Hit them on the break
The Zerofivers aren't exactly the favourites to win in Mönchengladbach, but Borussia head coach Marco Rose expects Mainz to be a tough nut to crack.
The roles are clearly defined: Mainz are going to Gladbach as the clear underdogs. Borussia, currently third in the Bundesliga, have the best home record in the league this season. However, Achim Beierlorzer doesn’t think his team are totally without hope on Saturday (15:30 CET). “We want to hurt them on the break. Our forwards can cause problems for any defence,” said the Zerofivers’ head coach.
Gladbach press high and with aggression in their 4-3-3 formation, with Breel Embolo in the number 10 role behind an attacking trio comprised of Alassane Plea, Patrick Herrmann and Marcus Thuram. “If you can escape their front three, then it becomes interesting. Because you’re free to attack down the wings, as long as you play with a good tempo,” Beierlorzer explained. He went on to state that Marco Rose’s squad possesses a lot of individual talent and powerful, quick, dynamic players. Mainz’ approach could be somewhat similar, like in the home game against Bayer Leverkusen. The Zerofivers sat a little deeper and looked to hit Leverkusen on the break, but just couldn’t convert any of their numerous chances in the 1-0 defeat.
“A top team”
Rose, a crowd favourite during his time at Bruchweg, has turned Borussia into a top team during his short reign on the Lower Rhine. “They’ve got a clear philosophy, a clear way of playing. They’re playing totally differently to how they were last year. It’s noticeable that he’s put his stamp in the team in a short space of time,” Beierlorzer explained. “They’re a top team that is gunning for the league title.”
Rose stated that he wants to get the fans behind him with the way he sets up his team. “We want to show that it’s all about winning this home game. We want to play brave football. We’ve created a situation for ourselves that justifies this approach.” However, the 43-year-old coach had to watch his team slump to a 2-0 home defeat to Schalke to kick off the Rückrunde. “It’s a mental thing. In addition, the Schalke game showed that we find it difficult to be brave if we run less against an aggressive opponent, because then we can’t carve out the necessary chances. In contrast to the Schalke game, we’ve got to find a different rhythm,” said the former left back, who made the switch to Gladbach from RB Salzburg.
“We need to get back to basics, play courageous combination football and into the right positions to affect the game,” said Rose. “Mainz are a team with a lot of quality. They have some really physical players, but also talented footballers in their ranks. Their basic philosophy is built on counterattacking. We’ll have to see whether we can get into situations where we can run at them. I think we need win the first and second ball. If they win the second ball then they can hit us hard. Mainz have a couple of positive results behind them, so they’ll be feeling good when they come to Mönchengladbach. But it’s a home game, so it’s on us to make something of the game,” explained the Borussia head coach.
Rouven Schröder, meanwhile, jokingly appealed to Rose to remember his past as a Zerofiver. "Marco has a lot of love for Mainz. Maybe he’ll cross his fingers for us on Saturday."