Who says the Bundesliga is predictable and Bayern have it easy? The Bavarian’s 14-match unbeaten start to the season came crashing to an end with a comprehensive 3-1 loss at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Despite enjoying the better of the first 45 minutes, pressuring the Foals and creating 12 chances, there was just no way through for Pep Guardiola’s side. The second half belonged totally to the home side as they remarkably hit three goals past the Rekordmeister (yes three!) before Bayern pulled back a consolation.
Oskar Wendt opened the scoring eight minutes into the second period with a fine strike before Lars Stindl added an important second. Munich-born American Fabian Johnson surged forward to add a third on 67 minutes only for substitute Franck Ribery to give Bayern a slight glimmer of hope ten minutes from the end.
In the end, the Nordkurve of the Borussia Park were left bouncing as Bayern tasted defeat for the first time this season.
Andre Schubert’s Tactical Tinkering
Gladbach’s resurgence under new trainer Schubert had been based wholly on a 4-4-2 set-up so the decision to switch to a rather more defensive 5-4-1 line-up raised a few eyebrows when the team sheets were revealed. However, you have to take your hat off to Andre Schubert, because he got it absolutely spot on. Yes, Bayern created a lot of chances in the first half as they cranked up the pressure, but the back five (sometimes a back eleven!) held solid.
The three centre-backs (Andreas Christensen, Harvard Nordtveit and Nico Elvedi) had Oscar Wendt and Julian Korb as the wingbacks and after going in at half-time level, they broke off the defensive shackles in the second. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller were largely kept under wraps. Take a bow Herr Schubert for your tactical genius. All hail the green hoodie.
Granite? Too right. He was an absolute rock in the centre of the park combatting the likes of Arturo Vidal and Xabi Alonso superbly. Sent-off twice already this season and in full knowledge that a yellow card today would lead to another ban, the Swiss midfielder got stuck in from the opening whistle. He dropped in to become a fourth centre-back at times and was the engine that drove the second half performance that saw the home side emerge victorious.
Nico Elvedi v Kingsley Coman
It is fair to say that Swiss youngster Nico Elvedi could have wished for a slightly easier full debut for Mönchengladbach, but again full marks to Andre Schubert for the faith he put in him. Bayern’s French international winger looked to get at him in the first-half, but the former FC Zürich defender stood up to the test and acquitted himself well. The fact that Coman switched to the right hand side in the second half is tribute to the performance put in by the 19-year-old.
Perhaps the only positive to come out of the afternoon for Bayern was the return from injury of Franck Ribery. Out for nine months after injuring himself in the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk back in March, his reappearance gave the Bavarians some Christmas cheer. He got nine touches within the first ten minutes and got on the scoresheet to give the visitors something positive to ponder following what will likely be the usual backlast following the rare occasions when Bayern are less than perfect
The Run Ends
So the record remains- no German side has gone through a Bundesliga season unbeaten. Bayern have come close on a couple of occasions and their form thus far gave the impression that this could just be the year, but Gladbach (who took four points off of them last season) had other ideas. The Foals are not the only Borussia to be happy with the result. A certain Borussia Dortmund, after downing Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena in Saturday’s late match, have closed the gap at the top to five points again and turn the Bundesliga into more than a easy Bayern stroll to another German championship.
Latest posts by Mathew Burt (see all)
- The Guido Burgstaller dichotomy - October 13, 2019
- Five new inductees to the Hall of Fame of German football - October 13, 2019
- Transfer time travel: How much would the Bayern Munich legends cost today? - October 12, 2019