The new Klopp? Rose blooming at Gladbach as he follows mentor's footsteps

“I trust Marco in everything,”Jurgen Klopp declared to Sky Sports Austria as Marco Rose’s Red Bull Salzburg closed in on the Austrian Bundesliga title last season.

“Marco can have any job and could do any job too, he is really the most hyped coach of all at the moment, everyone is asking about him.”

Klopp had coached Rose during the former full-back’s playing career, spending six years as his mentor at Mainz where they won promotion to the German Bundesliga together and also qualified for the UEFA Cup. Klopp left in 2008 to take over at Borussia Dortmund, while Rose stayed behind and began his own coaching career, initially as an assistant coach at Mainz.

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The Liverpool boss saw first-hand how Rose read the game and was not surprised when he succeeded in the dugout in his own right, thanks to his interpretation of Klopp’s trademark methods: gegenpressing, teamwork, an intense appetite to attack and the ability to turn home grounds into fortresses.

From 2013 to 2017, Rose worked as a youth coach at Red Bull Salzburg and was offered the top job at the club after guiding their under-19 side to the UEFA Youth League. The following season, his first as head coach of the senior team, he won the Austrian Bundesliga and reached the semi-final of the Europa League. In 2018-19, the Austrian double and Klopp’s public praise followed.

The Leipzig-born manager was thus an attractive proposition for many bigger clubs, particularly in his native Germany. Schalke and Wolfsburg were heavily linked with the 43-year-old, as well as Hoffenheim, who sought to make him the successor to coaching prodigy Julian Nagelsmann.

Instead, Rose chose Borussia Monchengladbach, a sleeping giant who were once the biggest team in the Bundesliga, who won five domestic titles between 1970 and 1977 and reached the European Cup final.

When the opportunity to appoint Rose came along, Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl did not have to think twice even though he already had a capable coach in the dugout. Dieter Hecking guided the Foals to fifth in the Bundesliga last season, but that was not enough to stop Eberl going all out to get his man.

“We do our coaching scouting very intensively and therefore had Marco in our sights for a long time,” Eberl told Goal

“We also watch a lot of European Cup matches and wanted to see him play live. Afterwards we met in a VIP room, we could not fly home at such a late hour. The meeting was really coincidental and not planned. We talked for a long time and exchanged ideas and philosophies.

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“As sporting director you rarely have the chance to get the coach you want. In probably 90 per cent of cases, you choose the one on the market that seems to suit you best after you have dismissed a coach. But you rarely get the solution you want.

“If Marco hadn’t been on the market or had rejected us, it would have been logical for Dieter to continue sitting on our bench.”

Hecking was popular with supporters, especially after guiding Gladbach into the Europa League, but Eberl’s decision to replace him with Rose has proved a masterstroke.

The Foals sit at the top of the Bundesliga table after 14 games and kept their hold on top spot last weekend as they beat Bayern Munich 2-1 through a Remy Bensebaini double.

Like Rose, Bensebaini is a new arrival at Borussia-Park, but fits into the new coach’s style perfectly, playing a role that is well-known at Anfield and in Salzburg, and harks back all the way to the Mainz of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Klopp had been switched from a striker to an attacking right-back at Mainz, Rose had played left-back under Klopp and now both are famed for using their full-backs to create chances and even score goals.

On the opposite flank to Bensebaini for Gladbach’s 2-1 win over Bayern was Stefan Lainer, a 27-year-old Austrian who followed Rose from Salzburg to Germany. He believes that Rose can inspire the players to be even better and do things they didn’t think they were capable of.

“The coach knows how to get you excited about his plan. He makes you believe that you can do things that you might not even be that good at,” Lainer told Bild.

“You can feel that we’re now playing a different kind of football compared to the beginning. We are much more forceful and win more balls, because our automation is working. We certainly still have room for improvement, but we’re moving in the right direction. That’s what we players feel on the pitch. And I think our fans feel that too. We are building something together.

Despite the success at every step of his managerial career, Rose also shares Klopp’s humility. Although both managers are top of their respective league tables, neither one is getting carried away with title talk. Even after beating Bayern Munich, Rose was his usual humble self.

“I’ll take this discussion seriously if I’m still asked the question after three losses in a row. We’re trying to work through everything objectively,” Rose told Sky Germany.

“If we had lost 4-0, I don’t think that anyone would have asked be about the German championship. The next day, we would have to read that never before had a league leader stood so little chance against the German champions.”

His pre-match press conference channelled his inner Klopp even more and made a statement both can hopefully continue to live by this season: “I think it’s cool to be top and we want to stay there.”

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