eIt's not a completely new realization that the football world occasionally spawns great magicians. Players who master seemingly impossible tricks that captivate their audience with unexpected actions. Since the previous summer, a magician is now also touring Borussia Mönchengladbach through the stadiums of the Bundesliga. Although Alassane Pléa does not pull rabbits out of cylinders, he "can make goals from nowhere," says midfielder Christoph Kramer about his French counterpart. In football that is a "very blatant quality".
The tall striker has scored four goals in his first six games, making him the league's most notable new signing scorer – and this Saturday evening sees the 25-year-old make his first ever appearance at Bayern (18.30 in the FAZ live scoreboard) -Bundesliga and on Sky) meet. So he was not excited, "what could be better than playing against such an opponent in such a stadium," he told the "Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung". The Borussia drives with great optimism to Munich, after all, this seventh game day is a very auspicious moment to meet on Bayern, Dieter Hecking. After three winless games, the Munich pros would "think a bit," the coach says, "it's never wrong if you catch a team worrying about what's not going on."
The boulevard even claims to have learned that some Munich players allegedly took an increasingly skeptical attitude towards Niko Kovac. And that President Uli Hoeneß in such a sensitive moment publicly questioned personnel decisions of the coach and explains that Kovac must "in the end hold his head for it," the Munich players should actually employ. However, the Gladbach have for many months an away problem. They won only one Bundesliga match in the calendar year 2018 in a foreign stadium, in February this was at Hannover 96.
A key factor in the work to remedy this weakness is now Pléa, who moved in the summer for 23 million euros from OGC Nice to the Lower Rhine and is the most expensive player, the club has ever committed. Three of his four goals have been scored in the season so far away. This can of course be coincidence, but that this footballer can be a working tool in the fight against the Mönchengladbach waste of opportunity in recent years, is undisputed. Pléa is a classic center forward who "does not need many chances," says Hecking about the professional, who has an excellent education behind him.
After a childhood in tranquil Lille, he moved at the age of 14 to the Youth Academy of Olympique Lyon, which has the reputation of currently being the best training institution in the country of the world champion. Samuel Umtiti (FC Barcelona), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Anthony Martial (Arsenal) and Corentin Tolisso (FC Bayern) have also emerged from this school. Via AJ Auxerre Pléa then landed at OGC Nice, where he benefited from the well-known detail work of Lucien Favre. Today's Dortmund coach told him "technically and tactically," says Pléa, "he showed me how to challenge the ball, how to play, how to improve my degree".
Favre was also the one who recommended the attacker to change to Mönchengladbach, and Pléa, who carries the number 14 of his great role model Thierry Henry on the jersey, is very happy with his decision. "All this exceeds my expectations, the club, the stadium, all the trappings," he says. These are words behind which a good portion of humility is palpable. Apparently, Pléa is not a guy whose fame and money are upside down. Rather, he is considered a person who works with perseverance on their own development. He has shot three, six, eleven and 16 league goals in four seasons for OGC Nice, where he stormed together with the eccentric Mario Balotelli; That sounds like a very continuous progress. Mönchengladbach is now "the next step," he says, knowing that although he is a very good footballer, he is by no means a world-class player.
Despite years together with Paul Pogba and Samuel Umtiti in the U21, he was not allowed to complete an A international match. And that Favre, who knew long ago from his move to Dortmund and the local search for striker, was not concerned about his pupil from Nice, has astonished many observers. For the Champions League maybe still missing a few qualities. When 2: 2 in Wolfsburg, where Pléa met with a magnificent shot to 0: 1, he favored the quick equalization of VfL by a hair-raising Fehlpass deep in his own half of the game. But such mishaps forgive the Gladbacher her new hero, who wants to appear after matches in Augsburg, against Schalke, in Berlin and in Wolfsburg this weekend for the first time on the very big Bundesliga stage. In the table, the Borussia Bayern could even overtake with an away win.