Feature

Gladbach's Schubert has the wood on Guardiola

Andre Schubert is one of the very few coaches in world football who has a positive record against Pep Guardiola, winning one match and drawing the other. On Wednesday morning (AEST) they face each other in the UEFA Champions League so will history repeat itself?

Andre Schubert and Pep Guardiola

Andre Schubert and Pep Guardiola while they were in Germany Source: Getty Images

"We have to be able to learn from this game that we should never allow that to happen," Pep Guardiola said after Bayern Munich's shock 3-1 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach in December 2015. 

It was an upset masterminded by Andre Schubert who had only been named permanent head coach three weeks earlier.

It was, and still is, Schubert's first spell in charge of a first division club. 

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Gladbach were bottom of the league when Schubert took over, at first on an interim basis, in September. By the end of the season they were fourth and qualified for the Champions League. 

Impressive enough, but the fact that Gladbach were the only team not to lose to Bayern (they drew at the Allianz Arena 1-1) in the Bundesliga at least once last season shows that Schubert might have found a way to at the very least limit, and even beat Pep's sides. 

On Wednesday morning - LIVE, free and in HD on SBS - Gladbach travel to Manchester to take on City in their opening group match of the Champions League. 

Schubert will be hoping that Pep at least recognises him this time. 

He'll also be hoping he outwits him once again. 

But how did he do it?

Schubert played a 3-1-4-2 formation against Bayern, with Granit Xhaxa (now with Arsenal) "in a hybrid defensive role between the lines of defence and midfield," according to respected  

This often gave them a numerical superiority in both defence and midfield against Bayern's 4-3-3.

Schubert also utilised a "pendulating back four in their 3-5-2, with the full-backs moving between the defensive line and the midfield chain dependent on ball position and phase of play."

Gladbach tactics


It effectively meant that there was no space for Bayern's wingers to cut inside to, and Gladbach were able to press them when they were on the ball knowing that there was cover behind.

Bayern were constantly turning the ball over as no space was opening up. Gladbach made 28 interceptions in the match. 

As Bayern grew frustrated and pushed more players forward, Gladbach counter-attacked with brutal efficiency. 

"We lost our control after they went 1-0 up and they started to counter-attack," Guardiola said. 

"It can happen that you concede a goal but after the first goal we completely lost our discipline. That was not good at all. We ran straight into counter-attacks and that is the reason we lost today.

"It was difficult after the break because we kept losing possession. This game was a lesson that you should not neglect your own playing style." 

Gladbach's defensive nous is combined with an intelligent attack that features Thorgan Hazard - Eden's brother - who has four goals in five matches this season, and Brazilian Raffael who scored 15 goals and produced 13 assists last season. 

City showed they're the team to beat in the Premier League after an impressive win away at Manchester United, but Gladbach under Schubert could be their toughest test yet. 


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3 min read
Published 13 September 2016 at 3:31pm
By Nick Stoll