Gladbach 1-0 Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Park
It took simply 30 seconds for Denis Zakaria to make his mark on proceedings, clattering into Jude Bellingham and prompting a mass scrum earlier than many of the gamers had even touched the ball.
The problem set the tone for a primary half through which Borussia Mönchengladbach, having received solely one in all their opening 5 Bundesliga video games, got here out combating towards in-form Borussia Dortmund.
And Zakaria led the way in which, taking management of the sport, and firing residence after a neat return move with Matthias Ginter to present the Foals a first-half lead which they by no means surrendered.
“A lot of tackles, a purple card and plenty of yellows,” Zakaria informed Sky after a sport through which Mo Dahoud had been despatched off for Dortmund. “It is at all times a battle towards Dortmund and at this time we received that battle.”
For Gladbach, the win relieves the strain on new head coach Adi Hütter. For Zakaria, it might mark the beginning of a Gladbach renaissance after months of damage, COVID-19 and switch hypothesis.
It was solely a few months in the past that the 24-year-old Swiss midfielder appeared on the way in which out, along with his contract set to expire in 2022 and Gladbach unable to supply him an improved deal given the monetary results of the pandemic.
“Go or keep, I had the sensation that sure individuals would have appreciated me to carry some a reimbursement into the membership,” he informed Swiss newspaper Blick on the time. “I had a reputation which was attracting consideration within the switch market after which I suffered a set-back.”
Alleged curiosity from Italian facet AS Roma amongst others appeared to subside within the wake of a knee damage – suffered after an unlucky collision with Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer – and a coronavirus an infection.
The switch window closed, Zakaria modified his agent and stayed, selecting to spend not less than one other season within the Rhineland beneath Hütter, who had given him his breakthrough in Bern with Younger Boys. All of the sudden, the temper had modified.
“The state of affairs with my former agent was a bit sophisticated, however I by no means mentioned that I undoubtedly needed to go away,” he informed the native Rheinische Put up newspaper forward of the Dortmund sport, revealing that he was even in talks with sporting director Max Eberl to increase his deal.
“I’ve at all times mentioned that I really feel comfy in Gladbach,” he mentioned. “Clearly, Adi Hütter is a plus for me. He was like a father to me [in Bern] and I learnt a lot from him. It is at all times good when you will have a coach who likes your taking part in fashion.”
Gladbach’s midfield engine
For Zakaria, which means combining nice positional sense and one eye on purpose from midfield with a bodily tenacity which disrupts opponents.
Alongside his defensive midfield companion Kouadio Koné, that is precisely what he did towards Borussia Dortmund from the opening minute on Saturday night, feeding off an environment at Borussia Park which was already febrile for the return of former coach Rose.
They do not prefer it on this a part of the Rhineland when coaches or gamers depart their proud membership – “5 occasions German champions and the cup 3 times,” because the terrace chant goes – for pastures new, as Rose came upon when he was greeted with deafening whistles, essential banners, and a few unsavoury chants.
On present kind, it appears unlikely that Denis Zakaria will undergo the identical destiny – and that is factor for all involved.