Cyprus Mail
FootballSport

Apollon boss optimistic ahead of Gladbach challenge

New Apollon manager Ioan Andone took over just days before the clubs met two weeks ago at the Borussia-Park stadium and was handed a tough welcome to life at the club as the Germans ran riot in a 5-0 win

By Andreas Vou

New Apollon manager Ioan Andone is confident that his side can earn all three points when they take on Borussia Monchengladbach at Nicosia’s GSP stadium on Thursday night in the Europa League (8pm).

The 54-year-old took over just days before the pair met two weeks ago at the Borussia-Park stadium and was handed a tough welcome to life at the club as the Germans ran riot in a 5-0 win.

Despite the heavy loss in his opening game in charge, Apollon lie two points behind Gladbach in third place in Group A and a win would see them leapfrog their opponents and leave qualification in their hands.

Andone’s first league match with Apollon on Saturday resulted in a comfortable 1-3 win against Doxa Katokopias. Speaking after the game, the Romanian spoke of his joy at his team’s performance before stating his optimism that his side can come away with a positive result.
“Congratulations to my players and I believe that on Thursday we will gain one or three points.”

Apollon will be without a few key players for their sixth European match of the season – Nicolae Grigore, Marcos Gullon and Charis Kyriakou are all certain to miss out while Camel Meriem is doubtful.

Gladbach go into the encounter on excellent form and in high spirits – the Germans are currently joint second in the Bundesliga and over the weekend equalled the club record for consecutive matches without defeat.

Lucien Favre’s men defeated Hoffenheim 3-1 on Sunday with one goal from Andre Hahn and two from Patrick Herrmann who scored the fourth of Gladbach’s five against Apollon two weeks ago.

The win was Gladbach’s 17th match without defeat, equalling the club record set in the 1970-71 season, meaning that at least a point from their visit to Cyprus will set a new record for the German side.

Despite the team’s rampant form both at home and in Europe, Herrmann says that he and his team-mates are now fully focused on Thursday’s game as they look to take one step closer to qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition.

“On Thursday we have a difficult task against Apollon and we are now focusing towards this game. We really want to progress to the next stage of the Europa League and we will do everything in order to do so,” said the 23-year-old.

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