By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Bundesliga End of Season Awards: Gladbach's Player of the Season

In his first season as a Borussia Mönchengladbach player, Robin Hack has picked up the Bundesliga Player of the Season accolade for Gerardo Seoane’s side. His 4 votes from our team of writers proved enough to fend off competition from two other teammates.

Since their last finish inside the UEFA Champions League positions back in 2019-20, Borussia Mönchengladbach have struggled to break out of mid-table. Die Fohlen ended the campaign in 14th-place; their lowest since the 2010/11 campaign. The loss of household names like Jonas Hofmann, Marcus Thuram, Lars Stindl, Ramy Bensebaini, and Jordan Beyer looked ominous to many eyes. In truth, Bundesliga fans would have told you Gladbach would struggle before a ball was kicked and they did at times. However, one thing was clear – the rebuild had begun.

Die Fohlen’s final placement perhaps isn’t as bad as it appears. Reaching highs of 9th-place on Matchday 11, Gladbach spent just one solitary weekend in the relegation zone on Matchday 3. Better yet, their youthful replacements clicked well. So well that the cheapest of the lot, a savvy €1.1million fee for Robin Hack surpassed all expectations. Arriving from Arminia Bielefeld in summer, Hack was presumed to be a rotation purchase. Instead, the 25-year-old tagged on 10 goals and 2 assists in 29 appearances. Its worth noting only 14 of those 29 games were as part of the starting line-up. The epitome of an impact player. 

Under Seoane, Robin Hack picked up a number of positions on the field for Gladbach. Stints at centre-forward were perhaps most lucrative for the German, but his natural position is undoubtedly wide on the left flank. With the ability to take defenders on with his speed and close control, Hack presents a real handful for any opposition. The left-wing also enables him to cut infield on his preferred right foot, looking for space to curl shots towards goal. Over 60% of his goals came from that sequence. Adding a creative side to his game will be his next task, but Robin Hack has undoubtedly cast his name forward for a consistent starting berth for Gladbach next campaign.

STANDOUT PERFORMANCE:

This might be controversial but for me a brace against your arch-rivals outweighs a hat-trick in a defeat (Hack vs Hoffenheim 4-3 loss). A heated derby day for German clubs can make players into heroes or villains. As a consequence, I have selected Robin Hack’s brace on Bundesliga Matchday 25 against Rhinederby foes 1.FC Koln. As both teams exchanged goals in a tense opening half, Hack waited for his introduction in the 70th-minute. It took a matter of seconds for the German winger to impose himself on the game. Stefan Lainer crossed for the far stick where Hack arrived on que, outjumping Rasmus Karstensen to score via his first touch.

With parity restored a tense finish looked inevitable until Hack sent the Borussia-Park crowd into ecstasy. A Franck Honorat corner was redirected by Ko Itakura. The ball fell to Joe Scally who inadvertently set it up for his winger. As it dropped to earth, Hack swung a right foot through the crowd of bodies. A crisply struck 10-yard volley pierced Marvin Schwäbe’s net. The rattling of the stanchion made for a satisfactory soundbite. A strike that could have been a derby-defining goal but for Damion Downs leveller as it finished 3-3.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

Accompanying the German winger was Franck Honorat who narrowly missed out with 3 votes. The Frenchman also christened his career in Gladbach colours this season. Arriving from Stade Brestois for €8million, the right winger exhibited venomous set-piece ability which is testament to his 3 goals and 11 assists in 32 outings. The young Rocco Reitz also came close with 2 votes in what was a breakthrough season notching 6 goals and 3 assists of his own.

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