Rückrunde Preview: Borussia Monchengladbach
The shortest ever winter hiatus in German football is about to come to an end, which gives us the opportunity to profile each team's chances in the second half of the campaign as we preview them one by one.
The main focus would be on the top dogs of German football as in the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund et al.
After taking a look at Bayer Leverkusen's chances of making into the Champions League next season, we will profile Borussia Monchengladbach in our second Ruckrunde preview.
Season so far
It has been a mixed season for Dieter Hecking's side, full of ups and downs.
While they've been one of two teams to beat Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga this season, their demoralising defeats against Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen should also be taken into consideration.
Offensively, they have been rather impressive compared to last season, having a tally of 27 goals and putting up 225 shots (7th) in the league so far. They also have a healthy conversion rate of 10%, sixth best in the league.
The defensive duo of Matthias Ginter and Jannik Vestergaard have looked pretty solid so far for the most part. However, Gladbach's defence have conceded the third most shots in the league, although that figure drastically decreases when it comes to shots on target, largely thanks to the highly defensive tactics used by coach Dieter Hecking.
Gladbach are currently going through a rough patch, especially in December where they have won only one out of their five games. They were also kicked out from the DFB Cup, following a 1-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in their most recent outing.
Overall, Gladbach fans should feel rather content with their performances this season. Currently standing in the sixth position, in the league table, the Foals are level on points with Dortmund (3rd), Leverkusen (4th) and Leipzig (5th).
Targets for the second half of the campaign
Finishing in the Champions League places should be the primary objective for the Foals, who will be eager to get back into the coveted tournament following a year absence.
However, Dieter Hecking's position as head coach could seriously be in doubt should he fail to guide the team to Europa League finish come the end of the season since they have been already knocked out in the cup.
Transfer market activity
The Foals haven't made any January transfer activity so far apart from losing Reece Oxford who was called back by his parent club West Ham United, after making just three Bundesliga appearances.
Their summer signings in the likes of Denis Zakaria, Matthias Ginter and Mikael Cuisance have all proved to be an integral part of their setup this season.
However, Gladbach might want some reinforcements in the defensive department as well, especially after losing Reece Oxford. Andreas Poulsen of Midtjylland could be an ideal addition for the Foals.
Here's a look at what we think has been Borussia Monchengladbach's strongest lineup has been this season.
Few players worth looking forward to
Denis Zakaria is by far the most consistent midfielder for Borussia Monchengladbach this season. The Swiss youngster has been a real find for Dieter Hecking's men, as he's already proved himself to be a vital cog in the Gladbach midfield.
Constantin Eckner of Spielverlagerung.com favours the Swiss international as the perfect replacement for Liverpool-bound Naby Keita for RB Leipzig while the Talkingfussball experts in Matt Herrmann and Abel Meszaros also has hold the midfielder in high esteem.
Thorgan Hazard is another player worth looking forward to as the Gladbach winger has probably been their best attacker this season. His remarkable performances have led forced Premier League's defending champions, Chelsea, to keenly monitor his current situation at Gladbach.
Last but not the least, it's Mickael Cuisance, who could be one of the rising stars for Gladbach in the coming years. The Frenchman has highly impressed in his role as a central midfielder this season and could be an ideal replacement should Denis Zakaria leaves the club next season.
Overall, Borussia Monchengladbach have really well at times this season but considering the fact that the Foals have shown their fair share of dark sides, it's really hard to believe that they will finish in one of the Champions League places at the end of this season.
However, a Europa League finish is looking very likely for BMG.