Borussia Mönchengladbach – Match Report vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen 23/05/2020

Borussia Mönchengladbach suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen in a clash that involved two sides who were competing for the top 4, and as a result saw Gladbach leapfrogged by Leverkusen in the Bundesliga table.

Gladbach set up in a fairly fluid 4-2-3-1 formation but saw their initial tactics slightly adjusted due to an early injury for Breel Embolo. Borussia Mönchengladbach really struggled to get going in the first half finding themselves unable to pose any real threat and went into the break a goal down, fortunate that it was not more thanks to an Elvedi goal line clearance.

In the second half they played more direct and looked to use Thuram through the middle and this seemed to be working well as he found an equaliser. However, they were only on level terms for a few minutes before Leverkusen were awarded a controversial penalty that was then dispatched. They tried to get back into the match but their hopes were dashed when they conceded a set piece with 10 minutes left to play. Overall, Gladbach really struggled to get going for long periods of the match and failed to pose a consistent threat to the opposition goal.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average, don’t follow up

Marcus Thuram

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 06/08/1997
  • Current Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Career: Sochaux, Guingamp, Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary Position: Right Wing / Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Starting out on the left hand side Thuram had a first half to forget, really failing to have much of an impact on proceedings despite his best efforts. However, as the game progressed and he adopted a more central role, he became the focal point of Gladbach attacks and managed to score a well taken goal before being substituted with 15 minutes left to play.

Thuram tried to make things happen with the ball at his feet all afternoon, despite struggling to get into the game at first. His close control was generally good, allowing him to beat his man and his power and strength when dribbling that allowed him to breeze past and brush off defenders. However, occasionally he was guilty of trying to do too much and consequently running into trouble and losing possession. He used his pace to break the defensive line with runs in behind and was capable of making them from out wide into central areas or from central areas into the channels.

The Frenchman showed great heading ability, posing a big aerial threat at 6’3″ and was the target of many of his team’s long clearances from the goalkeeper or defence. This was only accentuated by his move to striker at half time, winning many flick ons and competing well in a physical battle with the central defender. Thuram’s ability to either hold up the play or turn and run in behind makes him very difficult to defend against and this was where his goal came from: cleverly using his chest to lay off a long pass and then a few seconds later drifting off the back of the defender to get in behind and finish with aplomb.

Defensively, the 22 year old reluctantly fulfilled his duties, but at times failed to track the full back when playing as a winger. Yet he was able to press well from the front, making himself an imposing figure when quickly closing down his opponent.

Overall, having struggled in the first half, Thuram had an excellent second half before being substituted and showed exactly what he is capable of. Based upon this performance Thuram is one of Gladbach’s standout players and should only get better.

Rating – A2

Ramy Bensebaini

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Algerian
  • Age: 25
  • Date of birth: 16/04/1995
  • Current Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Career: Paradou AC, Lierse (L), Montpellier (L), Rennes, Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Position: Left Back
  • Secondary Position: Central Defender
  • Preferred foot: Left

Ramy Bensebaini had a good game playing at left back despite his team losing, but also made some defensive errors that let him down at times. In attack the Algerian showed good skill on the ball, using his close control to win fouls or beat a defender, whilst he also had a solid burst of pace that he used to drive down the left wing. His passing was crisp and he showed impressive vision to make some clever passes but unfortunately the intended target was caught offside on a couple of occasions, perhaps as a result of poor timing. Bensebaini got forward at every available opportunity but was in the end unable to create much in the way of clear cut chances and slashed at a shot from range.

Standing at 6’2″, the left back won several key aerial battles and is an excellent aerial presence, whether that be winning defensive duels or in the opposition penalty area. The 25 year old is a very positive and aggressive defender, quickly getting out to his opponent and not allowing him time to turn or make a forwards pass. He presses very high against the attacker and this worked well the majority of the time, winning the ball high up in dangerous areas with strong tackles or clever interceptions. In a game where Gladbach were unable win possession for long periods, Bensebaini provided an outlet when making positive turnovers in the middle third.

However, this eagerness to win the ball was also a downfall for the defender on occasion, making a cynical foul to receive a yellow card and then perhaps finding himself lucky to not be sent off after another reckless challenge. Furthermore, his attacking intent coupled with this high pressing meant that he was sometimes caught out by runs in behind and was unable to recover, leaving the centre back exposed.

On the whole, Bensebaini won the ball in some promising areas and provided a good attacking and aerial threat, yet he was also caught out too often and made some rash challenges.

Rating: B1

Nico Elvedi

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Swiss
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 30/09/1996
  • Current Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Career: FC Zürich, Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Secondary Position: Right Back / Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Central defender Nico Elvedi had a solid game, looking comfortable in possession, but he also made a couple of poor defensive decisions. Defensively, the Swiss international covered well for his teammates, tidying up several loose balls and positioning himself well to intervene if one of the other defenders was beaten. He battled well in challenges and the 6’2″ centre back was strong in the tackle, winning possession on a couple of occasions. His positioning allowed him to make important interventions, including an interception and vital goal line clearance on the stroke of half time to ensure that his team only went into the break one goal down. For the clearance, he showed great defensive instincts to throw his foot in the direction of the ball despite it seeming inevitable that the Leverkusen forward would score.

However, Elvedi was caught out in behind by the pace of the opposition frontline at times and also overcommitted to completely miss a tackle and leave his team exposed at one point, despite showing good pace to try and get there. He also lost the aerial duel with the attacker for Leverkusen’s third as his man headed home from close range.

The 23 year old was very assured with the ball at his feet, rarely giving away possession. He primarily took the simple option when passing but also demonstrated his capability to find progressive passes into the midfielders and forwards. He also rarely stepped out from defence with the ball at his feet but on the one or two occasions that he did, he seemed confident and composed.

Elvedi showed some impressive defensive instincts and attributes and was composed on the ball but also struggled on occasion with the speed and skill of the Leverkusen front line.

Rating: B1

Florian Neuhaus

Player profile:

  • Nationality: German
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 16/03/1997
  • Current Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Career: 1860 Munich, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Fortuna Düsseldorf (L)
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Secondary Position: 10
  • Preferred foot: Right

Florian Neuhaus displayed his obvious qualities at times today but also made some needless errors in midfield. The German was mixed in possession, having some loose touches and making some poor passes to give away possession cheaply or overhitting passes having picked the ball up in dangerous areas.

His first time passes in particular let his game down. However, he also made some very tidy passes and as the game progressed he found some clever through balls and progressive passes into the likes of Thuram. He was able to dribble but preferred to pass and therefore he often released the ball early. At one stage he did take two or three touches to drive inside and hit a stinging shot from the edge of the box that was palmed away by the keeper. In addition, Neuhaus made some clever third man runs to try and support the forwards but they came to nothing.

In defensive situations, Neuhaus battled hard but was fairly lightweight and so struggled in physical contests. He made some sharp interceptions to win possession in midfield and showed good aggression when hassling his opponent. Yet at times he showed a lack of awareness when his midfield partner drove up field and he failed to cover, therefore leaving a large gap between the defence and midfield which the opposition was able to counter attack into.

Overall, Neuhaus had quite a disappointing game with regards to some aspects of his play such as ball retention and defensive awareness, but he also showed the great vision and technique that he clearly possesses.

Rating: B2

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