Borussia Mönchengladbach tightened their grip on the top three thanks to Alassane Plea’s winner at Bayer Leverkusen, who were left ruing a string of missed chances in Peter Bosz’s first game in charge.
Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Goals: 0-1 Plea (38’)
Bosz fielded an attacking line-up and his side obliged with a seemingly relentless barrage on the Gladbach goal, but in truth goalkeeper Yann Sommer was rarely troubled in the early stages and only a weak volley and a curling left-footed effort from Kai Havertz forced the Switzerland international into any saves of note. The opening goal, however, came at the other end of the pitch with Jonas Hofmann laying off for Plea, who buried Borussia’s first shot on target past Lukas Hradecky. The Finnish stopper was then called into action again to deny a powerful Nico Elvedi header, before Thorgan Hazard curled a long-range effort over the bar as Gladbach slowly grew into the game later in the first half.
The second followed much the same pattern as the first with the hosts on the front foot. Havertz and Sommer also continued their personal duel after the break, first with the Gladbach ‘keeper just beating the 19-year-old to the ball on the slide in the box before the Leverkusen attacker poked a half-volley straight into the grateful hands of the Swiss from six yards after a corner. The frame of Sommer’s goal was rattling moments later, though, when Karim Bellarabi fired across the face from the right, only for the ball to bounce out off the far post. Havertz tested Sommer another time late on with a glancing header, but the goalkeeper again came out on top. Hofmann came inches away from ensuring the three points for Gladbach as he dragged an effort narrowly across goal, but Gladbach had still done enough to claim an 11th win of the season.
- Plea is the Foals’ top scorer this season with 10 goals.
- Eight of those have come away from home, which is a league high with Robert Lewandowski.
- Bayer went 26 games undefeated against Gladbach between 1994 and 2010, which remains a Bundesliga record.
- Since the end of that run, the Foals have now beaten Leverkusen eight times, with Die Werkself prevailing six times and the honours shared on four occasions.
- Only league leaders Borussia Dortmund (44) and Bayern Munich (39) have scored more goals than Gladbach (37) so far this season.
Leverkusen: Hradecky – L. Bender (c), Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Havertz, Aranguiz, Brandt – Bellarabi, Volland, Bailey (Alario 69’)
Unused subs: Özcan, Dragovic, Paulinho, Baumgartlinger, Kohr, Weiser
Out: Pohjanpalo (ankle), Retsos (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Gladbach: Sommer – Lang, Elvedi, Ginter, Wendt – Zakaria (Kramer 81’), Strobl, Hofmann (Neuhaus 89’) – Hazard, Stindl (c), Plea (Herrmann 71’)
Unused subs: Sippel, Traore, Jantschke, Cuisance
Out: Bennetts (thigh), Doucoure (thigh), Raffael (collarbone), Johnson (back)
Coach: Dieter Hecking
Watch: Sommer on Plea's importance to Gladbach