BERLIN (AP) — New Leipzig coach Marco Rose can expect another hostile reaction on his return to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday.
Leipzig is accustomed to heated receptions wherever it visits, but Rose’s recent appointment by the club has added an extra element of spice to its Bundesliga clash in Mönchengladbach.
Gladbach supporters were already upset with Rose for taking advantage of a get-out clause in his contract to switch from their team to league rival Borussia Dortmund in 2021.
His move was announced mid-season in February, arguably costing Gladbach a European place as his team lost its next four games and ultimately finished eighth with three more losses before the end of that season.
Leipzig, which was founded by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull in 2009, is unpopular with rival fans due to the company financing its fast rise to the top levels of German soccer to boost its marketing appeal.
Gladbach supporters’ antipathy for the club has been further stoked by reports that former Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl has agreed to join Leipzig in January.
Eberl stunned Gladbach when he quit abruptly last January, ending an association of 23 years at the club. A tearful Eberl said he was exhausted, at the end of his strength, and he wanted to take a step back from soccer for his own health.
Leipzig has long been an admirer of Eberl’s work. Leipzig and Gladbach are reportedly in negotiations over a transfer fee, as Eberl’s Gladbach contract is still valid to 2026.
Gladbach supporters group FPMG published an open letter to Eberl this week in which it accused the 48-year-old former goalkeeper of a “drama” when he quit the club.
“We simply no longer believe that you were upstanding and honest with us at the end of your tenure at Borussia,” the fans said. “Giving this image of your fatigue of professional soccer to the public while haggling is – we can’t put it any other way – downright shoddy and a slap in the face for anyone who is actually affected by burnout.”
Leipzig has been struggling so far this season, leading to the firing of Rose’s predecessor, Domenico Tedesco, last week. Rose was appointed on Thursday and oversaw a 3-0 win over his former team Dortmund in his first game in charge on Saturday before a 2-0 loss at Real Madrid in the Champions League midweek.
Gladbach has been solid under new coach Daniel Farke, whose team has just one loss from its opening six Bundesliga games.
Gladbach midfielder Christoph Kramer says Leipzig will be strong following Rose’s signing.
“Playing against a team that has just changed coaches and is bringing excitement back is always more difficult than when they’re stuck in some sort of rut,” Kramer told the club website.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports