The first round of Bundesliga fixtures for the 2016-2017 season are to be played over the course of this weekend, when two of Germany’s four Champions League representatives will play another.
Those are Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen with the pair set to meet at the former’s Stadion im Borussia-Park.
Whilst at the end of the 2014-15 Bundesliga campaign, Monchengladbach were third and Leverkusen fourth, there was a reversal of those positions last season. Specifically Leverkusen finished five points ahead of Monchengladbach and in doing so secured automatic qualification to the group stages of this season’s Champions League, along with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Schubert’s side overwhelm BSC Young Boys
Also joining the trio in the group stage of European football’s elite club competition are Monchengladbach, after Andre Schubert’s side successfully progressed from their qualifying play-off encounter against BSC Young Boys by comprehensively defeating the Swiss side 9-2 on aggregate.
In both legs of the tie Monchengladbach produced extremely assured and competent performances to completely outplay their Swiss opponents, whilst in doing so they built up a great deal of confidence ahead of the Bundesliga season.
Whilst Monchengladbach displayed control and discipline to beat BSC Young Boys 3-1 in Bern, during the return game Schubert’s team played a wonderfully expansive attacking game, which resulted in them securing a thoroughly impressive 6-1 victory.
From the outset of that, Monchengladbach showed great desire and enthusiasm to substantiate their advantage from the first leg, which they were rewarded for, as both their experienced Brazilian striker Raffael and Thorgan Hazard scored hat-trick.
Despite being highly convincing, the margin of Monchengladbach’s victory could have been wider had it not been for some inspired interventions by BSC Young boys goalkeeper Yvon Mvongo.
Monchengladbach talented players in fine early season form
In stark contrast to that, Mvongo’s Monchengladbach’s counterpart Yann Sommer was rarely tested in either game, whilst neither were the defensive trio of Andreas Christensen, Nico Elvedi and Tony Jantschke, who combined to form a strong unit in front of the Swiss international goalkeeper.
Nevertheless Monchengladbach’s concession of a goal in both legs of their tie against BSC Young Boys was attributable to moments of complacency in defence, which Schubert will strongly encourage his players to eradicate from future performances, so that they do not risk undoing the fine attacking work which they undertake.
Chief architects of that work are captain Lars Stindl, along with the wide pair of Fabian Johnson and Ibrahima Traore. Each of those three players are capable of both scoring goals and providing quality service Raffael and Hazard, who invariably spearhead Monchengladbach’s attack, although Andre Hahn is another excellent striking option available to Schubert.
Confidence high among Monchengladbach squad
As such at present the 45-year-old manager is working with an extremely talented group of players, who are full of confidence, after earning their place in the group stage of this season’s Champions League.
Prior to the commencement of that on either 13 or 14 September, Monchengladbach will play two Bundesliga games, with the first of those being against Bayer Leverkusen, which is set to be an extremely keenly contested affair.