One of the Bundesliga’s most inconsistent teams, Borussia Mönchengladbach have had an up and down season. Experiencing an average start to the campaign, manager Dieter Hecking was under pressure to deliver European football. Improving as the season went on, Gladbach spent seven consecutive weeks in second place. The team’s gradual improvement secured Hecking a new deal, the club was in a good place. However, with the post-winter-break Gladbach struggled to remain consistent, dropping out of the top four. Despite the new deal, the team announced Hecking would leave the club at season’s end. Falling from second to fifth, one of the main reasons for the teams drop off has been a lack of goals.
Borussia Mönchengladbach Need a True Number Nine
Inconsistency Up Front
Currently relying on two ageing forwards, Gladbach are in need of a natural goalscorer. This season, Hecking has used multiple players as his main striker. Alassane Pléa, Lars Stindl and Brazilian forward Raffael have all played a role this season. The outstanding member of the trio, Pléa, started the season well. However, the Frenchman’s form dropped off as the season went on. Stindl and Raffael have produced goals for many years at the club. This season has been a different story for the experienced duo. Scoring just four Bundesliga goals this season, age is catching up to the pair. No longer reliable options, the club must bring in new blood.
A new addition last summer, Pléa has played a key role this season. Contributing nine goals before the winter break, the 26-year-old was proving to be a great signing. However, after the winter break, Pléa hasn’t been the same player. Scoring just two goals since January, the French forward has been going through a rough patch. Capable of playing as the main striker and out wide, the former Nice player has played both roles this season. Starting 16 games as a left winger, Pléa still does his job, but switching between the two roles has done him no favours. If Gladbach continue to play him out of position, a new number nine must be brought in this summer.
A well-known goal poacher for club and country, Alfreð Finnbogason would be a sensible addition. Now 30-years-old, the Icelandic striker scores goals as an old fashioned fox in the box. Scoring 11 goals in 17 games this season, Finnbogason is still a reliable option. Since joining Augsburg in 2016, he has scored 33 goals in just 70 games. Under contract until 2020, Finnbogason will likely leave Augsburg this summer, making him a good option for Gladbach. Filling a need, the former Heerenveen striker would be affordable, as Augsburg could look to sell before the player’s contract runs down any further.
One of Germany’s best young strikers, Davie Selke is another potential option for Gladbach. The 24-year-old isn’t known for being a prolific goal scorer, but he is improving. Known mainly for his link-up and hold-up play, the former RB Leipzig forward is still developing in front of goal. This season, the lanky German has scored three goals, contributing nine assists in 25 games. Selke has a contract with Hertha Berlin until 2022, which makes a move unlikely, but not impossible. Expected to appoint Red Bull Salzburg manager Marco Rose as manager, Gladbach could bring in a younger option, as the club builds for the future.
One of the Bundesliga’s best young prospects, Jean-Philippe Mateta has impressed in his rookie season. Mainz’s leading goal scorer, the 21-year-old is a tall, hold-up number nine. Scoring ten goals so far this season, the French striker has been a pleasant surprise. Involved in 36% of Mainz’s league goals this campaign, Mateta has proved to be an excellent investment. A key player at such a young age, the former Châteauroux youth product is developing into one of the better Bundesliga strikers. A known selling club, Mainz could sell Mateta just one season after signing him. With Mainz set to make a huge profit on the young Frenchman, Gladbach would do well to bring in such a promising goal scorer.
Failing to secure Champions League football since Lucien Favre left the club in 2016, Gladbach must spend once again this summer. In need of a true number nine, the club must bring in a more reliable goal scorer, with Champions League football the team’s main goal.