Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0 Eintracht Frankfurt – Tactical Analysis

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Earlier this week, Adi Hütter was announced as the next Borussia Monchengladbach boss. Unfortunately for him and his current Eintracht Frankfurt team, he didn’t make the best impression on his new club this weekend, suffering a 4-0 defeat. Adi Hütter’s team were lifeless and ineffective, and let Gladbach walk all over them. So as this managerial merry-go-round saga continues, we analyze Borussia Monchengladbach’s 4-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

eintracht frankfurt – 3-4-1-2

Eintracht Frankfurt set up in their usual 3-4-1-2 formation, attempting to utilize width and play out from the back. The eleven (as pictured above) were the exact same as the side that ran Wolfsburg into the ground, and some momentum in their performance was expected having clawed their way to within a point of third place heading into the fixture. However, for a change, they were ineffective in transition and failed to adequately use their possession to any greater purpose. The likes of Kamada and Ndicka had their moments, but Die Adler looked a far cry from the team that won at home to Wolfsburg just one week earlier. Perhaps the timing of the managerial announcement played a part, but Frankfurt still looked disorganized, slow and ineffectual in attack to lengths that have not been seen so far this season.

slow build-up

Eintracht Frankfurt attempted to play out from the back, through width and ball circulation amongst the centre-backs. Ilsanker and Ndicka in particular passed the ball around in hopes that one of their passes would eventually open up space to play in Filip Kostic, but the space never came. Durm’s high and wide position also meant that Die Adler had no intention of playing through the right, and Gladbach’s defensive shape stifled Franfkurt’s forward attempts. Hütter’s side had two main problems playing out from the back. The first was that they rarely attempted progressive passes into central areas. Gladbach set up to stop passes into central channels, but Frankfurt were never even willing to take the risk and try something different to break Rose’s side down, such as through playing vertical passes into the likes of a striker or Daichi Kamada. Had Frankfurt played more direct, they may have been able to bring themselves up the pitch and pose more of a threat to Gladbach’s defense.

The second problem with their possession was their snail-like pace to passing the ball around. The ball circulation between the centre-backs never occurred at speed, allowing Die Borussen to easily shuffle about the pitch and easily track the movement of Djibril Sow and Sebastian Rode. The few times that Hütter’s team broke free of Gladbach’s defensive block, it was primarily through quick, incisive one-touch passing moves in vertical channels. But as soon as they went a goal down, they never showed that same promise again.

After going several goals down, only Odite Evan Ndicka made any attempt to drive the team forward out from the back. The Frenchman often took matters into his own hand by driving forward at speed and joining the attack, but these attempts ultimately proved easy for Gladbach to cope with.

defending set-pieces
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Although Frankfurt struggled in many regards, their biggest fault in the match was their woeful defending from set-pieces. Without Martin Hinteregger at the back, they lacked the height, strength and defensive organization to handle Gladbach’s corner kicks. In fact, all three of the goals they scored before the 90th minute came from corners. For the first and third goals, they couldn’t compete in the air with Gladbach’s taller, stronger players. For the second, they were poor in clearing their lines and then didn’t move up as a unit to keep corner kick taker Jonas Hofmann offside. Sow played him on, and Hofmann punished them with a powerful volley into the bottom corner. Gladbach always posed a threat on the break, but the fact that only one of their goals came directly from open play speaks to the fact that Die Adler could have made more of the match had they made more of their defense on corner kicks.

bor. monchengladbach – 4-2-3-1

Borussia Monchengladbach set up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation. However, given that Die Borussen only spent 37% of the match with the ball in their possession, the shape that took form most often became a 4-4-2 defensive block. With Yann Sommer and Christoph Kramer suspended, Tobias Sippel and Florian Neuhaus stepped into the team and performed admirably in their place. Lars Stindl’s knock against Hertha Berlin last week also allowed Alassane Plea to step into an attacking midfield role, playing in behind Marcus Thuram rather than as the striker himself. Jonas Hofmann was arguably the outstanding player, and other than his set-pieces did most of his damage from the left.


Borussia Monchengladbach pressed high up the field, but without any real fervidity or aggression. They let Frankfurt have all of the ball, and never looked particularly bothered by Franfkurt’s slow build-up in and around the centre-backs. Instead, they shuffled with the play and moved left to right to combat Die Adler‘s attempts to play into the wing-backs. The shape sometimes took the form of a 3-3-4, with Stefan Lainer stepping into the midfield line to cover Filip Kostic, who operated much lower than Erik Durm on the other side. The wingers in the front four also only engaged in the midfield line when Frankfurt were able to advance into Gladbach’s half, which turned out to be a rare occurrence. This line of four at the front stopped all of Frankfurt’s ability to play into central areas, and allowed Gladbach to easily control the tempo of the match. When they won the ball, they looked to play quickly and vertically through the centre of the pitch. They were electric on the counter, and scored a fabulous goal at the end of the match on the break through two of their energetic substitutes.

The back-four in this shape were also excellent, even if they didn’t have much to do until the closing moments of the game. Amin Younes troubled Gladbach upon his arrival on the field, but the back-four of Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi and Bensebaini stuck to their tasks well to keep the clean sheet intact. Elvedi and Ginter won nearly every duel against Silva and Jovic, while Lainer and Bensebaini showcased their astute defensive awareness in spades. With 4 tackles, Bensebaini was arguably Gladbach’s standout player beyond Hofmann, making Erik Durm look very redundant and ineffectual. Mitigating Filip Kostic and Erik Durm is no easy feat, as Wolfsburg found out last week, and the Gladbach defense did better in doing so than any other team has this season. The midfield two meanwhile had an easier time dealing with Frankfurt’s lack of presence in central attacking areas, but stuck to their tasks very well in continuing to force Die Adler out wide, and defending Frankfurt’s occasional quick transition.

quick attacking transitions
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Gladbach were excellent on the break, looking to attack at speed and force Frankfurt into mistakes. Rose’s team won several corner kicks from their counter attacks, and forced several errors that could have resulted in goals on a different day. Their verticality aided in this approach in exposing Frankfurt’s width (as Wolfsburg did effectively last week as well), and Gladbach created several chances both in wide and central areas despite little in the way of possession. Every time Marcus Thuram or Alassane Plea got on the ball, they looked to run at speed and draw fouls. They also involved themselves in Gladbach’s longer spells with the ball, drifting wide to engage in triangular combinations down the wings. They beat and battered Frankfurt’s defense so badly that by the time that match was coming to a close, Gladbach punished Hütter’s team with the deadliest attack of all. In just a few swift moves, second-half substitute Hannes Wolf found himself through on goal to tap in an easy finish. Die Borussen have certainly had their struggles since the announcement of Marco Rose’s departure, but this was much better from the team, and the Gladbach that fans have become accustomed to seeing over the past few years.

concluding thoughts

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The announcement of Adi Hütter as the next Borussia Monchengadlbach boss just days before this match appeared to be strange timing. With Gladbach’s massive 4-0 win over Frankfurt, the team’s biggest defeat of the season, it looks even more like terrible timing now. Hütter’s Frankfurt were lifeless and ineffective, and never got going in the match. They secured a massive 4-3 win over third place Wolfsburg last week and set themselves up well to fight for the third place money. But if they continue playing as they did against Monchengladbach, they’re going to be in for a tough end to the season and could easily slip out of the top four altogether. Marco Rose’s Gladbach on the other hand had one of their best performances of the season and could be on track for a finish in a Europa League position, when that looked doubtful just a few weeks ago.

So there it is! A tactical analysis of Borussia Monchengladbach’s 4-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, just days after the announcement of Adi Hütter as the next Gladbach boss. Be sure to check out more of our Match Analyses, and follow on Twitter @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

You might also enjoy…
-> Adi Hütter – Eintracht Frankfurt – Tactical Analysis
-> Marco Rose – Borussia Monchengladbach – Tactical Analysis (2020-21 Edition)
-> Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 VFL Wolfsburg – Tactical Analysis


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