Borussia Monchengladbach are a club that is on the brink of becoming a superpower in the Bundesliga. With their away form being an Achilles heel in what is a very talented squad, there is one area where they do not lack: goals. In the Bundesliga this season, there are only three teams who have scored more than Monchengladbach so far, two of which are in the top four. Monchengladbach have found the back of the net twenty-eight times so far this season, ten of which have come from their main striker, Marcus Thuram.
The 25-year-old French striker currently finds himself second in the Bundesliga’s top scorer race, behind Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku. In what has, so far, been an impressive season for the pacey striker, it is no surprise that many of Europe’s elite are looking at obtaining his services. In this piece, we analyse what Thuram brings to Monchengladbach and how he is a handful for those currently playing in the position his famous father, Lillian Thuram, once did.
Season so far:
Marcus Thuram has made 15 appearances this season for Monchengladbach, starting all 15. His ability to link up play and beat defenders before finding the back of the net gives his side a constant threat every game.
The visual pizza chart above shows the percentile rank that Marcus Thuram has compared to his fellow strikers in the Bundesliga. As you can see, Thuram ranks just outside the 94th percentile in shots per 90 minutes and just outside the 82nd percentile for touches in the opposition box per 90 minutes. This combination, alongside the low percentile rankings for passes and aerial duels, shows that Thuram is a classic striker who has one thought: find the back of the net.
No stranger to finding the net:
The two visuals above display the shots taken from aerial and goalmouth perspectives, as well as expected goals from this season and last season. It is clear from these that Thuram is attempting far more shots on goal, which has resulted in him already tripling his goal tally compared to last season, with 10 goals in 51 attempts. On average, Thuram averages a goal every one hundred and thirty-five minutes and ranks in the 98th percentile for shots on target this season with 30 out of 45 attempts.
Despite his xG per shot increasing only slightly from 0.16 to 0.2, it is this improvement in goal return and attempts that shows the potential of the Frenchman. With ten goals in 15 appearances in the Bundesliga so far this season, it is hard to argue with Thuram’s technique. However, despite the improvement in goal scoring so far, it is an area that I feel he can improve in further to become far more clinical.
If there is one thing Marcus Thuram is not afraid of, other than attempting a shot at goal, it is taking on defenders and beating them for pace.
As shown in the two visuals above, a lot of Thuram’s dribbles come down the left side, as he has been used there in the past for club and country. However, the success with which Thuram beats defenders is one that should not go unnoticed. On average, the Frenchman has a dribble success rate of 61% per game, quite impressive for a number nine.
This statistic is impressive and is shown more clearly in the second visual with Thuram completing forty penetrating runs into the opposition box so far this season, an attribute that, combined with his highest speed of 35.72 km/h, is enough to put fear into any defender.
One area where the Frenchman has also shown improvement but could also further develop is his overall link-up play.
The final visual displayed above represents Thuram’s successful passes in his side’s last Bundesliga fixture against league leaders, Borussia Dortmund, back in November 2022. Monchengladbach went on to win this fixture 4-2, with Thuram scoring his side’s third goal of the game, but it is the improvement in his link play that has allowed him to bring his teammates into the game more.
Thuram has been able to adapt from being more forward-facing, coming in from the left to a striker that can also now play with his back to goal and get involved in linking up the play. So far this season, Thuram has an average of 73% pass completion, with 86% coming in his own half, which shows the Frenchman is not scared to come deep to receive the ball to help the play when he has to.
The goalscoring prowess of Marcus Thuram has not gone unnoticed, nor has the abundant potential he has yet to unlock. With a vast improvement already shown so far this season compared to last, it would not surprise me if many of Europe’s top clubs battled it out for his services. However, if he is to become one of the elite strikers in Europe, then it is clear to see from the pizza chart we saw at the beginning of this piece that there are key areas he still needs to improve in. Positioning and aerial duels are two that will definitely be required; nonetheless, Thuram has all the attributes and talent that it takes to make the next step and to step completely out of his father’s shadow.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine