Bundesliga Match of the Week 9: Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Match: Borussia Mönchengladbach (Johnson) 1-5 Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Bender, Bailey, Brandt, Volland, Pohjanpalo)


Bayer Leverkusen blitzed past Borussia Mönchengladbach with a second half performance that saw Die Werkself score five unanswered goals.

The first half saw Gladbach take the upper hand, with Fabian Johnson scoring in the 7th minute. Winning battles in key areas, possession, passing, shooting, and creating chances, it looked like the home side would be coming away with a win. Everything seemed to change in the second half. With the introduction of Julian Brandt, Leverkusen went on leaps and strides in their second half performance. Injected with creativity, the away side looked to get back into the game. They did just that. Scoring in the 48th minute, Sven Bender put Leverkusen back into game. Full of confidence, the away side pressed on searching for their next goal.

After Gladbach’s limited opportunities on goal, Leverkusen continued in attack and created chances. The 59th minute saw an impressive run by Leon Bailey, taking on the Gladbach players. Taking the ball forwards, there was no stopping the young Jamaican, who seemed to glide past the opposing team. Left in space, Bailey unleashed a shot just inside the box to put Leverkusen into the lead. Bailey is quickly becoming an important aspect of Leverkusen’s style of play.

The away side kept progressing further. Three minutes later  Heiko Herrlich’s side were rewarded with their 3rd goal. Winning the ball in Leverkusen’s half, Kai Havertz took the ball up the field, slotting a forward pass to Brandt who was on the run. Receiving the ball in a good position, Brandt found himself in the box where his shot on goal couldn’t be stopped by Yann Sommer. Leverkusen were relentless in their attack and made the most of it. Despite the two goal advantage, the away side were hungry for more. Receiving the ball on the run from Wendell, Kevin Volland continued his run up the pitch, leaving Gladbach players in his wake. With two defenders starting to close him down, Volland was faced with the prospect of beating Sommer. That prospect turned out to be easy for Volland who slotted it pass the Swiss keeper. The game was all but over. Gladbach’s opportunities on goal were predominantly off target and lacked the clinical ability needed to establish a comeback. With nails already in Gladbach’s coffin, Leverkusen finished it off in the 89th minute when Joel Pohjanpalo scored their 5th goal of the game. From Panagiotis Retsos, to Brandt, to Pohjanpalo. It was as simple as that for Bayer Leverkusen. This six goal thriller was a tale of two halves. Leverkusen walked away as the victors.


Borussia Mönchengladbach:

  • 57.6% Possession
  • 1 Goal
  • 19 Shots
  • 53.1% Duels Won
  • 565 Passes (484 Short Passes, 64 Long Balls, 17 Crosses, Average Pass Streak 6)
  • 86% Pass Accuracy
  • 728 Touches
  • 13 Chances Created
  • 17 Crosses
  • 27 Take Ons
  • 16 Interceptions
  • 9 Clearances
  • 15 Blocks

Bayer 04 Leverkusen:

  • 42.4% Possession
  • 5 Goals
  • 13 Shots
  • 46.9% Duels Won
  • 415 Passes (355 Short Passes, 43 Long Balls, 15 Crosses, Average Pass Streak 5)
  • 79% Pass Accuracy
  • 566 Touches
  • 12 Chances Created
  • 15 Crosses
  • 9 Take Ons
  • 10 Interceptions
  • 16 Clearances
  • 21 Blocks


Borussia Mönchengladbach’s clashed with Bayer Leverkusen was a tale of two halves. The home side had to the upper hand in the first half, with Johnson taking the lead for Gladbach. Everything appeared to change in the second half. The introduction of Brandt added the much-needed creativity Leverkusen were lacking. Scoring five goals in the second half, Leverkusen came away with three points.

The home sides start to the game was positive. Fairly evenly matched in the opening stages, Gladbach was looking to take advantage of the home atmosphere. Spurred by their supporters, the home side worked their way into the game. A shot on goal was all Gladbach needed. With their first shot on the game, Johnson put the home side into the lead. It was a well worked goal. Finding himself in space, Thorgan Hazard used his pace to drive the ball forward. Leverkusen would regret not closing him down. On the edge of the box, Hazard whipped in a cross for the incoming Johnson. Caught off guard by Johnson running into the area, the Leverkusen defense was left in tatters when the American got on the end of the cross to give Gladbach the lead.


The home side’s ability to work through and apply pressure on the Leverkusen defense can clearly be seen. From then onwards, Leverkusen made sure they didn’t make the same mistake. The first half continued in Gladbach’s favour. Spurred on and full of confidence, the home side went on the attack and created chances. Fabian Johnson was perhaps overly confident after his attempt on goal in the 10th minute sailed wide. The opening ten minutes saw Gladbach have the upper hand, with two shots, one goal and one chance created. This advantage was only slim and the home side needed to build on this in order to progress forward. The passing map provided by Squawka shows the evenly matched nature of the game in the opening stages.


The next 35 minutes saw the home side progress further into the game, with an increase in shots and chances created. In that time period, Gladbach had a total of eight shots and created six chances. Leverkusen had three shots and created three chances. Dieter Hecking’s side had a great opportunity to increase the lead in the 16th minute when Hazard’s shot from close range was saved by Bernd Leno. Frustratingly for Gladbach, much of their shots were blocked, leaving a limited number of shots being effective. For Leverkusen, they were limited to just three shots in first half. Two were off target and one was saved by Sommer. The away side were struggling to create opportunities in the first half. Leverkusen were calling for extra creativity, if only they had someone like Brandt on the bench. Brandt’s impact in the second half changed the game.

Heiko Herrlich’s decision to bring on Julian Brandt in the second half was exactly what Leverkusen needed. Three minutes into the second half and Leverkusen were awarded a corner. Swung into the box, Sommer tried to reach for the ball but missed, leaving for Sven Bender to seize on the ball and score for the visitors. Back level, Leverkusen’s performance from here onwards was impressive.


The opening 15 minutes of the second half saw a rejuvenated Bayer Leverkusen. Winning the battles they were losing in the first half, the away side were making the most of their opportunities. With free-flowing football on display, Leverkusen were searching for the second. Their second goal saw the brilliance of their talented players. Receiving a pass from Kai Havertz, Bailey was dangerously left in enough room to take on the Gladbach defense. Driving the ball forward, the Jamaican cut in on his left, setting it up perfectly to take the shot. Bailey must have been out to impress as he put Leverkusen into the lead.


Leverkusen were hungry for more and that was clear when they scored their third. Two minutes after the Bailey goal, Havertz won the ball in Leverkusen’s half. Taking the ball forward, Havertz was able to supply Brandt who was making the run. Receiving the pass, Brandt his way into the left side of the box, unleashing a shot to put Leverkusen further into the lead. The awareness of Havertz to find Brandt on the run, and Brandt’s ability to score from such an angle, was quite impressive.


Die Werkself weren’t letting off the gas. Despite the two goal cushion, Leverkusen continued on their well worked attacks, searching for their next. Scoring three of their six shots in 20 minutes of the second half, Leverkusen were being clinical when it mattered, something Gladbach were lacking. For comparison, 25 minutes into the second half, Gladbach had two shots and both were off target. Leverkusen weren’t complaining. Their attacks were in free flow and in the 69th minute they were awarded with another goal. Receiving the ball from Wendell, Volland caught the Foals’ defense off guard, leaving for a one on one with the keeper. As the Gladbach defenders started to close down on Volland, he unleashed a shot that couldn’t be stopped. The nail was in the coffin and Leverkusen were set to go home with three points.


The attacking display from Leverkusen was impressive and relentless. Leverkusen must have had one more nail to put in the coffin. The 81st minute saw Pohjanpalo put the final nail into the coffin. Sealing the win with a well worked goal, it was a good day to be a Leverkusen fan.


The second half for Leverkusen was impressive. 10 shots and 9 chances created, compared to their first half performance of 3 shots and 3 chances created, propelled them to their victory. The introduction of Julian Brandt in the second half gave Leverkusen the much-needed creativity they were lacking in the first half. They way in which the away side worked for the goals was impressive. Well placed and alert passes commonly caught Gladbach off guard, leaving for Leverkusen to exploit the situation. Especially strong performances by youngsters Brandt, Bailey and Havertz give Leverkusen fans much to anticipate as this season unfolds further.


Leverkusen will be hoping they can build upon this attacking display and start to progress further up the table.

Honourable Mention:

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-2 Borussia Dortmund

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From Yorkshire, Callum fell for the beautiful game at an early age. The Bundesliga first caught his attention in 2014. Since then, his admiration and interest for the Bundesliga has developed greatly. Falling in love with what the Bundesliga and Germany has to offer was easy. So Callum, decided to put his passion into words. You can find him on Twitter @CallumSeniuk

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