. A hundred fans, mostly Ultras, had gathered there and asked to speak. “A defeat in a derby is always a shitty story. We all had high expectations. Then the stadium filled up again after so long, the atmosphere was great. The fans were expecting a successful game. If it’s 3-0 at halftime, I can understand that puts a lot of pressure on the atmosphere,” Virkus told borussia.de the next day.

It may have been his first derby as a coach, but as a native of Mönchengladbach, the 55-year-old had no reason to feel the importance of this duel. During the week, so Virkus, he felt in the meetings how much the players had planned. “We wanted to attack the derby aggressively and of course win. The problem with this team, however, is that they can be too easily strayed from the planned route at the moment if something unforeseen happens – whether it’s a change of opponent or, like yesterday, from an early 0-1 after five minutes.” said Virkus. The team is unable to follow his plan: “Unfortunately, it has been with us all season, so we have to be much more resistant.”

What is striking: In his press release, the sporting director does not say a word about coach Adi Hütter, his analysis focuses on the players and their omissions. “Everyone contributed to the fact that we lost the game, it’s not just one foul, two or three. It’s often the so-called little things that add up. A sprint started too late, a space not busy as discussed – that’s in addition to goals conceded,” he said. “It’s not that the boys don’t want to. But the thing is, yesterday they were mentally unable to do the things they intended to do after falling behind at the start.

During derby week, Virkus first protested in the ‘kicker’ interview and then in the press conference that he wanted to start the new season with Hütter. An open discussion at the end is “a completely normal process”. Hütter himself said he “didn’t want to open a topic where there was no topic”, and explained that he didn’t appreciate the new challenges surrounding Borussia’s upheaval.

For the remaining games, Virkus explicitly takes professionals into account. “Anyone who thinks the season is over and lets it slide is making a big mistake,” he said. “We still have four games and the absolute obligation to play them as positively as possible. That’s clear, and I expect that from every player. You mustn’t let go and you have to approach game after game in a way that take something with us.” With 37 points after 30 match days and in eleventh place, Borussia may be out of the woods, but are sinking into the no man’s land of the table.

Virkus wanted to take at least one positive point from Saturday’s events: it was peaceful after the final whistle, despite the overheated atmosphere, which the supporters of the north curve had already underlined with “We are fed up” and “Hutter out”. ‘ calls. ‘Maybe it looked a little menacing as this crowd of people stood in front of the stairs. And elsewhere, situations like this could escalate,” says Virkus. “But I’m happy that at Borussia we cultivate a culture of discussion, that we can enter into dialogue with each other. In the end, these fans just wanted explanations. Our fans want to see that we do everything as we can to succeed on the pitch.” However, he did not mention that fans had broken through barriers to access the space between the stadium and the hotel complex, and three security guards were there injured in the process.

The team and coach Hütter have another chance to redeem themselves next Saturday (3:30 p.m.) at SC Freiburg.

Here is the photo gallery: Ultras take on Borussia after derby debacle

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