Ramy Bensebaini: Who is Borussia Mönchengladbach's Africa Cup of Nations winner?
Ramy Bensebaini has established himself as a bona fide Bundesliga starter with Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich's bête noire, and is a Africa Cup of Nations winner with Algeria. bundesliga.com looks at the left-back's rise to the top of the game, ahead of his summer move away from Borussia-Park...
Data correct as of 14 April 2023
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Position: Left-back/ centre-back
Country: Algeria (53 caps, six goals)
Bensebaini is primarily a left-back, although he can also operate in central defence. The 6'1" Algerian got his senior career breakthrough in Belgium with Lierse, making 28 appearances over the course of a season-long loan in the Jupilier Pro League in 2014/15. He spent the following campaign at French club Montpellier before sealing a permanent move from parent club Paradou - his first pro station back in his native Algeria - to Ligue 1 rivals Rennes.
Bensebaini added to his modest tally of two goals in 25 appearances for Montpellier by registering one goal and two assists in 98 outings across three seasons at Rennes. He earned his first of 30 senior international caps for Algeria in that time, with six of those coming during The Desert Foxes' triumphant AFCON campaign in summer 2019. It was Bensebaini's second piece of silverware in the space of three months after Rennes' victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the 2018/19 French Cup final.
After joining Gladbach on a four-year deal in summer 2019, Bensebaini made his Bundesliga debut in the Rhine derby against Cologne on 14 September. He produced an assist on his third league outing, opened his German account and was sent off on his fourth - against Werder Bremen - before returning to the fray in style with a maiden career brace against Bayern Munich, becoming the first defender to score twice against the Bundesliga's record champions since 1997.
Those contributed to five goals in his first season with the Foals followed by four in 2020/21. In fact, in six competitive appearances against Bayern, he has won four times - he lost the other two encounters - and scored four goals, more than against any other opponent in his career.
He also scored four league goals in the 2021/22 campaign, but had tallied a career-best five top-flight strikes just 23 appearances into the 2022/23 season, including a brace in the Matchday 9 derby demolition of Cologne.
Watch: Bensebaini's Rhine derby brace
Plays a bit like: Theo Hernandez
Bensebaini loves to get forward, and has the necessary pace to transition from defence from attack to great effect. He's useful on the over- and underlap, and has a flamboyant side usually associated with No.10s. The Algerian doesn't shy away from a tackle either, much like France and AC Milan's left-sided raider, Theo Hernandez, and former France and Bayern Munich international Bixente Lizarazu.
Did you know?
Bensebaini almost joined three-time English Premier League champions Arsenal in 2015.
"I spent time there, a month on trial, in 2015," Bensebaini told Ouest France in March 2019. "I was training with the first team and I was playing matches with the reserves. I had spoken several times with Arsene Wenger.
"In the end, five coaches decided my future. Four of them gave me the thumbs up and would have taken me, but one of them said it was impossible to sign me, because I didn't have a European passport and didn't have enough international caps."
What they're saying
"Ramy is an exceptional player. For me, he's the most complete left-back in the Bundesliga." - Gladbach coach Daniel Farke
"He's always ready to give the best of himself. As a coach, Bensebaini is the perfect player for me. You see his combativeness on the pitch." - ex-Gladbach coach Marco Rose
"He was a young player when he came to us. He didn't have the explosiveness that he has developed whilst he's been here. He used to switch off, too, but he's matured." - former Rennes coach Christian Gourcuff
Ramy Bensebaini: MD14’s Man of the Matchday
We chart the rise of Gladbach left-back Ramy Bensebaini, from the streets of Constantine to downing Bayern Munich at Borussia-Park.
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