Lars Stindl scored a second-half brace as Borussia Mönchengladbach came out on top of a thrilling encounter with Augsburg at the WWK Arena, tightening their grip on fourth place in the table.
Augsburg 2-3 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Goals: 0-1 Bensebaini (49'), 0-2 Stindl (53'), 1-2 Löwen (57'), 1-3 Stindl (79'), 2-3 Finnbogason (83')
Gladbach threatened inside two minutes as Jonas Hofmann floated a free-kick into the Augsburg area, but Ramy Bensebaini's header was straight at home goalkeeper Tomas Koubek. There wasn't much to report over the next half-hour, with the two sides enjoying a hard-fought and at times feisty battle in midfield. Stindl had the game's first proper effort on 36 minutes, drawing a fine low stop from Koubek after neat build-up play from Hofmann and Florian Neuhaus. Hofmann was then guilty of squandering the best chance of the half, losing his footing and clipping the ball wide with the goal at his mercy, after Koubek had saved from Neuhaus. Augsburg showed flashes of inspiration on the counter with Florian Niederlechner and Ruben Vargas looking lively, but end product was sorely lacking, with Vargas skying their only shot of the first half well over the bar.
The game burst into life at the start of the second half, with Stindl squaring for Bensebaini to put Gladbach ahead after some hesitant defending from Augsburg. Stindl was on target himself four minutes later, as Tobias Strobl won the ball high up the pitch and half-time substitute Alassane Plea teed up his captain for 2-0. The hosts hit back almost immediately as Raphael Framberger, who also came on at the interval, whipped in an inch-perfect cross for Eduard Löwen to head in his first goal in Augsburg colours. Plea then rattled the crossbar with a powerful header from Bensebaini's cross, before Framberger missed a great chance to bring Augsburg level. Stindl took his second goal brilliantly, flicking the ball over his own head from Stefan Lainer's cross and half-volleying past a stranded Koubek for 3-1. Again, Augsburg refused to buckle, with substitute Alfred Finnbogason latching onto Marco Richter's superb through ball and slipping past Yann Sommer to set up a grandstand finish. Hofmann drew a brilliant save from Koubek and Finnbogason almost headed in at the back post in a breathless finale, but Gladbach held on to win the day and shore up fourth place.
- Bensebaini made his first start of 2020 after injury, and was on target for the first time since his match-winning brace against Bayern Munich on 7 December 2019.
- Stindl took his season tally to five goals, two more than he managed throughout the whole of 2018/19. Four of his strikes have come since the turn of the year, all away from home.
- Löwen scored his first Bundesliga goal for Augsburg after joining on loan from Hertha Berlin in January. He scored three top-flight goals for Nuremberg last season.
- Finnbogason scored for the first time since his return from a shoulder injury last month. He was last on target against Schalke in early November.
- Augsburg have dropped 17 of a possible 21 points in 2020.
- Gladbach have gone seven Bundesliga games without defeat against Augsburg. Their last loss to Die Fuggerstädter came in December 2016, when former Foal Martin Hinteregger – now of Eintracht Frankfurt – scored in a 1-0 win at the WWK Arena.
Watch: Bensebaini: "That was fun!"
Augsburg: Koubek – Lichtsteiner (Framberger 46'), Gouweleeuw (c), Jedvaj, Max – Khedira (Finnbogason 73'), Gruezo – Richter (Cordova 87'), Löwen, Vargas – Niederlechner
Unused subs: Luthe, Suchy, Sarenren Bazee, Uduokhai, Iago, Jensen
Out: Baier (suspended), Giefer (foot), Götze (hip), Hahn (ill), Moravek (flu), Schieber (calf)
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Gladbach: Sommer – Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini – Strobl (Kramer 75'), Zakaria – Hofmann, Neuhaus, Thuram (Plea 46') – Stindl (c) (Embolo 86')
Unused subs: Sippel, Herrmann, Raffael, Wendt, Benes, Jantschke
Out: Bennetts (hamstring), Johnson (cold)
Coach: Marco Rose