Arango's left foot inspires revived Gladbach

Borussia Moenchengladbach may not have the massive support of Borussia Dortmund, nor the glamour of Bayern Munich but they do have one of the most lethal weapons in the Bundesliga, Juan Arango's left foot.

Champions League - Kiev survive Gladbach fightback to qualify

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Yevhen Khacheridi (R) of Dynamo Kiev vies with Juan Arango of Borussia Moenchengladbach during their UEFA Champions League second-leg qualifying football match in Kiev

The Venezuela captain has flown the flag for his country in European football since 2005 and for much of that time, his fortunes have been more eagerly followed in his homeland than in the country where he plays.

First Real Mallorca and at Gladbach, where has been since 2009, he has spent much of that time in teams which have been fighting relegation rather than challenging for honours.

But at 32, the publicity-shy midfielder from Maracay is suddenly the centrepiece of Gladbach's team following the departure of Marco Reus to Borussia Dortmund and defender Dante to Bayern Munich.

Arango was involved in both goals as Gladbach beat Hoffenheim 2-1 in their opening match, plonking a free kick on Mike Hanke's head for the first and scoring the second himself with a majestic free kick.

He also set up one goal and scored the other as they won 2-1 at Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League qualifier on Wednesday, although it was not enough to overcome their 3-1 home defeat in the first leg.

"Arango's left foot is a weapon," said coach Lucien Favre, whose side visit promoted Fortuna Duesseldorf in the Bundesliga on Saturday (1630 GMT). "He is outstanding and can make the different at any moment.

"Sitting on the bench, I thought it was impossible to score from that free kick."

Other players in the team are now looking to Arango for inspiration.

"We're happy that we have him. He's not just important because he scores goals, he is important for the team," said Granit Xhaka, a new signing from FC Basel.

"He's left foot is phenomenal, there are few like it in Europe. I can learn a lot from him."

Arango has been included in Venezuela's squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers away to Peru and Paraguay after patching up a misunderstanding with coach Cesar Farias which led to speculation he could have been left out.

It is hard to imagine the South American side without their captain who has been a regular for more than a decade, winning more over 100 caps.

Before Arango appeared on the scene, making his debut against Denmark in 1999, Venezuela had only ever won two World Cup qualifiers and were regularly on the end of some fearful hammerings.

Since his debut, they have won 18 times, including a first-ever competitive win over Argentina, and moved ever closer to qualifying for their first finals.

Having narrowly escaped relegation in 2010-11, when they were bottom for much of the season, Gladbach finished fourth under Favre last term.

Gladbach's opponents Duesseldorf won 2-0 at Augsburg last Saturday, celebrating their return to the Bundesliga after a 15-year absence.

Bayern Munich, who completed the signing of Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javi Martinez for a reported German record of 40 million euros on Wednesday, host VfB Stuttgart on Sunday (1530), having started with a 3-0 win at promoted Greuther Fuerth.

Hamburg SV, where Thorsten Fink is favourite to become the first coaching victim of the season, are away to Werder Bremen on Saturday (1330). They began with a dismal home defeat against Nuremberg and have also been knocked out of the German Cup by lower division opposition.

Nuremberg themselves host holders Borussia Dortmund on Saturday (1330).

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