Borussia Mönchengladbach is facing the most important game of the Champions League season so far – as if made for Christoph Kramer.
The duels with Inter Milan and Real Madrid may radiate more glamor and fulfill the childhood dreams of the players who Wednesday’s game against Shakhtar Donetsk (6:55 p.m.) is trend-setting. With another win three weeks after the 6-0 gala in Ukraine, wintering in Europe would be almost certain and the first knockout round would be within reach.
Before this decisive game, coach Marco strengthens Rose demonstrates his leader, who will be particularly important. “In the last few weeks, Christoph Kramer has shown, especially in the Champions League, why he became world champion,” said Rose. “How he led the team at an international level and how he got his way into it was extraordinary.”
The 29-year-old Kramer was already popular alongside the up-and-coming Denis Zakaria (24) and Florian Neuhaus (23) as a discontinued model. But Rose recognized his importance as a leading player off the pitch. The contract with the midfielder was renewed a year ago until 2023 – fortunately for Borussia, where Kramer has become indispensable since Zakaria’s serious injury eight months ago. And that despite the gradual recovery of Zakaria, who played against Augsburg (1: 1) for the first time on Saturday.
Gladbach expected “a completely different Donetsk”
Has been for weeks Kramer in impressive form, is leader on and role model next to the field with outstanding duel and pass values. “We’re going to experience a completely different Donetsk here at Borussia-Park than we did in the 6-0 win in Kiev. Nobody should expect three points without further ado, it will be an enormous amount of work,” warned Kramer in the “Rheinische Post” >
Something like in the Europa League last year, when a draw against Basaksehir from Turkey would have been enough for the then Bundesliga leaders to advance, but Borussia lost 2-1, but this year, given the do not repeat the excellent starting position. On this point, Rose demands a further development of his leader in group B, who is still undefeated in the premier class.
The chance of continuous further development of the club in the premier class is great. In 2015, Gladbach was eliminated from the group bottom after the preliminary round, followed by third place in the group in 2016 and at least wintering as a Europa League participant. This time it could go to the Champions League round of 16. “That is the new challenge that lies ahead now. But we want to get ahead and we have the quality for it,” said Kramer, who should be particularly motivated on Wednesday after the “goal theft” in Kiev.
In his 35th European Cup match, the 2014 world champion actually scored his first international goal at 6-0, making it 2-0. The deflected shot was counted as an own goal. “I was so proud when my name was on the scoreboard and so sad when it was changed,” said Kramer afterwards. Goal scorers of four of Gladbach’s six goals in Kiev are not included on Wednesday: The triple scorer from the first leg, Alassane Pléa, and Ramy Bensebaini are in quarantine after positive corona tests. But when key players fail, Kramer particularly likes to come into focus.