There have been rumors floating for a few months now that Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria is on Bayern Munich’s “shadow team.”
The infamous “shadow team”, of course, is the list of players that Bayern Munich could end up pursuing in the near future. In fact, both Zakaria and his teammate in the M’Gladbach midfield Florian Neuhaus were both recently linked to Bayern Munich.
Neuhaus addressed the rumors previously by saying: “I don’t want to commit myself to that. FC Bayern is a big club. I have also got to know a couple of guys from Bayern in the national team who only speak positively about the club. My dad is also a huge Bayern fan. But I’m a Borussia Monchengladbach player and I don’t concentrate on anything else.”
Despite Neuhaus playing it relatively cool, the reports were not exactly well received by Die Fohlen sporting director Max Eberl. Eberl expressed his displeasure with two of his most prized players being linked to a chief rival.
“I’ve been doing this for 12 years now and we’ve always had our players link with other clubs — just like our coach, incidentally,” Eberl said at the time. “That is sometimes difficult. I sometimes ask myself: ‘What do we want?’ On one hand, we want to have a competition in which clubs other than Bayern can become champions. But on the other hand, these players are all being linked with this club in the media again. Why not just say: ‘Hey, cool! Something is developing in Gladbach.’ Why shouldn’t Florian Neuhaus stay with us?! Meanwhile, the reflex reaction is always: ‘Good game, good development, but where is he going?’ It always happens too quickly for me.”
When Zakaria was asked about the Bayern Munich rumors, he played it down even harder than Neuhaus, which will should keep Eberl happy heading into Friday’s showdown.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone about a move,” Zakaria said to Sport1 (as captured by Sport Bild). “I am 100 percent focused on Gladbach and have another one-and-a-half years on my contract.”
Sport Bild did, however, intimate that Zakaria “dreamed of playing for one of the largest clubs in the world as a young player.”
Regardless, any future transfer discussion will be on hold for both Zakaria and Neuhaus as they will be looking to upend Bayern Munich in one of the Bundesliga’s key fixtures for the weekend.