A thumping 5-0 win over Bayern Munich in the DFB Cup has done little to mask the cracks of a disappointing season so far for Borussia Mönchengladbach.
That win aside, it was not quite the first six months in charge that Adi Hütter had hoped for…
The story so far
The expectations were high when Hütter arrived in the summer to replace Marco Rose as head coach. He had just led Eintracht Frankfurt back into the UEFA Europa League and was tasked with doing the same with the Foals. It took four games to register a first win of the season, however, and while Gladbach picked up impressive victories over Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg, consistency proved to be a persistent problem. The astonishing rout of Bayern in the cup suggested Hütter had found the key to success, but the Foals have won just two games since. They have also lost a further four to slump to 14th at the midway stage of the season, just two points above the relegation play-off zone.
Undoubtedly one of the most consistent performers in an otherwise undulated Hinrunde was Jonas Hofmann. The Germany international scored seven goals in 14 games, playing both out wide and as a support to the attackers. The 29-year-old has already beaten his personal best of six goals for a single season, and the former Borussia Dortmund player can be expected to push on in the second half of the campaign.
Best game so far
Gladbach's 5-0 demolition of Bayern is a game they will remember for years to come. After denying the same opposition in the league with a 1-1 draw on the opening day of the season, in October the Foals confirmed their status as a thorn in the side of the record champions. Ramy Bensebaini and Breel Embolo both scored twice to help set up a last-16 meeting with Hannover on 19 January.
One to watch
American defender Joe Scally has impressed in his breakthrough season in the Bundesliga, playing a part in every Gladbach game and opening his account in the 3-1 win at Wolfsburg. The ambidextrous 19-year-old has been deployed on both sides of the field - in defence and midfield - and has proven to be Hütter's Mr Reliable wherever he has played.
Watch: Fast-rising US Foal Joe Scally
The view from inside the camp
"We've quite clearly played below our expectations, and we've also failed to hit the objectives we set ourselves in this first half of the season. But we still have another half of the season ahead of us and we're going to throw absolutely everything into it." – Midfielder Patrick Herrmann
In their first outing after the winter break Gladbach will look to do their reputation as Bayern's bête noire justice when they travel to Munich. Hopes of qualifying for Europe may now hang on how the Foals fare in the DFB Cup, which is why Bundesliga 2 side Hannover will need dispatching. Following a 4-1 loss in their first meeting, meanwhile, pride can be restored and everything else forgotten about with a win over Cologne in the Rhine Derby.