The whistle concert could not be overheard, but then the fans of Borussia Mönchengladbach quickly turned around. "It gave us a warm-up for the derby. That was a little goosebumps moment," said Jonas Hofmann after the 2:2 (0:0) against Werder Bremen about the dialogue with the fans after the final whistle. One thing is clear: After four games without a win, a success against arch-rivals 1 FC Cologne (Sunday, 2 April, 15.30 p.m. in the F.A.Z. live ticker for the Bundesliga and DAZN) must now be achieved – otherwise the mood could change.

Because Gladbach has probably lost sight of the qualification for a European competition at the latest after the meager home draw against a Bremen Rumpfelf. In the no-man's land of the table, there are not too many goals left for the rest of the season – at least for the fans, the derby victory is therefore at the top of the wish list. "There were a few motivating words, which were good and well received by everyone," said Hofmann.

In Cologne, however, there is a need above all for better exploitation of opportunities. Against Bremen, Hofmann, Marcus Thuram and Co. could have scored five or six goals – in the end, the goals of Thuram (48th) and Florian Neuhaus (73rd) were not enough, because Marvin Ducksch (65th and 89th) twice had an answer ready. "That feels like shit, we deserved a victory," said sporting director Roland Virkus, and coach Daniel Farke also admitted: "We just don't use the chances enough, that's a general problem."

True: Since the victory against Bayern Munich, Borussia has not won in four games, three of which ended without an own goal. "Our performance in the second half of the season is very fluctuating. The game against Bremen reflects the second half of the season - one half was not so good, the other good," said Virkus. The result is tenth place – beyond good and evil.

After all, the team was self-critical. "We are professionals who grab ourselves by the nose," said Hofmann. Coach Farke "always prepares the team one a for the games," said the long-time international: "It's bitter if we don't manage to shoot the ball in. The coach can't run onto the pitch himself." Hofmann himself had prepared five great chances of the Borussians against Werder and put on a total of ten shots on goal.

The fans can't score goals either, but they can motivate. "If you look at the faces – they shout everything out, and that's good," Hofmann said. What was the most important result of the exchange with the curve? "That we are going to Cologne as a unit." Because then it counts.

"I would have loved to have been there"

The fact that national coach Hansi Flick has not personally nominated him for the upcoming international matches against Peru and Belgium disappointed Hofmann: "I would have loved to have been there," said the 30-year-old. A few hours earlier, Flick had announced his squad for the first international matches since the World Cup preliminary round in Qatar. According to Hofmann, Flick justified his absence by wanting to give younger players a chance: "It's now about being there again in June," said Hofmann.

Hofmann did not want to see the fact that he can recover better after the disembarkation in the upcoming international break and prepare for the Rhineland derby as an advantage. "No, I usually draw a lot of energy out of it. That gives me more of a boost when I'm with the national team," said the 19-time international.