Following a stuttering start to the season, Gerardo Seoane will hope his Fohlenelf will build on their impressive home win over this season’s surprise package Stuttgart and climb further up the table.

Gladbach attacked from the outset, as summer signing Robin Hack gave the hosts the lead after 20 seconds and completed his brace before 20 minutes.

VfB responded through a well-taken Josha Vagnoman strike to claw themselves back into the game, but the search for an equaliser left the Swabians exposed at the back and USA international Jordan netted his third Bundesliga goal of the season to seal the win.

Sebastian Hoeneß will rue the dropped points as Borussia Dortmund find themselves just four points behind his side.

RB Leipzig’s loss to Eintracht Frankfurt means VfB are still in third, but the chasing pack are closing the gap to the UEFA Champions League places.

  • Robin Hack scores his first Borussia goals

 

Robin Hack was signed from recently relegated Arminia Bielefeld in the summer of 2023 and until Sunday afternoon, had not scored a goal for the club.

However, he may have turned a corner at Gladbach with his best performance yet having struggled to break into Seoane’s first team on a regular basis.

With the manner in which the 25-year-old finished both chances, you would struggle to believe he had yet to score for the Foals this season.

The former Bielefeld man was full of energy and running, looking visibly shattered as he was replaced by Florian Neuhaus after 92 intense minutes, particularly in the second half where Stuttgart were pushing heavily to get back into the game.

Aged just 25 and suffering back-to-back relegations with former club Bielefeld, Hack is back in the Bundesliga and has scored his first goals in the top flight since his solitary effort in the 2017-18 season with TSG Hoffenheim. 

  • VfB will be disappointed to start the Rückrunde with a loss

 

Sebastian Hoeneß said before the game that trips to Mönchengladbach are always difficult due to the atmosphere and type of football the Foals play.

It was clear from the outset that it was going to be an incredibly difficult game, despite the resurgence in the second half, VfB were always chasing the game.

With Dortmund winning in Darmstadt, the race for a top four place is hotting up.

Although Leipzig losing at home to Frankfurt is an opportunity for Hoeneß and his side to put these dropped behind them.

With a trip to Bochum and a visit from Leipzig on the horizon, VfB’s next fixtures do not promise any respite.

However, these are the games that will test their capability to remain in a top-four spot come May.

  • Borussia have a solid core of good players despite key absentees

Die Fohlen were in a tricky position in the transfer window last summer, as a result of a number of high profile departures such as the unexpected loss of Jonas Hofmann to Bayer Leverkusen and losing Ramy Bensabaïni, Marcus Thuram and Lars Stindl on free transfers.

This resulted in a modest transfer spend on incoming players which has had both negative and positive impacts on the side, which we are now seeing with the emergence of boyhood fan and midfield sensation Rocco Reitz.

Reitz eloquently assisted Hack for the opening goal against Stuttgart, adding to his four-goal tally so far this season.

Jonas Omlin was appointed club captain in the summer and underwent shoulder surgery in September, meaning Borussia have been without their first choice goalkeeper and most authoritative figure in the dressing room for over five months.

Seoane is also without Japanese centre back Ko Itakura, who is currently with his national team in the Asia Cup. 

Marvin Friedrich who was almost completely out of the picture under former Foals boss Daniel Farke, has found minutes easier to come by under his new Trainer.

The former Union Berlin man was solid against Stuttgart, his headed knock-down was pivotal in the build-up of Gladbach’s second goal.

Managing Director for Sport Roland Virkus is seemingly turning the ship around off the pitch in Mönchengladbach.

A few additions to augment what solid foundations are already there and Die Fohlen may be outsiders to push for European football next season.

  • VfB could not get the better of the resolute Gladbach defence

 

Sebastian Hoeneß’ side dominated the ball, but were susceptible to counter attacks and Gladbach’s deep, second-half shape proved too hard to break down more than once.

The absence of Serhou Guirassy and Silas at the African Cup of Nations resulted in a different line-up for VfB, with Vagnoman pushed further forward and Pascal Stenzel at right back.

Hoeneß’ side seemed to lack a real cutting edge and the nature of Gladbach’s play in the second half frustrated the more possession-oriented Stuttgart who could not seem to break through the Foals’ compact midfield.

In the end the game was killed on the counter, Stuttgart were in a difficult position and despite 90 minutes of running, Manu Koné was able to find a fresh-legged Jordan who ensured all three points at the death.

Deniz Undav and Enzo Millot were less fruitful as a forward partnership than we are used to seeing from them, but Jamie Leweling was lively off the bench and played a big part in finding Vagnoman for what was ultimately just a consolation goal.

  • Gladbach fail to keep clean sheet for sixth game in a row

 

Moritz Nicolas has performed admirably while filling in for Omlin, but Gladbach will hope the Swiss stopper’s return is on the horizon.

The fault cannot always lie with the goalkeeper and in the case of Stuttgart’s visit, it was not a bad defensive performance by any means.

According to the Bundesliga’s stats provider AWS, The Foals had just 32% of possession but an xG of 2.11. Seoane’s side had just four shots throughout 90 minutes of action, but scored three goals.

It was a classic, well-performed defensive display with clinical finishing on the counter.

There would be no complaints, other than the fact that this is the hosts’ sixth game in a row that they have failed to keep a clean sheet, despite limiting Stuttgart to just two shots on target.

In the grand scheme of things it is not a pressing issue, but having conceded ten times in their last six Bundesliga matches, it is something Seoane will undoubtedly work on in the coming weeks.

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