Friday, December 4, 2020

Gladbach fume at Neuhaus links, but would Germany star suit Bayern?

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 13 Nov 2020

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It was perhaps inevitable that Florian Neuhaus’ encouraging early performances in a Germany shirt would prompt speculation of interest from Bayern Munich.

European champions Bayern have a reputation for plucking the Bundesliga’s best talents, much to the frustration of their rivals.

After watching Neuhaus sparkle with an all-action display in a 1-0 friendly win over Czech Republic on Wednesday, Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl was dismayed by talk of the 23-year-old being a potential target for Bayern.

“I sometimes ask myself: What do we want?” Eberl told SPORT1. “On the one hand, we all want a competition in which other clubs can become champions.

“But on the other hand, these players then become again linked to this club [Bayern].

“Why not just say: ‘Hey, cool! Something is developing at Gladbach’. Why shouldn’t a Florian Neuhaus stay with us?

“The reflex is now always: good game, good development, where is he going? It always goes way too fast for me.”

The Gladbach midfielder, who debuted for Germany last month, had five shots against the Czechs – more than any other player – and won 83.3 per cent of his duels, while his 103 touches trailed only team-mate Jonathan Tah.

And unfortunately for Gladbach, Bayern could certainly benefit from recruiting a player of Neuhaus’ talents.

Although he likes a shot – as evidenced in Leipzig – Neuhaus is not necessarily a reliable goal threat, having failed to net in the Bundesliga this season and hit the target only once from seven attempts.

Neuhaus has scored just four times in the league since the start of the 2019-20 season, with Bayern duo Leon Goretzka (seven) and Joshua Kimmich (five) besting that tally.

But where he stands out from Hansi Flick’s existing midfield options is with dribbling skills not seen in Bavaria since Thiago Alcantara’s move to Liverpool.

Thiago attempted 85 dribbles last term, completing 71, yet Bayern’s next most prolific dribbler in the middle of the pitch is Kimmich, who has pulled off just 22 of 38 attempts since the 2019-20 campaign began.

Neuhaus, since the start of last season, has successfully executed 53 of his 78 dribbles, effectively getting out of tight spaces and moving Gladbach up the pitch.

He is understandably not as well rounded in possession as Thiago, failing to match up to the Spaniard’s remarkable passing statistics that saw him complete 90.5 per cent of attempts, 87.3 per cent in the opposition half and 82.5 per cent ending in the final third.

However, respective figures of 84.5 per cent, 77.0 per cent and 69.8 per cent are reasonable enough when considering Neuhaus has created more chances (30) than Thiago (20), Goretzka (25) or Corentin Tolisso (16).

Only the outstanding Kimmich has won possession more often the Neuhaus (270 versus 235), and the injured Bayern man – set to return in January – joins Thiago in leading the reported target for touches (3763 and 2150 beating 2104).

Keeping such company, Neuhaus looks a Bayern player in waiting – however much that might upset Gladbach.

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