Germany: Bundesliga
FT
0 - 3
(0 - 2)
Gladbach
Leverkusen
V. Boniface (18), J. Tah (45), V. Boniface (53)
By Rune Gjerulff@runegjerulff

Heavy home defeat highlights problems for new Gladbach team

Bulinews.com traveled to Mönchengladbach over the weekend to to get a first-hand look at the state of the new Fohlen team. If there was any doubt before Saturday's clear 0-3 defeat to local rivals Bayer Leverkusen, new Gladbach coach Gerardo Seoane has a really tough job ahead of him.
MÖNCHENGLADBACH: It wasn't at all surprising that Borussia Mönchengladbach went down to a defeat against Nordrhein-Westfalen rivals Bayer Leverkusen at Borussia-Park on Saturday.

Gladbach are in the midst of a rebuilding phase, having lost key players Yann Sommer, Ramy Benbaini, Lars Stindl, Jonas Hofmann and Marcus Thuram in less than a year. They also have a new coach in Gerardo Seoane, who was hired over the summer to replace Daniel Farke.

Bayer Leverkusen, on the other hand, look like a strengthened team after an already impressive second half of last season with Xabi Alonso in the dugout. While keeping the core of last season's squad, with the exception of Moussa Diaby, Leverkusen have made some promising summer signings, including Alejandro Grimaldo, Victor Boniface, Granit Xhaka and Jonas Hofmann, who returned to Borussia-Park for the first time after his controversial summer move from Gladbach.

For weeks now, those in charge at Borussia-Park have warned that the road to rebuilding the club will be long and bumpy. Nevertheless, the nature of the 3-0 defeat should be of concern to Seoane and Gladbach, who were fortunate not to concede more goals in a game in which they were inferior in every respect. Seoane himself acknowledged this after the match against his former employers.

"The result is fair, even though we lost by such a large margin. Leverkusen were the better team, especially in the first half. We didn't play to our potential today," Seoane said in a post-match interview.

"We didn't manage to withstand the pressure from the other team, to stay compact and alert. It was only when Leverkusen took their foot off the gas towards the end that we managed to find our feet.”



Clear weaknesses
While the game against Leverkusen was an obvious setback, Gladbach's wild 4-4 opening draw with Augsburg already revealed major weaknesses, particularly in defense and central midfield, that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Especially the left side of defense, where Joe Scally played against Leverkusen in the absence of the injured Luca Netz, has been highlighted as a weak point. As for the central midfield, it seems fair to ask if Gladbach have enough creativity. Much of the responsibility in this area rests on the shoulders of the club's new number 10, Florian Neuhaus, who has yet to prove he's up to the task.

However, the solution is not to sign new players, according to Gladbach's managing director for sport Roland Virkus, who came out to support Luca Netz after his underwhelming performance in the 4-4 draw with Augsburg.

"We always say that we want to develop young players, and with young players it's normal that they make mistakes. If we want to see young players here again, we have to give them time," Virkus emphasized.

Up front, Gladbach will mainly rely on club veteran Alassane Plea, new signings Franck Honorat and Tomas Cvancara, and youngster Nathan Ngoumou. The last three looked promising against Augsburg, but struggled against a very well-organized Bayer Leverkusen side.



Loyal supporters
One thing Gladbach still have in their favor is the support of their loyal home fans. Even though Saturday's performance fell far short of their expectations, the fans in the Nordkurve stayed after the final whistle to applaud the players and show their support. A gesture that wasn't – and shouldn't be – taken for granted.

"When you lose 3-0 at home, you can't expect the fans to come out and support you," said midfielder Julian Weigl after the defeat.

"To see that kind of reaction after the final whistle and to be able to play in front of those fans every week makes us very proud. That's why it's important that we get back to the strong home form we know we can have."

Unfortunately for Gladbach, they have another tough test on home soil in their next game, as they welcome German record champions Bayern Munich to the Borussia-Park.

This means that they could very well end up with just one point after the first three games, making the following match against Darmstadt all the more important for Seoane's side.

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