Matthew Marshall – Borussia-Park
Borussia Mönchengladbach maintained their position at the top of the Bundesliga with a thrilling 2-1 win against Bayern Munich at Borussia Park. Outclassed in the first half, Marco Rose’s side fell behind to an Ivan Perisic strike in the 49th minute, but a Ramy Bensebaini brace including an added time penalty secured all three points for the Foals.
One way traffic
The Bavarians bossed the first half, Thomas Müller steering Corentin Tolisso’s shot wide before Robert Lewandowski’s went close. Lewandowski volleyed wide after Thiago’s clever free kick, Kingsley Coman creating havoc on the right wing where his cross fell to Müller who forced a save from Yann Sommer.
Sommer was busy again minutes later as Joshua Kimmich’s strike squeezed under him, but the Gladbach keeper miraculously got his index finger on the ball that was an inch away from crossing the line.
Lewandowski’s spectacular volley sailed over the bar, Perisic shot over, Coman saw a strike saved, Goretzka headed over the bar, Coman and Perisic saw shots blocked but the visitors were unable to take the lead.
Second half turnaround
Stefan Lainer was caught out of position as Bayern Munich broke clear, Ivan Perisic taking advantage with a shot that was fumbled by Sommer for the opening goal. However, those that thought the Bavarians would run away with the game would be sorely mistaken.
Breel Embolo replaced Laszlo Benes in the 58th minute, a brave and necessary move from Marco Rose and the Swiss striker delivered by winning a corner two minutes later that was headed in by Ramy Bensebaini. The Foals were galloping forward with regularity with the pressure well and truly on the champions who were unable to regain control.
Jerome Boateng was injured in a clash with Marcus Thuram and replaced by Javi Martínez who would have a decisive impact on the game. A misjudged challenge on Thuram saw the Spaniard ejected and Gladbach awarded a penalty in added time, Bensebaini stepping up and burying it in front of the Nordkurve to secure a famous victory.
A long nine months
Bayern Munich last visited the Borussia-Park in March when Dieter Hecking’s side were completely outclassed in a 5-1 a defeat. The result flattered the hosts as an 8-1 win to the Bavarians would have been a deserved result.
Nine months later, with Marco Rose in charge and the four summer signings all playing important roles, the Foals are playing at a far higher level and there is real belief in Mönchengladbach that they can maintain a Bundesliga title challenge well into 2020.
Borussia Park a fortress once again
Borussia Mönchengladbach won 12 straight Bundesliga home matches from April 2018 to January 2019. Their shock 3-0 defeat to Hertha Berlin prompted a run of eight games where the Foals were unable to emerge victorious in front of their home fans.
Marco Rose’s side have turned it around at Borussia-Park, winning seven straight home games in all competitions including a 2-1 win against Roma that got their UEFA Europa League campaign back on track. They have been unable to keep a clean sheet during that run, an aspect that needs to be rectified, but their attacking threat has meant that Gladbach have been able to overcome their defensive deficiencies.
Room for improvement
It’s going to take much more time for Borussia Mönchengladbach to fully adapt to Marco Rose’s tactics. The individual and collective failure that allowed Bayern Munich to take the lead needs to be rectified, but once the creases are ironed out expect much more improvement from the foals.
Central midfield is still a work in progress, but it says much about Rose that Christoph Kramer and Tobias Strobl were on the bench despite playing against the FC Bayern powerhouse. He has full trust in his squad, exemplified by benching Breel Embolo and Patrick Herrmann, two players that were instrumental in the 4-2 win against Freiburg last week.
Table doesn’t lie
Borussia Mönchengladbach sit one point ahead of RB Leipzig after Matchday 14 with Bayern Munich seven points behind in sixth, which could become seventh should Bayer Leverkusen beat Schalke.
Niklas Süle’s long term injury is clearly a cruel blow, Lucas Hernández out until January doesn’t help while Jérôme Boateng’s best days looks well and truly behind him. Thiago’s erratic passing is a big concern while the Thomas Müller and Philippe Coutinho conundrum continues.
Bayern Munich will consider themselves unlucky not to turn their first half domination into goals. It was the same story last week as their dominant performance in the second half was unable to create an equaliser against a brave Bayer Leverkusen.
Hansi Flick’s honeymoon period is well and truly over after two straight defeats. Their seven-year dominance of the Bundesliga is under serious threat with the emergence of Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach as title contenders alongside Borussia Dortmund.