Alvaro Dominguez has quickly settled into both his new surroundings and his new team in Mönchengladbach
Alvaro Dominguez has quickly settled into both his new surroundings and his new team in Mönchengladbach

Dominguez delivering in Dante's stead

Munich - During a summer of upheaval at Borussia Mönchengladbach, much was made of the impact the departure of Marco Reus would have on the side.

Defences win titles...

While the forward's goal threat is undeniable, Gladbach's success in 2011/12 was not based on their attacking prowess - 49 goals scored represented a pitiful return compared to the 74 third-placed Schalke finished with, let alone the 80 Borussia Dortmund plundered en route to the title.

Instead, it was a solid defensive unit that provided the building block for their achievements. The loss of centre-back Dante, one of the main reasons the Foals conceded just 24 goals all season, left arguably a bigger void to fill. Yet new signing has plugged the gap admirably.

Since arriving from Atletico Madrid in July, the Spanish international has adapted well to his new surroundings in north-west Germany. "Many people follow the Bundesliga in Spain and obviously it's an attractive league for players to come to," the softly-spoken defender told in an exclusive interview. "Things are going well here. The whole team and technical staff have helped me to settle very quickly."

Assured displays

Dominguez's sense of well-being has undoubtedly contributed to some assured displays on the pitch, where he has already noticed several differences to the Iberian style of play.

"It's a different kind of football to what I was used to in Spain, but it's attractive to watch. It's very physical and every team is capable of beating anyone. It's more direct here, with less transition through the centre of the pitch, but it's a fun league to play in."

A 5-0 hammering away to Borussia Dortmund notwithstanding, Dominguez's relaxed demeanour certainly adds weight to his words. Indeed, the defender views that defeat as an anomaly in an otherwise respectable start to 2012/13.

Sure starter

"It's a new team so it's difficult to play in the same way as last season but, little by little, we want to keep working our way up the table as far as possible. We need to forget about that game learn and from our mistakes. If you take that match out, all our other performances have been very good defensively. We didn't concede against Düsseldorf, only let in one in Leverkusen and we've kept a clean sheet in several games this season. We're improving little by little."

Unsurprisingly for a member of Spain's latest generation of footballers, Dominguez is technically first-rate, comfortable on the ball and rarely gives away possession, as his 90 per cent pass completion rate testifies. Add his aerial ability and astute positioning into the mix and it is little wonder fellow centre-backs Roel Brouwers and Martin Stranzl have been left vying for the remaining berth in central defence. Yet Dominguez is taking nothing for granted, modestly stating that his aims are to "be an important player in the team" and to "show what I'm capable of".

"Good chance in Bremen"

Dominguez's abilities will certainly be required come Saturday, when Gladbach travel to SV Werder Bremen. Despite Lucien Favre's men collecting just two points from three games on the road thus far, the 6'2" stopper is quietly confident of picking up a first victory on foreign soil.

"Here in the Bundesliga it's difficult to win away from home, but we have a good chance in Bremen. We have to try to carry on where we left off in our last league game, by staying strong at the back and making the most of the chances we create. We need to approach every match as if it were a final."

Jonathan Stockitt