October 24, 2017

Simply overwhelmed

After the victory against VfB Stuttgart on Tuesday, Dieter Hecking started almost with the same squad against Borussia Dortmund last Saturday in Dortmund. Only one player was exchanged: Fabian Johnson began for Patrick Herrmann. The coach wanted to have a more stable defensive structure. Christoph Kramer could start after his nasal bone break with mask, Tobias Sippel again represented the injured Yann Sommer. The Fohlenelf seemed prepared for the big match.

At the beginning of the game everything went on as expected. Borussia Dortmund had the ball game most of the time and pressed high, Gladbach played in their standard 4-4-2 formation and remained defensive in the own half. The four-chain defence line moved up early to compress the space, the midfielders tried to disturb the ball circulation of the opponents and after interceptions quick and direct attacks should lead to a goal or two. A simple plan that worked in the initial phase of the game quite properly. The Dortmund players could not appear dangerously in front of Sippel.

The plan worked perfectly and the Fohlenelf had the first big chance of the game after a ball-conquest in the central area. The ball was quickly played from Raffael to Stindl, who sent Hazard on the road. The Belgian ran from half-right into the penalty area, but Bürki was able to parry the shot in the 11th minute.

Dortmund had the first big chance to score a goal after twenty minutes. Sokratis, after passing the central defenders with a nice trick, tried to score with a shot, but Sippel reacted quickly and saved the situation. The replacement for Yann Sommer showed a great performance and prevented with great saves several times the goal which would have given Dortmund the lead. The plan worked until now, but something changed in the mindset of the Gladbach player. They could keep their performance on a high level anymore and so in the end it was just a matter of time until the dominance of the BVB, which grew by the minute, would lead to a goal.

Maximilian Philipp scored the gate opener with his goal in the 28th minute. Julian Weigl played a narrow-cut away pass into the run of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who crossed the ball into the inner box area from the right and Philipp sent the ball to the far post with a nice direct volley. This was the beginning of an 6:1-defeat against a team that loved playing with determination, efficiency, energy and fun. All the things Borussia Mönchengladbach lacked on this match day and that explains the dimension of the disaster. For some reason the Fohlenelf could not fight back and the lack of determination and concentration caused more uncoordinated movement on the pitch which lead to the demise of the defence and its structure.

This explains the bad pass of Ginter in the 38th minute around the penalty area that was intercepted by Mo Dahoud, who passed the ball out to Toljan to start an immediate attack. Toljan passed the ball flat and directly to the inner area of the box, where Philipp stood totally free and scored easily the 2:0 against Sippel, who was left alone from his defenders. The great problem was, in addition to all the things mentioned before, that the Gladbach players did not understand to get close enough to the Dortmund players and narrow their paths and passing opportunities. It was therefore no surprise that the 3:0 in the 45th minute was not possible to defend for the defence. Sokratis played a flat longpass into the box, Philipp got to the ball first, moved to the right and played a pass back to the center to Aubameyang, who scored without much difficulties the 3:0 although he was surrounded by three defenders. At halftime the score could have been 3:2, if only Thorgan Hazard and Lars Stindl had been efficient and each one used one of their big opportunities to score. But the odds were unfortunately not in the favour of Mönchengladbach.

The course of the game was quite embarrassing for Borussia Mönchengladbach and it went on. In the 49th minute a free kick from Götze easily found Aubameyang in the penalty area and he head the ball to the longer corner. The ball clapped to the post, but the Gabonese reacted faster than the frozen Gladbacher and reckoned the rebound to score the 4:0.

Dortmund now shifted down a gear, but when they got invited, as in the 62nd minute from Vestergaard, they could easily shift up again. After a pass of Dahoud Aubameyang sprinted to the goal followed by Vestergaard, he passed Sippel and nailed the 5:0 into the upper left corner from a difficult right angle.

After all, the Fohlenelf managed to score the consolation goal in the 66th minute, which did not really pleased anyone. Hazard dribbled into the penalty are of Borussia Dortmund, continued on the right, passed the ball flat into the center to Johnson, who could not control the ball and it slid through to Stindl, who shot the ball flat to the long lower corner. The first conceded goal of the season for Roman Bürki and the BVB.

The game was already decided early and many just waited for the final whistle. But the Dortmund team still was hungry for more goals and never stopped trying. So in the 79th minute, when the Gladbach substitute Hofmann involuntarily forwarded the ball to Julian Weigl, who hit the ball perfectly with a drop volley and scored to make it 6:1.

In the end there is not much left to say. Borussia Mönchengladbach was overwhelmed. They did not know how to play against Borussia Dortmund on that Saturday and could not find the right solutions for the different difficult attacks they were facing. Once again they fell victim to their problems of this season: lack of concentration, inconstant performances and inaccuracy.

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Erkán Karakoyunlu

Erkan is a Mönchengladbach-born, Cologne-based football enthusiast with a great obsession for his hometown club 'Gladbach. After studying communication design, concept design, East Asian studies, and philosophy he gained experience in the entertainment industry and is trying to put his thoughts about Fussball into words. He is also avid for design, art, culture, tech and video games. Follow him on Twitter at @fruechtegott.

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