Marco Rose is playing down the controversy building for his return to Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Saturday when his Borussia Dortmund team, spearheaded by star striker Erling Braut Haaland, faces the club he left under a cloud last season.
“I’m trying not to let the stories that are being made of it get to me,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to seeing his former Gladbach players.
Rose insists he will focus on “the essentials. It’s about getting the three points”.
However, the 45-year-old Dortmund head coach can expect a chorus of whistles at Borussia Park from unforgiving Moenchengladbach fans, disgruntled since it was leaked in February that he was leaving after two years to coach Dortmund.
“We were hoodwinked and fooled by him,” Michael Weigand, a senior figure from Gladbach’s supporters club told magazine Sport Bild.
Once it was clear Rose was leaving, Gladbach’s form plummeted as they dropped out of the Champions League places.
With one win in the first five league games this season, results have not picked up under new coach Adi Huetter leaving Gladbach in the bottom three.
Their sports director Max Eberl says he “understand the fans who want to vent their displeasure, but it’s not Marco Rose playing against Borussia Moenchengladbach. We don’t need a little war here.”
Under Rose, Dortmund have won their last four games and Haaland has seven goals from five league games, making him the Bundesliga’s joint top-scorer alongside Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski.
Elsewhere, RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch is reportedly running out of patience with Portugal striker Andre Silva as they chase their first win for a month at home to Hertha Berlin.
After scoring 28 goals last season for Frankfurt, Leipzig signed Silva for 23 million euros ($27 million), but the 25-year-old has managed just one goal, a converted penalty in a 4-0 thrashing of Stuttgart.
He has struggled under Marsch, who has put an emphasis on pressing and counter-attack, and was replaced early in the second half of Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Cologne.
In his place, Yussuf Poulsen is expected to start against Hertha, who have won their last two games after losing their first three.
One to watch: Thomas Meunier
Dortmund’s England midfielder Jude Bellingham has dubbed right-back Thomas Meunier “Belgian Beckham” after his accurate crosses led to goals in recent wins over Leverkusen and Union.
After Raphael Guerreiro’s stunning volley put the hosts 1-0 up against Union last Sunday, Belgium international Meunier floated in a superb cross for Haaland to score with a header on the way to a 4-2 win.
From the sidelines, Rose made a chef’s kiss gesture, later explaining it was aimed at Meunier for the cross.
“We’re having a lot of fun with Thomas at the moment because he’s really rolling now and finding his form,” added Rose.