Borussia Monchengladbach defender Martin Stranzl has admitted that Saturday’s derby against Bayer Leverkusen will require a different approach than usual.
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," he told Goal.
“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."
Stranzl’s former Gladbach team-mate Luuk De Jong completed a loan move to Newcastle in the transfer window and the Austrian says he can fully understand why the out-of-favour forward jumped at the chance to move to England .
“It is especially hard for a striker if he does not play regularly," he pointed out. "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.”