Favre plays down Gladbach title hopes
Borussia Monchengladbach coach Lucien Favre has ruled his side out of the running for the Bundesliga title this season, suggesting that qualifying for the UEFA Champions League would be a "miracle".
Favre's side ended a dramatic 2011 fourth in the table, four points adrift of league leaders Bayern Munich. That in itself is a major achievement considering how, at the start of the year, they were given little chance of survival with just 10 points at the bottom of the table.
Favre turned things around for them and they won a relegation play-off over Bochum to stay up at the end of the 2010-11 season. Yet to expect to keep up their challenge of Bayern at the top for the remaining four months of the season is unrealistic, according to the Swiss coach.
"It is going to be hard, if not impossible, to improve," he said. "Fourth place for us is already a miracle. Avoiding relegation last summer, which we only managed in the play-off, is already a mini-sensation. We must not forget that this very same team avoided relegation by a hair's breadth, and now they have 33 points."
Gladbach will be the first side to test the 2012 version of Bayern when they meet in the first Bundesliga fixture of the year next Friday night. Borussia's season started with a shock 1-0 win at the Allianz Arena back in August and, despite Favre's pessimism in view of the whole season, he is more optimistic about his side's chances against Bayern in a one-off match at the Borussia Park Stadion.
"Our team has not lost any condition during the winter break," he is quoted as saying in the Bild newspaper. "Bayern are certainly stronger than they were on the first day of the season, but we are also stronger than we were at the start."