The Borussia Monchengladbach defender says he does not blame the striker taking the opportunity to move to the Premier League and hopes he regains some lost formEXCLUSIVE
By Gregor Becker
Borussia Monchengladbach’s Martin Stranzl says he completely understands why former team-mate Luuk de Jong jumped at the chance of joining Newcastle United on loan.
The Netherlands international has struggled for form since joining the Bundesliga outfit after impressing with Twente.
De Jong was reduced to a bit-role with Monchengladbach this season but joined Newcastle during January until the end of the season, and Stanzl hopes the striker can regain his form and fitness.
"It is especially hard for a striker if he does not play regularly," Stranzl told Goal. "I hope he will score goals at Newcastle. That is important for his confidence and his development.
"It was difficult to play against him during the training sessions. He always played full throttle and he did not lose motivation. The coach acknowledged that."
Stranzl’s own contract runs out in the summer but he says that he is now in talks with the club over a new deal.
"When there is something to be announced, the club and I will announce it," he explained. "We're talking regularly and it won't be a big thing.
"We agreed on talking from year to year. If I am in good shape physically and the club wants me to stay, we can have a look at what I role can play for the team."
Next up for Monchengladbach is Saturday's derby against Bayer Leverkusen, and Stanzl feels a different approach will be needed against their rivals.
Die Fohlen go into the game at Borussia Park fifth in the Bundesliga standings, seven points behind their second-placed rivals from North Rhine-Westphalia, yet just a solitary point off fourth place, and the Champions League berth that comes with.
Victory is, therefore, of the utmost importance to Gladbach, but Stranzl feels that Lucien Favre's men will have to make some subtle variations to their game in order to come out on top.
“We have to realise that there are times when we have to play differently," Stranzl said.
“We have to let the opponent take care of the game and play long, deep passes. We have to put more pressure on the ball. Those are just small things, like the coach [Favre] always points out.”
Indeed, Stranzl says that Favre’s tactical prowess is responsible for lifting Monchengladbach up to fifth place in the Bundesliga.
“It is the work on details that makes him so special," the 33-year-old enthused. "Even if we play well, he tells us where to improve and what solutions can be found.
“If everything is going smoothly, he tries not to let us become too comfortable. And if things go badly, and everybody criticises us, he finds the right words.
"He is great at motivating us and he has great ideas on the pitch."