Gladbach celebrate Groundhog Day after upsetting Bayern yet again | Andy Brassell

Borussia Mönchengladbach’s social media crew couldn’t resist it. As the ultimate whistle blew on their results of the season – the outcome, most likely, of most seasons – there was a put up to acknowledge the victory over Bayern Munich. Then immediately there was a nonetheless of Invoice Murray’s misanthropic TV reporter Phil Connors, ready for Punxsutawney Phil to pop his furry head out of the hatch, with no additional remark. This was their, and the champions’, Groundhog Day. As a result of even towards the inevitable Bayern, Die Fohlen have been right here earlier than.

Unbeaten of their final 5 conferences, solely misplaced two of the final 9, gained seven of the final 13 – whichever manner you body it, Gladbach know find out how to get the most effective of Bayern higher than any of their Bundesliga rivals. Final season, the closest the Rekordmeister has to a bogey crew even dumped them out of the DfB Pokal in jaw-droppingly emphatic fashion, with Borussia profitable 5-0 at Borussia-Park.

However right here, now, at this second, on this form? After a season that started with promise beneath Daniel Farke and started to fizzle out in a deluge of inconsistency? After an exodus started to take form, with Marcus Thuram, completed defender Ramy Bensabaïni and veteran striker (and captain) Lars Stindl all out of contract on the season’s finish? After Farke himself publicly trashed Gladbach’s hopes of reaching European soccer this season within the press convention earlier than this sport?

One had already gone, and arguably the crown jewel at that. Yann Sommer grasped his opportunity, and few even of a Borussia persuasion would have begrudged him. The hardcore definitely didn’t. A banner on the Kurve earlier than kick-off thanked him for “eight-and-a-half years of massive performances, not massive phrases” as he returned to his outdated ends for the primary time since leaving to switch the injured Manuel Neuer at Bayern Munich final month, stepping as much as the elite degree that his years of excellence deserved. Thuram, predictably, was clad in Sommer’s inexperienced jersey after the ultimate whistle, utilizing his acquainted appeal to snare the prized swap. What was much less predictable was that the France ahead could be celebrating victory together with his teammates, having craftily positioned the winner previous Sommer.

Bayern had extenuating circumstances to replicate on. Dayot Upamecano’s crimson card after eight minutes would have modified any sport however this one – recalling his troublesome debut for Bayern on the identical floor – hit the guests onerous. Vindicated and commemorated, much more so than Thuram, for a typically glorious World Cup efficiency, Upamecano has been the commercial sealant smoothing over one of many champions’ earlier downside areas. He was peerless in the Champions League in Paris too, suggesting that Bayern’s defensive discomforts have been behind them.

An incandescent Julian Nagelsmann vociferously complained within the tunnel, on and off digicam, that his defender’s contact with Alessane Pléa had been minimal and too harshly punished. “He (referee Tobias Welz) is a human being,” stated Nagelsmann, “and even referees make errors. It’s simply not a crimson.” (He apologised on Sunday for having “gone too far”.) They’d began properly and have been glorious within the circumstances, taking part in over 80 minutes with 10 males, and will have gained the sport. However once you’re Bayern, excuses and causes are the identical factor. It makes no distinction.

Yann Sommer was back at Borussia-Park soon after signing for Bayern Munich as cover for Manuel Neuer.
Yann Sommer was again at Borussia-Park quickly after signing for Bayern Munich as cowl for Manuel Neuer. {Photograph}: Thilo Schmülgen/Reuters

For all their hegemony, that is the place that at all times will get them. Regardless of the venue, although, Gladbach is persistently the fly that sits on Bayern’s nostril however then zips away, that they’ll’t appear to swat regardless of what number of swings of the newspaper they’ve. It was tempting to wonder if Nagelsmann’s fury was partly fuelled by that, the persevering with lack of ability to crack Bayern’s Da Vinci Code.

It’s much more perplexing in a time of nice uncertainty for Gladbach. After the departure of the long-serving, revered and dependable Max Eberl, Roland Virkus lately celebrated his first anniversary as sporting director, appointed after 30 years of service to the membership having began out as a youth coach in 1990. It wasn’t a straightforward first 12 months and it is just going to get tougher. Thuram can have his decide of a clutch of plum European locations in the summertime (Virkus confirmed on Sunday Gladbach had given up attempting to persuade him to remain), having so impressed on the World Cup. Bensabaïni is predicted to affix Borussia Dortmund, and Stindl, who bought the ball rolling with a usually sensible end within the first half, has been linked with dropping a division and a transfer residence to Karlsruhe.

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It would take greater than a day of frolic at Bayern’s expense to change projections of the longer term, with the hole to the European locations increasing from three factors to 9 for the reason that resumption of play (a spot that is still even after beating Bayern). “We’re not able to complete the season within the prime six,” Farke informed journalists on Thursday. “That gained’t occur.” He talked extra expansively on the truth of a altering of the guard, wanting again on the earlier week’s loss at Hertha – nice begin to the match, dreadful finish – as symptomatic of future rising pains. “We’re dealing with a change, that’s for positive,” he stated. “The numerous younger gamers who have been on the pitch are flawed to a point or one other, however that’s a path that we have now to go down.”

If there may be one which Farke and Virkus should jealously cling to it’s absolutely Manu Koné, at 21 a ball-winning, possession-retaining, ground-gaining blur of productiveness right here – and never for the primary time towards Bayern. With the Frenchman and Jonas Hofmann, scorer of the second objective to place Gladbach again in entrance and creator of Thuram’s decisive strike, one thing resembling a core stays. Time will inform whether or not the final to go away Mönchengladbach ought to end up the sunshine, or whether or not there may be sufficient left to fulfill the meter for the medium time period.

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Bundesliga outcomes


Bundesliga outcomes

Augsburg 1-0 Hoffenheim, Bochum 0-2 Freiburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-2 Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 Werder Bremen, Suttgart 3-2 Köln, Wolfsburg 0-3 RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen 2-3 Mainz, Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Hertha Berlin, Union Berlin 0-0 Schalke

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Speaking factors

  • It was all set, then, for Union to finish a rare week, after Thursday’s Europa League draw at Ajax, by beating Schalke earlier than their massive sport at Bayern Munich subsequent Sunday. It didn’t work out like that with Urs Fischer’s aspect wanting a contact drained from their efforts in Amsterdam. A fourth straight goalless draw for the division’s backside aspect as they enhance beneath Thomas Reis – a Bundesliga report and really creditable given their season thus far and the sources at their disposal, although whether or not attracts are sufficient for them as they sit six factors from security, with Stuttgart and Augsburg each profitable this weekend, is uncertain.

  • In truth it’s a three-way tie on factors on the prime now; Bayern, Union and now second-placed Dortmund are all on 43 factors after the latter’s flattering 4-1 win over Hertha. Edin Terzic’s raft of adjustments didn’t cease Karim Adeyemi inspiring BVB within the first half with a objective and an help (although he pulled a hamstring organising Donyell Malen) with Marco Reus’s scrumptious free-kick serving to to safe the factors. “Let’s not get smug now,” warned Terzic after an eighth straight win in 2023.

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