Marco Rose insists Borussia Monchengladbach “can’t really lose” when they go up against Manchester City in the Champions League, as he challenged his players to be courageous in the last-16 tie.
Gladbach sprung a surprise by making it out of their group behind Real Madrid, having qualified for the knockout stages by finishing above Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter.
Now the Bundesliga side face the runaway Premier League leaders without the benefit of playing at home. Due to travel restrictions in Germany amid the coronavirus pandemic, the first leg takes place on Wednesday in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
Rose – who is leaving at the end of the season to take charge at domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund – acknowledges the underdogs will have to defend well to keep Pep Guardiola’s in-form side at bay, though he also stressed the importance of being brave in possession if they are to have any chance of springing a huge surprise.
“When you’re Borussia Monchengladbach and you’re playing a Champions League last-16 match against Manchester City, you can’t really lose,” Rose told the media.
“It’s basically just a big thing for the club to be playing in the Champions League and we have always said that we want to prove ourselves and show what we can do.
“We’ve done that really well so far. The lads should enjoy the game, that’s part of the occasion. But they also have to be ready to show what they can do.
“Above all, it’s about defending well and playing with courage. If there’s one thing that City really don’t like, then it’s not having the ball.”
@OWendt_17: “We already came up against some world-class sides in the @ChampionsLeague group stage and we showed that we can give them a game. We hope to do the same tomorrow against @ManCity.”#DieFohlen #UCL #BMGCity pic.twitter.com/ZV7e9EbkP4
— Gladbach (@borussia_en) February 23, 2021
Gladbach – who have reached the knockout rounds of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time in 43 years – will be without Torben Musel and Famana Quizera for the first leg.
They will come up against opponents who have not lost since November 21, with a 1-0 triumph away at Arsenal on Sunday stretching City’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 25 games.
“I don’t think that I need to motivate the lads in any way. They’ve earned this evening,” Rose said ahead of the game at the Puskas Arena.
“I hope that the players reflect again on what they have already achieved in the group stage and that they approach this game with passion and courage, but also a willingness to suffer.
“We will try to always make inroads going forward. If my team plays to the best of their ability, then a good result is absolutely possible.”
City are unbeaten against Gladbach in the Champions League, having won three times and drawn once in previous meetings.