Die Fabelhaft Fohlen : Gladbacher Glory Days

Flanked by a pair of West Germany internationals so influential to the squad, goalkeeper WOLFGANG KLEFF (left) and striker JUPP HEYNCKES, Borussia Moenchengladbach trainer HENNES WEISWEILER proudly displays the Bundesliga Meisterschale and UEFA Cup won by the historical as well as memorable North Rhine-Westphalian outfit during the very successful 1974-75 football season.

There are few football clubs in the world can equal the most impressive, not to mention noteworthy, trophy-collecting exploits as demonstrated by North Rhine-Westphalian side BORUSSIA MOENCHENGLADBACH of West Germany during the decade of the 1970s.

Five Bundesliga championships, two UEFA Cups in European competition and a domestic D.F.B. Pokal title — all achieved within one ten-year span — is, without question, a lofty record that very few football teams from any era can claim to match.

Furthermore, appearances in no less than five Finals of major European competitions over a period no longer than eight years spoke volumes about a winning club that, all the while on account of limited financial resources, was consistently losing critical components of their football organization to wealthy Spanish powerhouses in La Liga.


Aside from three seasons with Hannover 96 in Lower Saxony, JUPP HEYNCKES spent his entire football career stretching from 1964 to 1978 accumulating goals for die Fohlen in North Rhine-Westphalia. The accomplished West Germany international (39 caps, 14 goals) forward, who had the misfortune of playing in the same era as Bayern Munich’s machine-like Gerd Mueller, totaled a whopping 289 goals in all competitive matches for Borussia Moenchengladbach, which includes a record of 47 goals from 55 games in Europe. During a three-year stretch in the mid-1970s, highlighted by the 49 strikes of the 1972-73 campaign, Heynckes piled up more than forty goals per season in all competitions for die Fabelhaft Fohlen.

Das Kader of Borussia Moenchengladbach are arranged for the traditional team photograph just prior to the start of the triumphant Bundesliga title and UEFA Cup-winning season of 1974-75, which would prove to be the last year for trainer HENNES WEISWEILER (back row, far right), who would later join Franz Beckenbauer with the New York Cosmos in the old North American Soccer League, at the Boekelbergstadion in North Rhine-Westphaila.

The wonderfully-skilled midfielder GUENTER NETZER, a 1972 European champion who earned 37 caps and scored six goals for West Germany, was the first star from Borussia Moenchengladbach to be lured away to the riches of La Liga in Spain when famous Real Madrid signed the reigning two-time domestic Footballer of the Year in the summer of 1973. Netzer, who would bag two Spanish first division titles with Los Blancos, was followed to Real Madrid by die Fohlen’s Denmark international attacker HENNING JENSEN in the off-season of 1976. Midfielder ULI STIELIKE, later to feature as West Germany’s sweeper at the 1982 FIFA World Cup final tournament in Spain, was scooped up by Real Madrid the year after.

Of course, Borussia Moenchengladbach and Real Madrid had clashed in the quarterfinals of the 1975-76 European Cup with the Spanish La Liga side prevailing on away goals following a 3-3 draw on aggregate.

Always looking to keep pace with their bitter rival from the Spanish capital city, FC Barcelona hired trainer HENNES WEISWEILER away from Borussia Moenchengladbach in the summer of 1975; the Catalan club would eventually also shell out the big bucks to sign Denmark international superstar ALLAN SIMONSEN, the 1977 Balon d’Or winner as the European Footballer of the Year, four years thereafter.


The versatile and very talented RAINER BONHOF, who was effectively used as both a defender and midfielder during his time with Bundesliga side Borussia Moenchengladbach, collected 53 caps and scored nine goals for the West German national team in his career; Bonhof, who would eventually transfer to Spanish La Liga club CF Valencia in the summer of 1978, was still just 22 years of age when he provided the ball for the legendary Gerd “der Bomber” Mueller to fire the match-winner for West Germany against the Netherlands at the 1974 FIFA World Cup Final in Munich.

The collection of silverware at the modestly-sized Boekelbergstadion did not cease with the departure of mastermind trainer Hennes Weisweiler to Spanish giant FC Barcelona in the summer of 1975 … Here, West Germany World Cup champion defender BERTI VOGTS (left) and Borussia Moenchengladbach first-year trainer UDO LATTEK, the one-time West Germany Olympic coach who had come from contemporary arch-rival Bayern Munich, celebrate the Bundesliga title at the end of the 1975-76 campaign.


Bundesliga —– 1970, 1971, 1975, 1976, 1977

D.F.B. Pokal — 1973

UEFA Cup —— 1975, 1979

Who is to say what might have been but not for English First Division outfit FC Liverpool, who defeated Borussia Moenchengladbach in the 1973 UEFA Cup Final (3-2 on aggregate), the 1977 European Cup Final (3-1) and the semifinals of the 1978 European Cup (4-2 on aggregate)? … Nowadays, the fans clubs of both these football teams enjoy a hearty, interactive relationship on both sides of the English Channel as a result of their frequent meetings in Europe during the decade of the 1970s.


Aging Borussia Moenchengladbach club captain BERTI VOGTS, who won 96 caps for West Germany over the course of his career and was in his final season of professional football, lifts the coveted trophy after the 1-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade of Yugoslavia in the second leg of the 1979 UEFA Cup Final at the massive Rheinstadion in Dusseldorf.

The tenacious Vogts played all fourteen of his professional seasons for die Fohlen and contested 419 Bundesliga games in the process. A regular his entire career, the rock-solid defender appeared in only six of 34 Bundesliga matches and just three of Borussia Moenchengladbach’s twelve games in Europe that 1978-79 season. However, “das Terrier” worked his way back into the first team just in time to help die Fabelhaft Fohlen achieve one last triumph on the continental stage.



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2 responses to “Die Fabelhaft Fohlen : Gladbacher Glory Days

  1. Michael Tetzlaff

    Nice blog on my all-time favorite team from my years growing up in former West Germany……Netzer, Vogts, Wimmer, Bonhof (who is pictured in the top picture with Weisweiler and Kleff, NOT Heynckes), Simonsen, Lefevre, Kleff…those were my heroes in the seventies, every year I had the team picture from the “Kicker” on my wall (while typing this I am watching Moenchengladbach play Bremen here on French TV in Menton). Go Fohlen!


      Those KICKER team photos always were great, were they not?! … Thanks for the heads up on Bonhof … As I have mentioned here, I started watching the Bundesliga via “Soccer Made In Germany” here in the U.S. around the same time Franz Beckenbauer went to the New York Cosmos … Borussia Moenchengladbach were just coming to the end of their greatest decade — I can barely remember Berti Vogts and Wolfgang Kleff and, to be honest, I really don’t remember Heynckes at all! … The SMIG program commentator used to talk about Guenter Netzer and Rainer Bonhof whenever ‘Gladbach had a game (we got one game a week cut down to one hour back then) … I remember seeing goalkeeper UWE KAMPS make his Bundesliga debut for ‘Gladbach on SMIG and I became a fan of his … United States World Cup goalkeeper KASEY KELLER played two seasons for ‘Gladbach from 2005 thru 2007.