Frankfurt remind Gladbach’s Hütter what he left behind | DW | 15.12.2021

Borussia Mönchengladbach 2 – 3 Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Park
(Neuhaus 6′, Bensebaini 54′ pen. – Borre 45′, Lindstrom 50′, Kamada 55′ Tuta s/o 70′) 

As his team threatened to implode once again in the second half, Adi Hütter turned to his assistant coaches hoping to hatch a plan to reverse the tide that has overcome the Foals in recent weeks. A few seats down, Gladbach’s sporting director, Max Eberl, looked on, barely containing his fury.

“We are all to blame. I don’t want to see anyone pointing the finger at anyone else. We all have a responsibility. We all have to deal with this together,” Eberl had told German public broadcaster ZDF earlier in the week after a run that had seen Gladbach concede 14 goals in three defeats. 

For a while, it looked as if those words had got through. Florian Neuhaus, dropped by Hütter for those three matches despite goals in the two previous games, pinged in a bouncing ball from the edge of the box as the hosts started fast. An intensity that had been missing appeared to have been rediscovered, even if the quality displayed by the German international’s finish asked questions of Hütter’s selections.

When the Austrian coach left Frankfurt for Gladbach at the start of the season, the likes of Neuhaus, Marcus Thuram, Alassane Plea, Yann Sommer, Jonas Hofmann and Denis Zakaria would have been a significant draw.

Going backwards

As it is, none has improved this term and Zakaria had to carry the can on his own, regardless of Eberl’s sentiment, for the goal before the break, which reopened the cracks so ruthlessly exposed by Cologne, Freiburg and RB Leipzig.

The Swiss midfielder tried to dribble out of defense and was dispossesed, allowing Rafael Santos Borre to eventually poke home a low cross from close range. Their fragile confidence smashed, the home side started the second half sluggishly and the excellent Jesper Lindstrom lashed home another low ball across the box just after the break.

Borussia Mönchengladbach have conceded 17 in their last four games

A penalty out of not much was converted by Ramy Bensebaini before Daichi Kamada was allowed to play a simple one-two and convert an excellent left-footed finish past Sommer at the far post. Even a numerical advantage was not enough, with only a Matthias Ginter long-ranger bothering Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp in the last 20 minutes.

Eagles soaring

Hütter would have recognized the resilience with which Frankfurt held on in that period and the shrewd recruitment that bought Lindstrom to the club from Brondby in the summer. It was Frankfurt that looked the united force, the true team, the group willing to take collective responsibility.

That’s now five out of six Bundesliga wins for their new coach Oliver Glasner after a patchy start. Hütter may take heart from how his successor has turned things around, even while casting an envious glance his way as he considers a relegation battle. A side who played Manchester City in the Champions League knockouts in February are just a point above the relegation playoff spot. Hütter may well be concerned that collective responsibility only stretches so far.

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