Steve Bruce leads his troops into the final leg of this short, but sweet, pre-season tour of Germany, next stop Borussia Monchengladbach this Saturday at Borussia Park. With a good work out under their belts from the midweek run out against Hannover 96 in Hameln, Bruce will be expecting a similarly tough test against further Bundesliga opposition.
In order to help you cool cats that are making the journey I have pulled out all the stops to give you the essential guide to Borussia Monchengladbach and the fair city the club represents thanks to some rather top guys, all will be revealed.
So, for all that and more, join me after the jump!
FC Borussia M. Gladbach, as they were originally known, were formed in 1900 but it would be a further sixty years until the side were able to pop to IKEA for a Trophy Cabinet to house the German Cup, which they held aloft for the first time in 1960. Upon the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963 Borussia's results over the decade past were not deemed good enough to grant them eligibility to be included in the inaugural season of the new top flight of German football
However Monchengladbach were soon to claw their way into the new league, along with some little known club by the name of Bayern Munich, both side's making their debut in the 1965/66 season. The two sides would go on to dominate the League over the next decade and beyond and fight between themselves for the title. Borussia's best spell undoubtedly came between 1975 and 1977 when the side, a dangerous blend of youth and attacking prowess, won the Bundesliga for three consecutive seasons, also missing out on the European Cup to a certain other side that weren't doing too bad either at the time - Liverpool. In fact since this tie the two clubs have forged a strong friendship which remains intact to this day.
Offering quite the contrast from the humble surroundings of the Weserbergland-Stadion which played host to SAFC's midweek clash, the ultra modern, huge stands of Borussia Park will host the action this weekend.
Stadion Im Borussia-Park had been Monchengladbach's home since 2004 when it replaced the aging Bokelberg Stadium. With a capacity of over 54,000, including over 16,000 made up terraces - I miss terraces... - the Eighty Five Million Euro arena is a superb setting for football featuring all of the mod-cons including; VIP Lounges, Merchandise Stores, Sports Bars but unfortunately not a Sausage Train in sight. Surely this should be a legal requirement of all German Stadia since St. Pauli brought it to the world!
OK, such is my love for you fine Roker Report followers out there I have stepped up the game for this preview, gone over and beyond the call of duty if you will! As it would appear I must still be in the bad books with the gaffer, Simon Walsh, over the "wasted" cash - as he called it - that went on the Roker Report Robin Reliant, which currently still impounded due to being towed earlier on the Road Trip, I was not granted any further expenses to get myself out to Monchengladbach to soak in the sights and culture for myself.
So instead I did the next best thing and spoke with the fine people from Borussia's Monchengladbach's Fan Liaison Team - back of the net!
Unfortunately the impressively named Thomas "The Tower" Weinmann was unavailable to answer our probing questions, but his good friend and colleague Jan Rouff was more than happy to help.
So upon Jan's recommendation, if you have time just to take in one part of Monchengladbach make sure that is the "Alter Markt", or Old Market to me and you. Jan assures me that there is a plethora of bars and restaurants that all make up, what he describes as, the most beautiful part of the City.
Whilst the Old Market is the place to be for a Stein or seven, Jan also has a trick up his sleeves for the travelling fans - "The FanHaus".
Unfortunately for us this has nothing to do with the 1990's kid's TV show featuring Pat Sharpe, his mullet and the delectable twins, Melanie and Martina... shame.
Instead, The Fan House, is a purpose made bar for the Borussia Monchengladbach faithful but Jan assures me that away fans are encouraged to join the home support and enjoy a friendly welcome and the great atmosphere the bar generates. Mention Jan and you'll also get a free beer. This may or may not be true. Worth a shot though?
PLAYED FOR BOTH
Again, maybe this section wasn't such a good idea... However, cast your mind back to the January Transfer Window and you may remember we were tentatively linked with USA International midfielder Michael Bradley who plies his trade with guess who? Yes, Borussia Monchengladbach. 5 points to you, clever clogs!