Borussia Mönchengladbach 2020/21 season preview: Another top four finish on the horizon?
Another year of Champions League football will be the aim (Photo by Christian Verheyen via GettyImages)

This time last year, Marco Rose was just getting ready for his first season in charge of Borussia Mönchengladbach alongside a number of new signings, such as Marcus Thuram and Ramy Bensebaini. 

A year on and the Gladbach faithful will be looking for more of the same, as they qualified for the Champions League while playing some scintillating football along the way in Rose's first season in charge. No one will be complaining if a similar outcome materialises at the end of the 20/21 season. 

The main aim for the Foals will be Champions League qualification, and then to be competitive in the competition itself. The potential success will depend on the group stage draw on the 1st October. With the Borussia-Park outfit being placed in either Pot 3 or 4, they are likely to face tough opposition, but will hope the outcome of the draw is kinder to them than their last time in Europe's elite competition, as they had to face both Barcelona and Manchester City.

Pre-season recap

Going into the new campaign, Gladbach's pre-season has been majorly positive, with the only hitch being a 2-0 defeat to second tier outfit Greuther Furth

Wins against SC VerlMSV Duisburg, recently relegated SC Paderborn and a 4-0 thumping of Dutch side VVV Venlo should draw the fans' eyes away from the defeat to Furth. The goals from these games have been spread throughout the team, with Breel Embolo, new signing Hannes Wolf and right-back Stefan Lainer all scoring twice in the Foals' pre-season outings.

Transfer business

On the transfer front, there's been five notable transactions with potentially more to come. 

The two incomings are both Austrian and both on loan. 

Hannes Wolf - The diminutive playmaker struggled for game time and fitness last season at RB Leipzig after his £10m move from RB Salzburg. Wolf, still only 21, will hope that under his former manager, Marco Rose, he will be able to find the form that made Leipzig buy him in the first place. However, it will be tough for him to force himself into the starting XI after Jonas Hofmann's terrific form at the end of last season.

Valentino Lazaro - An extremely versatile player who returns to the Bundesliga after a year away. His success while playing for Hertha Berlin forced Italian giants Inter Milan to purchase Lazaro. However, due to a difficult first half of the season in Milan, he was loaned out to Newcastle United, where he became a bit-part player in helping the Magpies to a 13th placed finish. Like Wolf, Lazaro comes to Borussia-Park in hope of somewhat reviving his career after a stagnant season last time out.

As for the three outgoings, they're all players who are leaving the club at the end of their respective contracts.

Tobias Strobl - After four seasons at Gladbach, the holding midfielder has opted for pastures new, joining fellow Bundesliga side FC Augsburg. Strobl made 66 appearances in the black and white, unfortunately never finding the back of the net, but leaving with best wishes from supporters.

Fabian Johnson - The American made 106 appearances across six seasons at Borussia-Park. He had been a mainstay down the left flank for the Foals up until last season, when his game time significantly dropped. Johnson remains a free agent at the time of writing, but reports suggest he might be heading to his native USA to play in MLS.

Raffael - The star man of the Lucien Favre and Andre Schubert eras, now 35, the Brazilian leaves as a Borussia Mönchengladbach legend. 164 appearances, 57 goals, seven fantastic years is all that really needs to be said. His game time, like Johnson, was severely limited last season, and he is also still a free agent. There remains very few reports on who the attacking midfielder may join, with the only one being a move to relegated Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Key player

As for the current main man, there's a number of options. Yann Sommer, Matthias Ginter, Florian Neuhaus and Alassane Plea could all hold an argument for being Gladbach's star player. However, after his impressive debut season, Marcus Thuram takes the pick.

Son of World Cup winner, Lillian, Marcus Thuram is a completely different player, as he's explosive, powerful, and technically brilliant going forward. Born in Italy, the 23 year old signed for Gladbach last summer from French side EA Guingamp for a reported fee of 8 million euros. He was quick to repay that sum in his first season in Germany with 10 goals and eight assists. As a result, the Foals will be looking to him again for their forthcoming Bundesliga campaign.

Breakthrough talent

From one Frenchman to another, Mamadou Doucoure is another player to look out for this season. Signed from Paris Saint-Germain back in 2016 with high hopes, it took him four years to finally make his Borussia Mönchengladbach debut in a 4-1 win against Union Berlin back in May. This is down to the numerous amount of injuries that were holding him back across the past four seasons. He's now 22, and thankfully, is fully fit. The 20/21 season could finally be the breakout campaign that the centre back has been looking for.

Key dates

The key dates for Gladbach going into the new season will be as follows: (stars signal subject to change)

12/09 - Obernauland (A) - DFB Pokal first round

19/09 - Borussia Dortmund (A) - Start of the Bundesliga season

01/10 - Champions League group stage draw

03/10 - FC Koln (A) - Rheinland Derby

20/10 - Champions League group stage commences

08/11 - Bayer Leverkusen (A)

09/12 - Champions League group stage finishes

09/01 - Bayern Munich (H)*

23/01 - Borussia Dortmund (H) - Start of the Ruckrunde*

06/02 - FC Koln (H) - Rheinland Derby*

06/03 - Bayer Leverkusen (H)*

08/05 - Bayern Munich (A)*

22/05 - Werder Bremen (A) - Final game of the Bundesliga season

Writer's verdict

Now the questions remains, will Gladbach achieve their aspirations this season, or will they fall short? 

Like last season, they are likely to be competing with Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen for the prestigious Champions League spots. However, unlike their rivals, the Foals have kept hold of their key players, as both Timo Werner and Kai Havertz left their respective sides to join the exciting project at Chelsea. Both are going to be huge misses for Leipzig and Leverkusen, having a part in 42% and 30% of their respective teams goals last term.

Leipzig and Leverkusen are the obvious competition, but may a new side from the shadows push for a top four spot? Could it be Wolfsburg, who finished seventh in Oliver Glasner's second season in charge? Could it be Hertha Berlin, who may build on an exceptional end to last season? Or will it be Hoffenheim, who are under the guidance of former Bayern Munich academy coach Sebastian Hoeness?

Either way, with the Bundesliga season on the horizon, there seems to be a sense of optimism building at Borussia-Park under Marco Rose and his exciting young squad.