Inside the Brain of a Teenage Soccer Genius

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 Hoffenheim

Xhaka proved to be a smart signing for Lucien Farve this summer
Borussia Monchengladbach kicked off their Bundesliga campaign with a late home victory against Hoffenheim after taking the lead in the first half. They conceded in the second half, but were able to come back when they drew another free kick from the Hoffenheim defense, resulting in a winning goal from the home side.

Without a doubt, summer signing Granit Xhaka, the Swiss teenager who came to Gladbach from the Swiss Champions FC Basel in the Axpo Superleague, was a huge hit. He was a constant threat to the Hoffenheim goal, getting the first on-target effort in the ninth minute and then forcing a foul from the defense in the 32nd minute. Hanke met the free kick inside the box and sent a lovely header to the far post, giving the home side the 1-0 lead. Hoffenheim pushed at the other end of the pitch with Xhaka's Switzerland teammate Eren Derdiyok nearly equalizing on several occasions throughout the remainder of the match but Hoffenheim's long ball approach often left him offside or facing a wall of defenders. Gladbach's young keeper Ter Stegen was able to keep Derdiyok and Usami at bay for a majority of the game, but he was beaten by a header from Firmino in the 66th minute. Hoffenheim were equal but Gladbach's ability to possess and the danger of the Swiss teenager in their center midfield forced a good scoring opportunity with ten minutes to go in regular time. Gladbach's Venezuelan play maker Juan Arango converted the free kick opportunity deep in Hoffenheim territory and gave his side their first win of the 2012/2013 Bundesliga campaign.

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