Takashi Inui has contributed three goals and three assists to Eintracht Frankfurt's stunning start to the season
Takashi Inui has contributed three goals and three assists to Eintracht Frankfurt's stunning start to the season

Calm before the storm

Munich - Borussia Mönchengladbach need to act quickly if they are to avert an impending crisis and with Eintracht Frankfurt, one of only three sides yet to lose in the Bundesliga this season, the visitors this weekend, the storm clouds are beginning to gather above the Borussia-Park.

Squad rebuilding

The Foals have slumped to 13th in the table with only one win to their name, while a 5-0 humbling at the hands of Borussia Dortmund last Saturday and subsequent 4-2 reverse at home to Fenerbahce in the UEFA Europa League have only exacerbated the situation.

However, talk of a crisis has been given short shrift by sporting director Max Eberl: "We made a decent start to the season to the team is capable, we just have to get back to where we were," said the former defender, confident the club can stop the rot.

Recovering from the departures of Marco Reus, Dante and Roman Neustadter in the summer has proven a greater challenge than anticipated. Not all of the crown jewels were stolen, though, and with internationals Juan Arango and Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the squad, the Rhineland outfit remain the envy of many a Bundesliga coach.

Settling in

Luuk de Jong was brought in to replace Reus, but the Eredivisie's top goalscorer last season with 32 goals is taking a little longer than hoped to adapt to the German game. Granit Xhaka, part of the FC Basel side which knocked Manchester United out of the UEFA Champions League last year, and Spanish defender Alvaro Rodriguez, a Europa League winner with Atletico Madrid last May, have also still to settle into their new surroundings.

The next step is to lend their international experience into a side which, admittedly, exceeded even their own expectations by finishing fourth last term. Easier said than done at a time when things just don't appear to be going Gladbach's way. "We know how complicated the situation is and even though it does not seem possible right now, we want to try to beat Frankfurt," said Eberl.

Inui the key

Frankfurt's fortunes could hardly present a greater contrast. Following promotion to the top flight as runners-up in Bundesliga 2, they have yet to lose a game. Indeed, the only two points they have dropped this year came against defending champions Borussia Dortmund, and even that game could have ended with broader smiles.

The architect of this success is , who has netted three times already this term. However, it is the Japanese midfielder's creativity which has really inspired Frankfurt's rise to second in the table with five wins and a draw. His interplay, understanding and vision make it seem like he was born in the Bundesliga, yet this is only his first season at this level after a year in the second tier. Parallels are inevitably being drawn with former Dortmund midfielder Shini Kagawa, who set the Bundesliga alight before moving to Manchester United.


Add to that the form of four-goal Alexander Meier and you already have two components of a potential success story similar to that of 1. FC Kaiserslautern, who won the Bundesliga in 1998 straight after being promoted.

Coach Armin Veh, who led VfB Stuttgart to the Bundesliga title in 1997, knows better than to over-evaluate his side's form, though, and is keeping his feet firmly on the ground. "Of course it would be too much to say we are favourites in this game," he said. "It is no coincidence that Gladbach came fourth last season. They may have lost good players, but they have brought in quality and have a good team, even if the current results don't show that."

Possible line-ups:

Gladbach: ter Stegen - Jantschke, Stranzl, Dominguez, Daems - Nordtveit, Xhaka - Herrmann, Arango - Hanke, de Camargo

Frankfurt: Trapp - Jung, Zambrano, Anderson, Oczipka - Schwegler, Rode - Aigner, Meier, Inui - Occean