Shortly before kick-off of the second half, the players of the AS Roma had just warmed up briefly and intensively, stood a single Gladbacher at the center. He was already there waiting for his teammates to enter the lawn. Marcus Thuram was already ready.
There are many scenes of the attacker who are remembered by this emotional Europa League evening in Mönchengladbach. Thuram's cross before the own goal, his goal to make it 2-1 (2: 1), through which Borussia Mönchengladbach has good chances for the knockout stages after three games without a win in the group stage. Of course, the exuberant cheers. But this brief moment in the half brings the current status of the 22-year-old at Borussia to the point: Thuram goes ahead. And the crew follows.
In the summer Thuram came for a transfer of about ten million euros from the French first division Guingamp to the Bundesliga, who is currently leading the first league. He needed only a few games to settle in, now he has scored seven goals in the past ten competitive matches and prepared four.
His numbers are impressive, his game is also: About four minutes after Thuram impatiently had waited for the impetus to the second half, he showed in a single attack several strengths. A long high pass from goalie Yann Sommer led the Frenchman to Lars Stindl on. A little later, Thuram hit the ball again at the edge of the box, then made a quick move past Chris Smalling and closed. Only Federico Fazio blocked the shot (48th minute).
Thuram unites several types of players
Thuram is an extraordinary player because he unites qualities that make up different types of players. He is tall and physically strong, yet very agile, fast, technically good. "I do not want to say he can do everything, but he can do a lot," Jonas Hofmann said after the game. Due to its flexibility Thuram is strong on the wing and also centrally in the storm, can bind or forward long balls, but also go deep and passports.
That makes it difficult even for one's own teammates in the arrangement. With Florian Neuhaus there were misunderstandings against Rome, if this fit a ball in the depth, the Thuram did not at all. "We talk a lot in training, we want to get things done," said the midfielder, "I think it's getting better and better."
Before the goal to 1: 0 it worked well. Thuram relied on Neuhaus, who played the Frenchman in the run. Thuram delayed the pace and then suddenly pulled back to pass Smalling before Fazio steered his sharp cross into the goal (35 '). In the fifth minute of injury time, he also demonstrated his Torgefahr, as he met head work for the substitute Alassane Pléa head to win.
Rose: "We can still work on everything"
Was that the achievement of a perfect striker? Not yet. In the second half Thuram dived after a good start. He got fewer balls, was not as serene as before the break, not so agile and ran now but firmly. It was the phase in which his team was offensive almost no longer present.
"He's a young guy, we can still work on everything," said coach Marco Rose and then grabbed an improvement point explicitly: just Thuram's header game. "But he made one today, so he's well on the way there, too."
It was Thuram's third goal per capita this season. But in fact, despite his size of 1.92 meters, weaknesses in Rome were hinted at in the header game. In the first half he lost at a corner of the guests at the near post, the duel against Nicolò Zaniolo. Also offensively his timing did not always fit. In the closing stages, he committed a foul on two corners and gave away opportunities. When he was able to finish unchallenged in stoppage time, but his header was accurate.
Federico Gambarini / dpa
Despite weaknesses in the header game: Thurams goal in injury time was his third goal of the season head
Minutes later, after the final whistle, Thuram jumped over the court for joy. Then he hung his jersey on the corner flag, holding it up in front of the curve. A jubilation, which is slowly becoming a tradition, since the derby victory against Cologne.
At some point Thuram came to rest: About an hour after the final whistle, just after midnight, when the last journalists were still waiting in vain for the man of the evening, he sat in the cabin, as the last player, only club employees were still there. That's what one of them told.
Thuram had his cell phone in his hand. It is quite possible that his father had also already registered: Lilian Thuram, France's world champion of 1998. This call him after each game, is next to his own biggest critic, said Thuram in August the "Rheinische Post".
This time, the criticism should relate especially to the second half, perhaps also to the header game. But if he can improve that then Thuram is really close to the perfect striker.
Borussia Mönchengladbach – AS Roma 2: 1 (1: 0)
1: 0 Fazio (35th, own goal)
1: 1 Fazio (64th)
2: 1 Thuram (90. + 4)
Gladbach: Summer – Jantschke (28th man), Ginter, Elvedi – Lainer, Bénes, Zakaria, Neuhaus (74th Pléa), Wendt (85th Bensebaini) – Stindl, Thuram
Rome: López – Santon, Smalling, Fazio, Kolarov – Veretout, Mancini (59th Diawara), Zaniolo (77th), Pastore (80th Perotti), Kluivert – Dzeko
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano
Yellow cards: Benes, Bensebaini / Mancini, Santon, Diawara