Hinrunde Reviews: Borussia Mönchengladbach

The 2017/18 Bundesliga season has reached the halfway stage, giving us here at the Bundesliga Fanatic the opportunity to take stock of each club’s progress so far. Here, we look at how Borussia Mönchengladbach fared in the Hinrunde.

The story so far

It has been a season of highs and lows for Dieter Hecking and his Borussia Mönchengladbach side so far. They have enjoyed the peaks (such as comfortably beating Bayern Munich) but also the troughs (being annihilated by Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen).

They kicked the Hinrunde off with a win over Köln before first minute and last-minute goals saw them held at Augsburg. A first home defeat came against Eintracht Frankfurt before they took a point from Leipzig in an entertaining 2-2 draw. A double from Raffael then helped the Fohlen to a second win of the season at home to VfB Stuttgart.

Matchday 6 saw an in-form Borussia Dortmund arrive at the Borussia Park, but few could have expected that the home side would be hammered in the fashion they were. A fairly even first twenty minutes was followed by a collapse from Mönchengladbach which saw BVB knock in five goals before Lars Stindl’s consolation. Another goal from Julian Weigl made the final score 6-1 to Dortmund. Ouch!

They responded with consecutive wins over Werder Bremen and Hannover to try and get over the debacle, but then came another dismal defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen on matchday 9 when they gave up a 1-0 lead at half-time to conceded five second half goals to the Werkself. Double ouch!

Again they answered in the correct manner with away wins over Hoffenheim and Hertha and home draw with Mainz. Based on their inconsistent form up to that point, few observers were ready for Gladbach to outplay Bayern on matchday 13. Dieter Hecking’s side produced a fine display to inflict a first defeat on Fohlen favourite Jupp Heynckes.

Did I mention inconsistency? After beating the reigning champions and league leaders, Gladbach then went and produced an insipid display in a 3-0 loss to Wolfsburg. How infuriating to be a Borussia Mönchengladbach fan in the Hinrunde. The final three games of the season brought (you’ve guessed it!) a win (HSV) and draw (Schalke) and a defeat (Freiburg) to sum up perfectly Gladbach’s first half of the season.  Injuries have played a major part in the club’s fortunes this season and on balance, the fact they are still very much in contention for a top four finish is reason to be cheerful.

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Stat central                                                                 

P17 W8 D4 L5 F27 A28 Pt28 (6th)

  • Gladbach have the joint lowest average number of attacks per match with 87 per 90 mins (equal with Hertha Berlin).
  • They also have the lowest challenge intensity per match at 7.4 (number of challenges and interceptions made by defending team per minute of opponent’s ball possession).
  • Matthias Ginter has been involved in 11 mistakes leading to goals.

Top Performer: Thorgan Hazard

In a season of inconsistency, one constant has been the performances of Belgian Thorgan Hazard. The 24-year-old has been an ever-present in the forward line and has scored six goals. Four of those have come from the penalty spot (from where he has a 100% record).

He’s also provided four assists and his pacey direct style has been a common element of Gladbach’s forward thrust so far. With brother Eden being linked with Real Madrid, the younger of the Hazard’s is also grabbing the headlines with his displays.

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The summer signings

Aside from Hazard, one of the stand-out performers from the Hinrunde has been young Swiss midfielder Denis Zakaria. He settled instantly into the side and despite his age has given a number of highly assured performances alongside whoever he has been partnered with.  He played in every match bar the final game due to suspension.

Centre-back Matthias Ginter has had his moments with mistakes this season, but he has also chipped in with three goals already. The signing from Dortmund has played every minute of every game and is proving an adequate replacement for Andreas Christensen now back at Chelsea.

Vincenzo Grifo and Michael Cuisance have both contributed during their appearances with the young Frenchman having a particularly good game in the 3-1 win over Hamburg on matchday 17.

Reece Oxford, the loan signing from West Ham didn’t put a foot wrong on his three appearances, but the London side have recalled him, so Gladbach fans will not have the chance to see him develop further. Raul Bobadilla’s second spell at the club has been unspectacular with just seven short substitute appearances so far.

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Hinrunde highlight

The 50th Bundesliga home clash with Bayern Munich and the return once again of club legend Jupp Heynckes was the occasion for Mönchengladbach’s best game of the Hinrunde.

Following successive away wins over Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin, the three points secured at the Borussia Park were a real boost to a Gladbach side that had previously been embarrassed by Dortmund and Leverkusen. The match didn’t start well with Christoph Kramer stretchered off and taken to hospital following a collision with Jannik Vestergaard.

Bayern were surprisingly lacking in ideas and the hosts capitalised by scoring twice in the lead up to half-time. A handball from Niklas Süle handed Hazard the chance from the penalty spot and the reliable Belgian beat Sven Ulreich on 39 minutes.

Then right on the brink of the referee’s whistle, Matthias Ginter was on hand to stab home after Lars Stindl’s shot had been deflected by Mats Hummels. Bayern were better in the second 45 minutes and Robert Lewandowski hit the post before they pegged Gladbach back with a 74th minute goal from Arturo Vidal.

The home side held on though and ended Heynckes’ 100% start as Bayern boss and notched up a vital win.

Hinrunde lowlight

Dortmund or Leverkusen? Take your pick! I’ll go for the 5-1 home defeat to Bayer Leverkusen as the lowlight. They seemed in control going in at halftime with Fabian Johnson’s 7th minute goal the difference between the two sides.

A tactical switch by Heiko Herrlich at the interval and Gladbach were unable to deal with it. Again and again Leverkusen attacked down the left via Leon Bailey and on the counter provoked by Kai Havertz, and time after time the home side had no answer or defence to it.

Sven Bender’s equaliser was scruffy, before a blitz of goals from Bailey, Julian Brandt and Kevin Volland stunned the Fohlen. Another from sub Joel Pohjanpalo added insult to injury and the home side couldn’t wait for the referee to blow his final whistle at the end.

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The forecast

If Dieter Hecking is a little more fortunate with injuries and can create a little more consistency, then Gladbach will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season when the Champions League places are decided.

The fact that they are still only two points off Schalke in second shows that the teams at the top are all suffering the same fate with regards building a consistent winning run.

Of the top six, they have the worst defensive record, so will have to tighten things up there. It will be interesting to see whether there is any business done in the January transfer window in order to strengthen.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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