Borussia's eventful year is over and we're looking back at 2017. Today, September and October.
September began with a 1-0 loss for the Fohlenelf against Eintracht Frankfurt. Frankfurt were the more dangerous side throughout the game, especially in the first half when they took the lead which they retained until the final whistle as VfL failed to create enough goalscoring chances. Julio Villalba came on in the game which, at 18 years of age, made him the second youngest foreign player to make their Bundesliga debut for Borussia. "The team worked their socks off and gave their all but simply couldn't find the gaps in the opponents' defence," said head coach Dieter Hecking.
The Fohlenelf put that performance swiftly behind them when they faced RB Leipzig. In a fast-paced, high quality game, Leipzig went ahead in front of their own fans. However, Thorgan Hazard equalised from the penalty spot but Leipzig restored their lead shortly after. Borussia continued to push and fight with all their might for an equaliser their efforts deserved and it eventually came courtesy of Lars Stindl. "I'm happy with a point and we put in a great performance", said Dieter Hecking praising his side. "We wanted to put in a solid team performance and we did that."
Next up for Borussia was VfB Stuttgart. The Fohlenelf controlled the game but lacked the creativity to get through a resolute Swabian defence. After the break, Gladbach turned the screw and a Raffael double secured a 2-0 win for the Fohlenelf. Tobias Sippel came in for an injured Yann Sommer and kept a clean sheet. "We didn't have much to worry about at the back but we needed to stay compact and did so", added Sippel.
In Dortmund, the Fohlenelf suffered an unfortunate defeat. Initially, the game was quite a close affair but soon BVB became rampant. It was 5-0 to the hosts by the hour mark. Lars Stindl scored a consolation before Dortmund added another so the game finished 6-1. "We gave them three easy goals", said Hecking and concluded: "We weren't anywhere near good enough today for Dortmund."
Borussia faced Hannover and were below their opponents in the table heading into the game. Hecking's side, though, were unphased and took the lead through Matthias Ginter. Unfortunately, Hannover levelled four minutes later before the game became end-to-end. Martin Harnik hit the post for Hannover in the last minute before, seconds later, Thorgan Hazard scored a penalty in added time to give Gladbach a 2-1 victory. "Football is a game of fine margins," said Ginter on the last minute win.
After a close call against Hannover, Borussia got another crucial win on the board in Bremen. Lars Stindl scored a delightful goal to make it 1-0 before Jannik Vestergaard's header doubled Borussia's advantage. "The team put in a great performance and improved on the win in Hannover. We were solid throughout," said a content Dieter Hecking.
Borussia's match against Bayer Leverkusen was certainly one of two halfs. In the first half, the Fohlenelf were the dominant side and went into the break ahead thanks to Fabian Johnson's early strike. However, Leverkusen changed their system at the break and reaped serious rewards, scoring five times. "I think what we have to take away from that is that we have to not keep doing the same things after the first two goals in. After the first two goals, there was still time to come back into the game but we didn't regroup and soon it became a night to forget" said Hecking.
Much like against Dortmund, Borussia reacted promptly after a big loss by seeing off Bundesliga 2 high-flyers Fortuna Düsseldorf in the DFB-Pokal. In a tense clash, Borussia snatched a crucial 1-0 win. Thorgan Hazard scored the winning goal and, at the other end, Düsseldorf hit the post from the penalty spot. "The team put what happened against Leverkusen behind them and reacted well", reported Hecking.
After progressing in the DFB-Pokal, Borussia wanted to get a win back in the Bundesliga as a tough trip to Hoffenheim awaited. The challenge became even greater when Hoffenheim took the lead. Despite this, Hecking's side stayed patient and the levelling goal came through Hazard. Soon after, Grifo provided a phenomenal assist for Ginter to make it 2-1 and Vestergaard scored to make it 3-1. "The team put in the perfect performance away from home", were the words of Hecking after the game.