In a week where I have wondered about the potential of defensive creep within the Bundesliga, a dire 1-0 match took place between Borussia Monchengladbach and Bochum at Borussia Park tonight.
In the first half, Gladbach came out firing on all cylinders and spent the first 20 minutes
playing Bochum off the pitch. Their offensive flair, especially via Boumjohann, which had been so pervasive over the past few matches was there with aplomb in front of the home fans at the start. But their one failure was in finishing. While Friend, Matmour and Bouwers all came close early, Gladbach squandered all of their early chances and left themselves susceptible to the obvious.
Having been toyed with by Marin and Boumjohann for 20 minutes, it was the visitors who hit on the counter to take the lead in the 29th. Klimowitz picked up a ghosting Grote on the counter and the midfielder blasted an unstoppable shot from outside the box as Paul Stalteri failed to close down.
Bochum then set out the stalls, and ground out their first away victory of the season. They now sit three points clear of the drop zone.
And it was as defensive as it sounds on Bochum’s part. They took one shot, which wasn’t even on target in the second half. That’s not to say they didn’t defend well, as they absorbed all kinds of pressure as Gladbach had 19 shots, 62% possession and run of the midfield. It was in the final third where Bochum was just too veracious to allow Gladbach any solid looks at goal. And they used their physical superiority to punish the smaller home side. And despite a series of tactical changes by Hans Meyers, Bochum wasn’t to be broken down on the night.
Gladbach see their string of good results end, find themselves entrenched in the relegation zone and will now be without Marin next week as he picked up his 5th yellow of the season in the 55th.