Last season was the great escape, a remarkable turnaround of fortunes that saw them stave off relegation right at the death. Gladbach have maintained that momentum, winning their first game of the season against an admittedly off-colour Bayern Munich and drawing with Stuttgart last week.
With three key players – centre-backs Roel Brouwers and Martin Stranzl and striker Igor de Camargo – all missing for BMG, Felix Magath would have been looking for his Wolfsburg side to bounce back from the controversial 1-0 loss to Bayern at the weekend.
It, emphatically, wasn’t to be. Gladbach were stern at the back, tough in midfield and pulsating going forward – Marco Reus and Raúl Bobadilla providing the problems for a, at times, lacklustre Wolfsburg defence.
Filip Daems, as always, lead from the back, always making that left-hand side look so much stronger, as did Tony Jantschke on the other side – these two continue to be unsung heroes for Gladbach.
Because of the attacking mentality of the pair – Daems particularly – Makoto Hasebe and Marcel Schäfer were pushed back continually for Wolfsburg, while Reus and Juan Arango played major roles in sending BMG to the top of the Bundesliga, if only for Friday evening alone.
Magath should be worried. His side were demolished by Gladbach, well-and-truly beaten – not even want-away Diego, despite his clear ability to inspire teams to victory, could have saved them here.
Perhaps one of the most distressing things for Magath is the fact that Wolfsburg started so well – and then proceeded to crumble in just week three of the new season; the optimism that comes with a new season should give a side confidence to stand up and push on – not fall apart.
It was Hasebo who gave the away side the lead – volleying in with all the precision and confidence of an experienced centre-forward. Unfortunately, the man next to him in defence wasn’t quite so good with his feet – Simon Kjaer’s slip allowing Marco Reus to eventually tap in the equaliser just minutes later.
And it was Reus who was the main protagonist in giving Gladbach the lead after wonderful interplay with the BMG midfield – only to be fouled by Michael Schulze, who had only recently come on for the injured Hasan Salihamidžić, inside the area. Daems comfortably tucked away the penalty.
After Raúl Bobadilla’s fantastic wing work was wasted with a lack of composure shown from Mike Hanke from four yards, Bobadilla himself sent BMG into the half-time break leading by two goals, nodding in from close range.
Wolfsburg struggled to defend against the quick movement of Bobadillia, Hanke and the sheer pace and quality of Reus. Bobadillia showed quick feet in the area a few times, first forcing BMG ‘keeper ter Stegen into a fine save and, moments later, allowing Roman Neustädter to fire just over. The impressive Juan Arango then saw his volley hit the post – via the head of a Wolf.
Arango then provided a moment of genius for the Borussia-Park crowd, curling a delicious ball with the outside of his foot, which was met by the laces of Reus who, ghosting in at the back post, emphatically volleyed home to all-but end the match as a contest with just sixty-five minutes gone.
After their early goal, Wolfsburg barely threatened the BMG goal. Thomas Hitzlsperger, on his debut, waywardly volleyed over and, with ten minutes to go, Patrick Helmes found himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper – only to see his shot tipped wide by Diego Benaglio.
Gladbach have done well to carry the momentum from last season into this season as Lucien Favre’s stock continues to rise – the former Manager of the Year has now seen his side stretch their unbeaten run to seven Bundesliga games (five wins and two draws). The Foals have only conceded ten goals in the league games under Favre (14) – the last time they conceded more than one in a game, coincidently, was away at Wolfsburg in February.
This is the first time that Gladbach have beaten Wolfsburg in their last seven attempts – only once registering a draw – so a thrashing of Magath’s side will have sent the Mönchengladbach Crowd home happy – and when they get home, they will all undoubtedly be taking a screenshot of the league table.