Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 Bayern Munich: Bensebaini brace sees Flick's men lose again

By Sports Desk December 07, 2019

Ramy Bensebaini scored an injury-time penalty as Borussia Monchengladbach beat Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich 2-1 in a thrilling top-of-the-table clash on Saturday.

Bayern, who lost at home to Bayer Leverkusen last weekend, dominated the first half but could not open the scoring until shortly after the restart, Ivan Perisic on target with a fine finish.

Their lead was short-lived at Borussia-Park, however, as Bensebaini's header drew Gladbach level within 11 minutes to set up a gripping finale.

Javi Martinez conceded a late penalty for fouling Marcus Thuram - and was sent off - with Bensebaini staying cool to beat Manuel Neuer and leave Bayern seven points behind leaders Gladbach.

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  • Coutinho wants Premier League return but could stay with Barca, claims agent Coutinho wants Premier League return but could stay with Barca, claims agent

    Philippe Coutinho wants to return to the Premier League after his Bayern Munich loan finishes but could yet remain with parent club Barcelona, according to his agent Kia Joorabchian.

    Coutinho left England for Barca in 2018 having spent five years with Liverpool, with the Catalans bringing him in to help alleviate the loss of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain the previous year.

    The move did not work out, with his first full season at Camp Nou marred by poor form, which in turn led to jeers and criticism from Barca fans.

    He left for Bayern on loan last year, with the German champions given the option to purchase him for €120million, but having only made 15 Bundesliga starts in 2019-20, it came as little surprise when club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed in May that they let the clause expire.

    Coutinho does not appear to have a future at Barca, while several English clubs have been credited with an interest, though Joorabchian says no decisions have been made.

    "At the moment, with Coutinho, he is so focused on getting through the next stage of the Champions League," the agent told TalkSPORT.

    "He has got a massive game - the club that owns him against the club he is playing for. So, he is in a massive situation at the moment.

    "He is going to play Barcelona, he is looking forward to it. He is looking forward to winning the Champions League. I think they [Bayern] have a side that has the potential to be there, definitely a potential to be there.

    "And I think after the Champions League is finished, and whatever happens, then we will sit down.

    "I haven't even spoken to him about it actually. It could be that Barcelona is the ultimate destination.

    "He loves the Premier League, he wants to come to the Premier League, but finances and the numbers and the situation of COVID-19 are all going to play a big part, because he is a big player with big numbers."

  • Barcelona are more dependent on Messi than ever – Schuster Barcelona are more dependent on Messi than ever – Schuster

    Barcelona are more dependent on Lionel Messi than they have ever been, according to Bernd Schuster.

    After surrendering their advantage at the top of LaLiga and losing out on the title to arch-rivals Real Madrid, Messi ensured Barca did not suffer further disappointment in the Champions League.

    The six-time Ballon d'Or winner scored a tremendous solo goal in the last-16 second leg against Napoli last Saturday, while he had another seemingly legitimate goal ruled out by VAR.

    Messi's effort helped Barca to a 3-1 victory at Camp Nou, setting up a quarter-final date with Bayern Munich in Lisbon.

    Former Barca midfielder Schuster has been unimpressed by the team's displays, claiming they have never been more reliant on Messi than they are under Quique Setien.

    "If you compare the two teams, Bayern have the full squad and are more complete on the pitch. That's because Barcelona are more dependent on Messi this season than they have ever been," Schuster told Bild.

    "There used to be players like Neymar and [Andres] Iniesta alongside him, but after that they couldn't bring in any world-class players.

    "It has to be said Messi can still win games on his own. He has the quality to score goals against Bayern and decide the game on his own.

    "You have to say that [Messi can beat Bayern]. There are only two options for Barcelona this season: either Messi scores the goal or they have a world-class day in the game without the ball."

    Bayern will need to overcome Barca to keep their treble hopes alive, having already won the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal.

    Assessing the chances of success in Portugal for Hansi Flick's team, Schuster added: "The way they have played so far and won the championship, they are one of the favourites for me."

    Schuster also considers Atletico Madrid, another of his former clubs, to be serious contenders for the title.

    Atleti reached the Champions League final in 2014 and 2016 and he expects them to be able to exploit RB Leipzig's lack of experience in European competition and the absence of Timo Werner, who left to join Chelsea, when they meet in the last eight on Thursday.

    "The final is definitely a step too far, but what they have achieved so far is excellent," Schuster said of Leipzig.

    "You have to see what a young and sometimes inexperienced team they have – and that is at the Champions League level.

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  • RB Leipzig v Atletico Madrid: Just how big a miss is Timo Werner in Lisbon? RB Leipzig v Atletico Madrid: Just how big a miss is Timo Werner in Lisbon?

    It does not exactly take an Einstein-like genius to suggest any team, let alone RB Leipzig, would miss a striker the quality of Timo Werner.

    But when coming up against a team with the defensive quality of Atletico Madrid it appears an even bigger loss.

    Werner opted not play in the remainder of Leipzig's resumed Champions League campaign, however long that may last, after signing for Premier League side Chelsea.

    So, just how big a loss will he be to Leipzig? Well, using Opta data for the Bundesliga and LaLiga in 2019-20, we have compared Werner's stats against Marcel Sabitzer, Patrik Schick and Yussuf Poulsen and analysed Atleti's defensive strength to highlight the size of the task in Lisbon on Thursday.


    TIM-WOE WITHOUT WERNER?

    The raw numbers show Werner was, and prepare to be very shocked here (disclaimer: you won't be), Leipzig's most potent forward this season – yeah, we were surprised too.

    His 28 goals was bettered only in Germany's top flight by Robert Lewandowski (another surprise…), with Schick's 10 the next best of our four chosen Leipzig players. Sabitzer had nine and Poulsen five.

    Of course, that does not tell the full story given Werner played all 34 games, while Sabitzer (32), Schick and Poulsen (both 22) each played fewer.

    However, even when looking at the data per 90 minutes, Werner's average of 0.9 is still comfortably the best, with Schick (0.69) next in line and Poulsen (0.37) and Sabitzer (0.32) well behind.

    Werner's 64 shots on target equate to 2.05 per 90 minutes, which is also better than Schick (1.38), Sabitzer (0.86) and Poulsen (0.74).

    So, not particularly friendly reading for Leipzig fans so far. Things do not get much better when looking at big-chance conversion, with Werner's at 46.15 per cent.

    Schick's 42.86 is not too far behind, but Sabitzer (22.22) and Poulsen (37.5) are some way off Werner's figure.

    A shot conversion rate of 28 per cent means Werner also led in this category. Throw in five braces and three hat-tricks, none of the other three managed any in those areas, and the Germany star's absence is pretty pronounced.

    Werner had eight assists too, with Sabitzer only one back here on seven.


    BREAKING DOWN DIEGO'S DEFENSIVE WALL

    Of course, it is not just Werner's goals that make this such a difficult tie. Even with him involved getting through Atletico's notoriously difficult defence would have been tricky.

    And there is plenty of encouragement for Atleti when looking at the numbers since LaLiga resumed in June.

    In the 11 games Atleti played, their defence was breached just six times and the team kept six clean sheets. 

    In the 27 matches pre-lockdown, the opposition scored 21 times and Atleti registered 11 shut outs.

    Their tackle success jumped up slightly from 61.23 per cent to 63.37, while there were no errors leading to goals in the 11 games since the resumption (impressively there were only two in this category pre-lockdown).

    In terms of shots on target faced, Atleti averaged out at three per game (81 from 27 before the league was suspended, 33 in 11 after the restart).

    For total shots, Atleti faced a few more on average (11.6 compared to 10.6) but there is no doubting Leipzig face a daunting task.

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