July 22, 2017

Why Borussia Mönchengladbach Have Struggled So Mightily This Season

If it still wasn’t clear to every fan that Borussia Mönchengladbach were struggling, the last two games have certainly changed that. With a 4-1 loss to Dortmund followed by a 4-0 thrashing by a Barcelona side not using all of their first team players, it’s clear that the Foals are reeling, and Coach Andre Schubert on the hot seat. But this has been going on for the entire domestic season, which is why they currently sit in 13th in the league. Losses to Freiburg, Hertha and Köln have been among the many unexpected results that have gone against Gladbach this season. There are many reasons for Gladbach’s struggles, which include a poor defense, and an inconsistent attack.

Struggling Defense

After signing Jannik Vestergaard and retaining Andreas Christensen for another season, Gladbach’s defense was supposed to be solid this season as it was last term. But the opposite has happened, as the main reason why Andre Schubert’s side has been underwhelming so far is because of their leaky defense. The Foals have conceded 22 goals this season in the Bundesliga, which gives them the 7th highest total in the league. Teams like Wolfsburg, Augsburg and even Leverkusen–who have also struggled this season—have conceded less than Gladbach have.

The individuals at the back have struggled as well, which is shown by their match ratings. No defender on Gladbach has a match rating over 7.0, as Vestergaard has the highest rating of all of them at 6.88. But besides the Dane, none of the team’s defenders are all that close to a 7.0 rating. Defenders Tobias Strobl and Nico Elvedi aren’t even close, as they have a 6.41 and 6.74 rating this season.

The worst part of the defensive struggles has been when the goals have been conceded, as they often leave Gladbach no chance in the game. In fact, Gladbach have allowed second half goals against Freiburg, Köln, Hoffenheim, Dortmund, Hertha, Bremen, Leverkusen and Schalke. Not all of the goals have been meaningful, but several of these second half goals cost Gladbach either points or a chance at points. The game against Hoffenheim is a great example of this, as a second half goal by Nagelsmann’s side cost Gladbach three points at home. The same can be said for the Freiburg match, which saw Gladbach lead 1-0 at half time but then concede three in the second half to lose. Other games where points were dropped in the second half include the Koln game, which saw Marcel Risse get a wondrous late goal that cost Gladbach a point.

Inconsistent Attack

While the defense for the Foals has struggled for pretty much the entire season, the attack has had it’s good moments. The four goal outburst against Bremen showed what the Foals are capable of in attack with players such as Raffael, Stindl and Hazard. But that game has been an outlier this season, as Gladbach have struggled for goals for the most part. Schubert’s side went five games without scoring a goal this season, and they’ve only scored more than twice in a game once. The Foals have only scored three goals in their last three games, as their attack continues to struggle.  

Star attackers Raffael, Stindl and Hazard all have scored three times this season, which shows how much BMG have struggled for goals. Limited to only seven starts in the Foals’ first 13 league matches by injury, Raffael has yet to be credited with an assist this season after providing 10  last season,indicating how much of a slump the Gladbach attack has been in. Additionally, since those three players are the only Foals with multiple goals, Gladbach clearly have little depth in front of goal this season. If the Foals expect to contend for European places, they are going to need to score goals. With Aubameyang, Modeste, Lewandowski, Wagner, Ibisevic, Meier, Werner and Chicharito leading the line for the European contenders, the BMG defense won’t be able to keep a lot of clean sheets. The struggles will continue if Gladbach can’t score with all of the attacking talent in the Bundesliga.

Players like Andre Hahn and Patrick Herrmann are going to be essential for Gladbach in their recovery from their awful start. These two attacking talents haven’t seen the pitch often this season, and as a result they only have one goal between the two of them. If Schubert can figure out a way to keep both healthy and back into the fold, the goals might finally start coming for Gladbach. And if Hahn and Herrmann come back, it might help get the best out of the fit attackers in Raffael, Stindl and Hazard.

Gladbach have been reeling for most of the season in the Bundesliga, which is why they are in 13th at the moment. Their struggling defense and the inconsistent attack have been the main causes of the struggles the Foals have faced thus far. The new signings they made on defense and the established attack of Gladbach have made these struggles surprising. But surprising teams have been a theme in the Bundesliga this season, which has made this season great to watch. If Gladbach are able to turn it around and begin contending for the European spots, that will add even more intrigue to the competitive race for the European places this season.

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Alex Lynch

Alex a passionate fan of the Bundesliga and German Football who resides in the United States, who also loves writing and talking about the Bundesliga.

1 Comment

  1. They haven’t really replaced Xhaka for one….nor utility man Nordtveit. Add to that the retirements of Dominguez, Stranzl and Brouwers = a leadership void and loss of a strong core to the squad. Realize that Strobl is no direct replacement to Howie; Kramer not a Xhaka but an entirely different 6. Think the hope was that Kramer-Dahoud can work…IF they would function like a poor man’s Matic-Kanté of Chelsea..as an example. But it hasn’t…yet.

    You make good points about Hahn & Herrmann. But they’ve been deer in headlights with their new roles on the pitch. Hahn as a defensive forward and Herrmann as a wing back or defensive winger of sorts.

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