Borussia Mönchengladbach to play Young Boys for Champions League place

Borussia Mönchengladbach have learnt who they will face in the Play-Off round of the UEFA Champions League.

They will play Swiss side BSC Young Boys over two legs, with the first in Bern on 16 August before the return leg at Borussia-Park eight days later.

Following their Group Stage exit last season, it will be Gladbach’s second crack at the final qualifying stage, having last appeared at this point of the competition in 2012.

Second time lucky?

André Schubert’s men will be hoping to make more of an impact on Europe’s top competition this season, after finishing bottom of their group last year.

Defeats in their first two games against Sevilla and Manchester City damaged their chances, with two highly credible draws against Juventus not enough to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive.

They did beat Sevilla in the return game in Germany, thanks to a Lars Stindl double, but defeat to Manchester City in their final game meant they missed out on third and a crack at the Europa League.

Gladbach missed out on a Group Stage place back in 2012. | Photo: UEFA/Getty
Gladbach missed out on a Group Stage place back in 2012. | Photo: UEFA/Getty

Having finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, they will have go through the Play-Off round for a second time. Back in 2012, under Lucien Favre, they lost 4-3 on aggregate to Dynamo Kiev, despite a 2-1 home win in the second leg.

About the opponents

Adi Hütter’s side finished second to perennial Swiss Super League champions FC Basel last season, and reached the play-off round following a penalty shootout against Ukrainian group stages regulars Shakhtar Donetsk.

After losing the first leg 2-0, two quick fire goals from Yuya Kubo in the second half drew them level in the second leg, and after neither side could break the deadlock, the hosts won 4-2 on penalties.

Their last Champions League campaign was in 2015-16, when they were knocked out in the Third Qualifying Round by AS Monaco. They did reach the play-off round in the 2010-11 season, eventually losing 6-3 on aggregate to Tottenham Hotspur, despite a memorable 3-2 victory in the first leg.

The one player in their side that Bundesliga fans might remember is their captain Steve von Bergen, who made 68 league appearances for Hertha BSC between 2007 and 2010, leaving for Italy after their relegation from the top flight after the end of the 2009-10 season.

Youngs Boys overcame Shakhtar in the last round. | Photo: FC Shakhtar Donetsk
Youngs Boys overcame Shakhtar in the last round. | Photo: FC Shakhtar Donetsk

A tough draw

Reacting to the draw, Gladbach’s sporting director Max Eberl did not want to get carried away, despite admitting they would be most people’s favourites to go through.

“We have been given a tough draw,” he said. “For me a game against the Swiss runners-up is a duel between two evenly-balanced sides.”

It will be the first competitive meeting between the two sides. For the first leg at the Stade de Suisse, Gladbach will have to adapt to playing on a plastic surface. Other key players for the Swiss side include Yvon Mvogo, Miralem Sulejmani and Guillaume Hoarau.

They will be the favourites to go through, especially as Young Boys have never qualified for the group stage of the Champions League.