Florian Neuhaus: Who is Borussia Mönchengladbach's midfield diamond?
Last season Florian Neuhaus powered Fortuna Düsseldorf to the Bundesliga 2 title, now he’s driving Borussia Mönchengladbach’s midfield and the team into a potential Bundesliga title race in his maiden season with the first-team. All this at only 21…
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Position: Central midfield
Country: Germany (nine U21 caps, one goal)
Born just 60 kilometres outside Munich, if Neuhaus was going to be a professional footballer, he would almost certainly begin his career with either Bayern Munich or 1860 Munich. For Neuhaus, it was the latter, and it didn’t take long for him to make his name known to the German football community. In the semi-finals of the German youth league, Neuhaus scored the winner against Borussia Dortmund in a 2-1 victory, and he did so from the halfway line. In the 89th minute. And he was celebrating as soon as he hit the ball. The goal was named Goal of the Month by German broadcaster Sportschau, and Neuhaus was a household name.
Neuhaus made his 1860 debut in 2016, in the Bundesliga 2, and his talent was quickly clear to see. A host of top Bundesliga teams were interested in the midfielder, but it was Gladbach who made the move first and signed Neuhaus to a long-term contract in the summer of 2017. He was immediately loaned to Düsseldorf, where his six goals and three assists in 27 Bundesliga 2 matches helped Fortuna clinch the league title and promotion to the Bundesliga.
Foals coach Dieter Hecking made it clear that Neuhaus would be a key member of Gladbach’s squad going forward, but no-one could have predicted the outstanding start to the Bundesliga season he has had at Borussia-Park. Neuhaus leads Gladbach with five assists – the second-best total in the entire league, all from the centre of midfield. Eight of his 11 appearances have been starts, and besides his chance creation ability, Neuhaus has also proven his maturity and composure in a demanding position by not receiving a single yellow card and completing 83 per cent of his 284 passes made in 2018/19.
Plays a bit like:Thomas Müller
Bayern and Germany superstar Müller is known for naming himself as a “Raumdeuter” (space-interpreter) and adopting this title as his own position on the pitch. Playing more often than not without a true position, Müller has made the Raumdeuter his own. Neuhaus may line up in central midfield for Gladbach, but he is rapidly being recognised as another space-interpreter like Müller, with a distinct ability to find spaces between the lines.
Watch: Neuhaus claimed two assists against Frankfurt on MD5!
“It depends a lot on the timing with other players, the pass has to be perfect and the run co-ordinated to escape your marker – and that’s the hard part. It’s intuitive, instinctive. Müller is known for making these runs,” Neuhaus told the Rheinische Post. His space-interpreting ability is reflected in the spaces he picks up his assists from, often behind the opposition midfield and ahead of their defence, able to play a perfect pass forward and pick the right spot in the blink of an eye.
Did you know?
Neuhaus had to choose between 1860 and Bayern after both Munich clubs made him an offer as a 10-year-old. Neuhaus opted for the blue of 1860, despite his father being a Bayern fan.
What they’re saying
“In the past there were classic players wearing the No.10. In modern football, it’s a bit of a different position, but the styles of the players are still quite similar. Maybe they are different in each system, but those are the players who can decide games.” – Neuhaus on his favoured position.
“My uncle was a Bremen fan, I had a Bremen poster on my wall of Mesut Özil. I love watching Özil and Toni Kroos play.” – Neuhaus on his idols growing up.
“I share the same euphoria around Florian Neuhaus. I have to emphasise the incredible work that Fortuna Düsseldorf’s coaching team did with him last season, they also recognised his huge potential.” – Gladbach coach Dieter Hecking on Neuhaus.
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