“Against modern football,” said a large poster in the Borussia Mönchengladbach fan curve. The double S was formed by dollar signs - an expression of fan rejection of the German Football League's planned investor deal.
There are still fairytale stories in modern football. U21 national player Rocco Reitz's splendid half-series is one such example.
Member of the club since birth
In Borussia's 2-2 (1-1) draw against Werder Bremen, this culminated in Gladbach's whiz kid's first Bundesliga brace (45th minute/49th). "We can be proud that we have such a boy with us. We are pleased that such a homegrown player can deliver such a performance," said Borussia's sports director Roland Virkus after the game, in which Reitz did not become the match winner only because he was The Gladbach defense allowed individual weaknesses in two crucial moments.
But when Borussia's former youth boss talked about his long-time protégé, Virkus' eyes lit up. Like so many Borussia fans who finally have a real identification figure again. “The year so far has been unbelievable,” said Reitz himself on DAZN when asked about his season so far. "If you think back over the whole time, I'm living a dream, definitely."
Reitz has been a member of Borussia since he was born and has played for the club since he was seven. "The love for this club is huge, just like the love for football - it doesn't get any bigger than that," said Reitz, who used to be a walk-in child and was a regular fan at the stadium with his father. The fact that one of them has become an integral part of Gladbach's starting eleven and becomes a driver in the midfield delights the supporters.
Like the young Matthäus or Effenberg
“I think the boy has to digest it first,” said Virkus and is therefore happy that there will be a break to reflect after the last game of the year next Wednesday at Eintracht Frankfurt. Due to his previous achievements, the shooting star is already called "Messi from the Lower Rhine", which is a little strange considering Reitz's style of play. With his courageous and dynamic appearance on the pitch, Reitz is more reminiscent of other Borussia greats at a young age: Lothar Matthäus or Stefan Effenberg.
"He has a lot of things that we need in our squad. He is very toxic, very biting, incredibly hard-working and still a very good footballer," praised Virkus. "The boy is totally professional. He always prepares excellently for the games, but also after them."
When Reitz didn't quite trust himself to play regularly in Mönchengladbach in the summer after a two-year loan to Belgian first division club VV St. Truiden, Virkus already had a premonition for the upcoming season: "It was already apparent in the training camp that the boy would get off to a good start this season could."
He was right. The homegrown player played in all 15 games of the season, scoring four goals in the league and was voted Player of the Months for September, October and November by the fans. To say that he courageously took advantage of the opportunity given to him by new head coach Gerardo Seoane is almost an understatement.
From the U21 to Julian Nagelsmann?
“Maybe it can even go up a bit,” Virkus said. The home European Championships are coming up in the summer. U21 national coach Antonio Di Salvo is already full of praise. “He impresses me,” said Di Salvo. "Rocco is currently starting all games in Gladbach, he always wants to have the ball and is not afraid of being played in tight situations." Reitz also took advantage of his opportunity. He also scored a brace in his first game in November.