Borussia Mönchengladbach will compete in the UEFA Champions League. For the first time in four years, next season. But how did Marcus Thuram, Alassane Plea, and the rest of the team do it? Gladbach Champions League secured a top-four finish with a 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin. On the last day of the season, they ensured Champions League participation for only the third time in club history.
1) Astute Summer Acquisitions
After losing a fourth place to Bayer Leverkusen on the final day of the 2018/19 season. Gladbach Champions League set about correcting that mistake immediately in the off-season. Ramy Bensebaini joined from Stade Rennais, and Stefan Lainer joined from Red Bull Salzburg. Breel Embolo switched from Schalke to Gladbach Champions League, and Thuram joined from Guingamp.
All four went on to play crucial roles in assisting Gladbach Champions League to return the favor. And defeat Leverkusen on a dramatic final matchday this time around. And sporting director Max Eberl must be credited for making these changes possible. Eberl, a former Gladbach Champions League player, certainly understands how to market the club. To potential arrivals and what qualities match the Foals’ ethos.
Bensebaini, he added, had variety and “a lot of experience,” while the “dynamic” Lainer had a “strong mindset,”. Embolo was a “deadly forward,” and Thuram was everything “quick, sturdy, and dangerous.”
Nearly a year later, it’s difficult to dispute with any of those appraisals. Along with the four making 109 Bundesliga appearances between them in their debut season. Further contributing to no less than 24 of the club’s 66 league goals (36.4%).
2) Marco Rose’s Influence
Rose, a fully contemporary type of coach, was another big addition last year. Before Eberl and the board came knocking, the 43-year-old former Hannover and Mainz defender. They had enjoyed a tremendously successful two-year career at Salzburg. Further winning back-to-back league titles and the Austrian Cup.
And he lost no time in galvanizing Gladbach Champions League, propelling them to the top of the Bundesliga standings following Matchday 7. They would maintain their lead for another seven weeks, defeating defending champions Bayern Munich 2-1. On Matchday 14 to secure their greatest start to a Bundesliga season since 1976/77.
It had the club dreaming of a sixth Meisterschale. And the first since the 1976/77 season – and, despite failing to stay up with Bayern. Gladbach Champions League fans will be content with a top-four finish. And a seat at Europe’s top table. That is undeniably true of the man himself.
Qualifying for the Champions League is a really unique occasion for our team. Rose stated following the win against Hertha Berlin. I am tremendously proud of the guys and the club. And I am overjoyed for everyone who has a Gladbach Champions League heart.
Rose’s first season record is P34, W20, D5, and L9. Along with a 59 percent win rate. Suppose Rose can do this in his first year at the club. What can he expect between now and the conclusion of his current deal in 2022?
3) Plea’s Flawless Performance (Ten Out of Ten)
“They presented me analysis and statistics. They’d seen a lot of matches since I was 18 years old. “Alassane Plea described his initial meetings with Gladbach Champions League after signing a two-year contract with the club two summers ago. “That appealed to me. Because they didn’t have a profile like mine, they believed I was the ideal player to round out their attack.”
Plea, now clearly an old hand compared to the aforementioned new additions, seems to enjoy his second season with the Foals and appears to be a wonderful match at Borussia-Park.
Plea, who scored 12 league goals in his first season in Germany, looked even more energized with the additions of Embolo and Thuram on either side of him in the attack. The French striker has ten goals and ten assists, which ranked first and second among Gladbach Champions League players.
Those 20 combined goals represent a four-goal increase on his return of 16 last year (12 goals/four assists), and the 27-year-performance old’s was critical to his squad finishing the season as the fourth-highest scorers in the league, only outscored by the three teams above them.
Plea’s absence for the final four games of the season due to a combination of fitness and suspension, combined with Thuram’s injury that ruled him out of the last three matchdays – all of which Gladbach Champions League won – was softened by the late-season form of Embolo, fit-again captain Lars Stindl, Patrick Hermann, and Jonas Hofmann who notched eight goals and five assists between them across Matchdays 30-34.
4) A Firm Base
Yann Sommer quickly praised the stand-ins once Champions League qualifying was secured. Further stating, “We’ve lost a lot of crucial players in recent weeks, but the men who have stepped into the team have done a wonderful job.” We’re a good team, and that’s why we’re so successful.”
However, a more established formula from earlier in the game allowed Sommer’s colleagues to make a difference going forward. This season, the Swiss goalkeeper made more saves (126) than any other keeper in the league and has the greatest shot-to-save ratio (75.2%) of everyone who played in more than ten league games in 2019/20.
Sommer, Lainer, Nico Elvedi, and Matthias Ginter were constants in a defense that allowed only 40 goals all season. Only Bayern (32) and RB Leipzig (37) surrendered fewer goals than Gladbach Champions League, with Bensebaini and Oscar Wendt mostly sharing left-back responsibilities.
Gladbach Champions League was at ease playing out from the back, with Elvedi finishing the season with the division’s equal-highest pass completion percentage of 95%. That gave Gladbach Champions League a platform to play from, as the Rose model produced an energetic, dynamic brand of football that earned the Foals their moniker while running over rivals in the 1970s with a team full of young vim and vigor.
5) Conveniences at Home
Gladbach Champions League‘s victory over Hertha on Matchday 34 was their 12th at home this season. Overall, they scored 38 points at Borussia Park, losing only three occasions and drawing the other two. They were very clinical at home, scoring 61% of their total goals against their opponents. It is a great home record, only surpassed by Bayern (41 points), who won one more game to extend their record number of Bundesliga titles to 29.
Gladbach Champions League won some memorable home games along the way, none more so than their come-from-behind victory over the champions on Matchday 14 in December. Bensebaini struck both goals that day, including a 93rd-minute penalty, and, incredibly, that was the last time Bayern lost in the league.
Had Gladbach Champions League‘s away form been better (P17, W8, D3, L6) then. That early title tilt may have been longer sustained. That return – the seventh-best in the league – was despite Stindl’s superb displays on their travels as the 31-year-old hit braces in three of those eight away wins.