Borussia Mönchengladbach v Mainz
Borussia Mönchengladbach somehow come into this weekend’s game after picking up a point against Bayern Munich. Yann Sommer’s heroics denied Sadio Mane and Co. The Swiss stopper saved 19 shots, a new Bundesliga record. Marcus Thuram has also found his scoring boots this season, scoring three in four league games, and his goal against Bayern was Gladbach’s only shot in 90 minutes.
Favouring possession-based football, Daniel Farke’s Gladbach have also proven that they can defend. Setting up with two banks of four against Bayern, Julian Nagelsmann’s FCB found it difficult to find a way past Ko Itakura and Co. Most of Bayern’s shots came from a comfortable range, other than the two that Sommer saved at close range, pulling off magnificent reactionary saves.
Borussia Mönchengladbach remain one of four unbeaten teams remaining in the Bundesliga. They’ve scored seven in four games and alongside Thuram, compatriot Alassane Plea is also finding his form again after a disappointing 2021/22 campaign. The Frenchman has scored one and created two for Gladbach this season and has operated predominantly on the left-flank. Gladbach have done well to keep the duo at the club despite interest from European teams during the summer.
With wins against Bochum and Augsburg and a draw vs Union Berlin, Mainz’ first real test of the season came last weekend against Bayer Leverkusen. Defeated 3-0, Mainz finished with an xG of 2.1 but failed to find the net from their 10 chances created. B04’s defence has been poor this season whilst Gladbach’s is much more organised. The addition of Itakura following the departure of Matthias Ginter has arguably been one of the signings of the summer so far.
Mainz have scored just four goals in four games, three of those coming via Austrian Karim Onisiwo. Although they’ve added Angelo Fulgini, Bo Svensson’s M05 struggle to create in the final third. Both meetings last season finished in a 1-1 draw and although still early in the season, Farke’s Mönchengladbach look a step above Adi Hütter’s from last season. Thuram is scoring again, Manu Kone is establishing himself as one of the Bundesliga’s best No. 8s and so I would expect Farke to extend Gladbach’s unbeaten run against Mainz.
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