Borussia Mönchengladbach started the season as a candidate for the premier class – now the team is in a relegation battle. Three claps with 14 goals conceded raise a question: What’s going on?
At the end of October, the history books were dug out in Gladbach, after all, a 5-0 win against FC Bayern doesn’t happen every day. In May 1974, two days after their triumph in the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, Bayern got off the bus on the Bökelberg, heavily drunk, and drowned in a worthless game with five goals conceded.
It is now the middle of December and one or the other is stealthily looking at the statistics again. Borussia Mönchengladbach has picked up three violent, sometimes historical claps in three Bundesliga games in a row and conceded 14 goals.
That is why memories of autumn 1998 are being brought back to life. A 2: 8 at home against Leverkusen and a 1: 7 away in Wolfsburg, it was one of the worst weeks in Gladbach’s club history.
Now Borussia didn’t come under the wheels quite as badly at 1: 4 in Leipzig on Saturday, but even the greatest optimists should not have missed the fact that six, seven or even more goals would have been possible against Leipzig. Borussia presented itself so desolate against a team that was also in crisis recently.
Gladbach captain Stindl treads a fine line
A good six weeks lie between the game of the century against Bayern and the meanwhile constant failures of all systems: First in the derby against Cologne, then at 0: 6 at home against Freiburg and now in Leipzig, where the opponents – once again – simply overrun the Gladbachers became. Gladbach is currently not struggling with one or maybe two slip-ups, but is faced with some fundamental problems.
Lars Stindl will be with us after the next oath of disclosure in Leipzig Sky given a remarkable interview. Stindl chose his words carefully, had to think a little longer several times before answering the critical questions.
It was noticeable to the captain that he was walking a very fine line: between open, relentless criticism of himself and his teammates and the diplomacy that one has to display as the leader of a team and therefore also responsible for the teammates.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: individual interests over the team?
Stindl could hardly say that this Borussia is not a team at the moment, not a collective and certainly not a sworn bunch where one runs and works for the other. Even if that is probably the case at the moment, the last impressions do not allow any other conclusion.
So he pushed around a little and wrapped the core of his statement in cheap words. But between the lines it became clear that there is currently no team playing here – rather a collection of individual interests. At Stindl it sounded like this: “Everyone did something for themselves and not together as a team.”
Just a week ago, Max Eberl was stunned in Borussia Park, watching the terrible goings-on on the square with a mixture of dismay and silent anger. After the game, the 0: 6 against Freiburg, the sports director ventured in his very own way.
“Sorry, what the shit is going on here right now – and why aren’t we fighting back?” He thought during the first half hour. Eberl had recognized a “frightened pile of chickens” that was once his team. “This is unique in a negative sense!”
Gladbach boss Eberl grabs the players with the honor
On Saturday evening Eberl sat in the Current gym in the ZDF. Again he had to explain himself, again he chose rather hearty words – but this time attacked his team more clearly. “Worrying is a good adjective for it. Nobody defended it like you have to defend in the Bundesliga. The players have to question themselves,” said Eberl.
He doesn’t want to see anyone pointing to the other. “Everyone has to grab their own nose. The team has to implement the issues on the pitch that are given by the coaching team. We will address mistakes and appeal to the players to a certain extent. We have to show eggs now!” On Sunday morning, Eberl declared himself in Sport1-Double pass again and the close timing of his live performances alone is alarm signal enough.
Borussia Mönchengladbach and the extreme discrepancy in the squad
The symptoms of the sadness of Gladbach are clear, but the search for the reasons for the sporty descent is not that easy. After a rather bumpy start to the season, Borussia believed that they were on the right track in the weeks that followed and that they were too safe in the development of the team. The supposed constancy is currently turning out to be a great fallacy.
What remains instead is an incredible discrepancy in the results and performance of individual players. Jonas Hofmann is currently in the shape of his life, Manu Kone is the newcomer of the season at Borussia. Alassane Plea seemed to be on the mend after a difficult start, and Yann Sommer is having a good season.
And then there is the group of negative developers: Florian Neuhaus cannot find his way out of his hole at all. The national player did not appear at all against Freiburg and Leipzig – ultimately perhaps even a fortunate circumstance for Neuhaus after he initiated the derby defeat in Cologne with a catastrophic bad pass.
Marcus Thuram is miles away from his best form after an injury, Ramy Bensebaini fluctuates between regional class and world class, Matthias Ginter is said to have a certain distraction due to the unresolved contract situation.
Ginter is not alone in the team, the contracts of some other players are also about to expire. From Eberl’s point of view, however, this should not be an excuse for the miserable performance, on the contrary: “At the moment I don’t really care about individual fates paid!”
No resilience, too many standard goals – and soon fewer fans?
The team is not at all resilient, and every setback leads to utter chaos on the spot. In Cologne it set the two decisive goals against it within 89 seconds, against Freiburg the 0: 1 followed less than three minutes later the 0: 2, after 37 minutes it was then 0: 6. in Leipzig it was sheer luck and the spectacular inefficiency of the opponent that prevented another absolute debacle.
There are currently a number of goals conceded by standards, another phenomenon that is difficult to explain. In principle, everyone knows what to do, the processes are clear and are shown in detail on the opponent in the respective game preparation. But the implementation in practice is simply devastating at the moment – because one relies on the other and does not take action himself.
And that’s why Borussia crashes. Currently it is 13th place, the lead on the relegation place 16 is only a meager two points. The actual goal of the season, qualifying for Europe or even the Champions League, is a long way off. And maybe soon the audience will be too. 15,000 fans were allowed against Freiburg, but only 10,025 came. And a considerable part had left the stadium again after half an hour.
Corona should open the eyes of some to the fact that there is more than to follow his club on the weekend. This is not an exclusive Gladbach problem, but Borussia will have to deal with it sooner or later. In any case, the first signs can already be seen.
Hütter near Gladbach on the verge of collapse? Eberl: “Discussion absurd”
Basically, Gladbach’s prerequisites are really good. The year and a half of the corona pandemic hit other clubs much harder, but Borussia came through relatively well financially. The squad has grown organically, in the summer there was not even the slightest hint of upheaval, the top performers could all be retained.
What was rated as particularly positive a few weeks ago has now been given a new coat of paint. As it is when neither the performance nor the results are right. Then it automatically becomes uncomfortable. For the trainer too?
“Isn’t it seriously the issue that a coach is questioned after two defeats?” “I find it so absurd what kind of questions are asked here. That I have to talk about something like this at the moment: I just have no words.” In his many appearances afterwards, on Saturday and Sunday, Eberl repeated his words.
Hütter has taken over a team that is in a steady downward trend in the 2021 calendar year. From a comfortable situation, the team gambled away all of the season’s goals last season, the decline was determined by the announced departure of Marco Rose. But apparently the problems are a little deeper. It will be the big task to identify and remedy these problems as quickly as possible. Otherwise the next messed up season threatens – and then, in summer, the great fluctuation.