Borussia Mönchengladbach's dismal season: What went wrong? What's going to change?
Photo via gettyimages/Martin Rose

Managerless, no European football for the second year running, Gladbach are in limbo. Players will have to leave amid financial strain and the future looks slightly bleak, but how can things take an upturn going into the 2022/23 season ?

Hütter Raus!

That was the call from Gladbach supporters only six months into his tenure after an embarrassing 6-0 hammering to SC Freiburg. The majority of the goals came from set pieces and was the first proof of an extremely leaky defence. 

Either side of the Freiburg disaster, Adi Hütter's team conceded four to local rivals Köln and RB Leipzig. They also were beaten by the same scoreline when Die Fohlen travelled to Borussia Dortmund in February and were again humiliated this time by ex-manager Marco Rose. 

Lets get this straight, Hütter is not a bad manager, he showed enough at Eintracht Frankfurt and BSC Young Boys, the Austrian will more than likely get another Bundesliga job especially with the high level of vacancies at the minute. 

But from early on he didn't look the right fit at Borussia-Park which was a slight concern after they forked out €8 million to prize him out of his deal with Frankfurt. 

He consistently muddled with formations and never seemed to know what his best starting eleven was. At Frankfurt he played a clearly defined 3-4-2-1 which suited the players he had at his disposal, the likes of Filip Kostic (one of the best crossers and wing backs in Europe), Daichi Kamada and Amin Younes who both played off striker André Silva with sumptuous style.

The insistence on playing with a high line was exposed more often than not. April's Rheinland Derby was one of the most alarming instances of this as Köln broke through their defence like a knife through butter time after time.

Eberl leaves

One significant off-field issue that left Gladbach in the dark was the departure of highly regarded sporting director Max Eberl.

Eberl announced he had been suffering with mental health issues and needed to take a break from the sport.

Firstly, it was encouraging that Eberl spoke up about what he was going through and hopefully can find the required help he needs.

Secondly, he leaves the club with a wonderful legacy of bringing the foals back to the top end of the Bundesliga and closer to the heights they enjoyed in the 1980s.

Eberl consistently found gems in the transfer market and turned over a large profit on them. Players like Granit Xhaka come to mind who left for Arsenal in 2016 for upwards of €30 million.

His successor Roland Virkus has a crucial summer ahead of him with a high level of player turnover expected.

Ginter gone

Although, Matthias Ginter did not enjoy his most consistent season in a Mönchengladbach shirt. The 28-year-old has built a commanding partnership with Nico Elvedi over a number of years at the heart of the defence.

He has now left the foals for his hometown side SC Freiburg. This is a strong indicator of where both clubs lie at this current moment. Gladbach have  traditionally been more successful than Freiburg and even a year ago were in a slightly superior position but due to Die Fohlen's failings Ginter has opted for this move. While Freiburg have become sustainable and stable under Christian Streich, his former employees look almost the opposite.

Gladbach did purchase Ginter's replacement in January though in Marvin Friedrich. Hütter didn't utilise him often and preferred to give youngster Jordan Beyer a place at centre back. Friedrich had been often one of the most consistent performers in an upwardly mobile Union Berlin outfit, who share many similarities to Ginter's Freiburg. 

Even since he left Union, they continued to defy the odds and went one better than last season by finishing in 6th spot and qualifying for the Europa League

Underperforming players

Florian Neuhaus is one of the most enjoyable and majestic midfielders in the Bundesliga but had a disappointing campaign by his high standards. This has culminated in him missing out on the latest Germany squad for their upcoming UEFA Nations League matches.

The 24-year-old's season did improve as it reached its conclusion, like the rest of the team. Which firstly highlights how bad the year really could have been for the foals and secondly, his start to the albeit short lived Hütter reign couldn't have been much worse.

Neuhaus wasn't fancied by Hütter initially with the now departed Denis Zakaria and Kouadio Koné his preferred midfield pairing during the Autumn months. This resulted in Neuhaus claiming "he deserved more backing from the club" but did in turn see an increase in game time.

Another player to perform below the expected level was Marcus Thuram. Famously known as Lillian's son, he announced his name in Germany with a remarkable debut campaign in 2019/20 scoring 10 goals and recording eight assists as Die Fohlen reached the Champions League.

Two years on and both couldn't seem further away from those heights with it looking likely that Thuram will depart this summer. This season he only managed three goal contributions in 21 appearances. Although, many of those did come off the bench.

Again like Neuhaus, Thuram has the talent to represent his country (he has four caps for France, including one at last summer's European Championships) which makes his return this year all the more frustrating.

What about the few positives ?

Jonas Hofmann was exceptional as he has been for Gladbach over a period of time now. He had his best goalscoring season of his career, scoring 12 times from attacking midfield and his performances as a whole were extremely impressive.

The bad news is that his contract is up in 2023 and said he will have "an honest exchange" with the foals' hierarchy. If the 29-year-old can stay for the foreseeable future then the chances of the club returning to European football will increase significantly.

Other positives include the emergence of youngsters Joe Scally and Kouadio Koné. The pair arrived from New York City FC and Toulouse, respectively last summer and both impressed amid the cloud over Borussia-Park.

Scally a full-back capable of playing on either flank has recently made USMNT squads and won the clubs player of the month award on numerous occasions.

As for Koné his performances in midfield were fantastic and instantly caught the eye in Gladbach's 1-0 win over Dortmund in September. This match was one of the few to remember last season but marked an unhappy return to his former club for Marco Rose.

For the future?

This summer is likely to mark the end of many players careers at the club. Including a number that were behind Gladbach's return to the Champions League in 2019/20. 

As mentioned above Thuram is likely to be leaving, Neuhaus may depart while Ginter has already confirmed his call to end his service with the club.

It will also mean arrivals, with no one at the minute being linked with a move to this part of the Rheinland but it will be interesting to see if they dip into the French market again which has proven to be successful on numerous occasions.

One person who may return is Lucien Favre as manager. The 64-year-old's last role was at Dortmund, leaving towards the end of 2020.

He has been linked with a number of clubs since including Crystal Palace last summer but this would seem to be a sensible appointment.

Favre exerts calmness and composure, two attributes that would be extremely beneficial to everyone at the club after a chaotic year. He also was in charge when Gladbach had their most successful season since the turn of the century. Finishing in 3rd place in 2015 which earmarked the crescendo of an incredible few years at Borussia-Park.

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