bundesliga

Alassane Plea at the double as Borussia Mönchengladbach bridge gap on leaders RB Leipzig with comeback win against Mainz

Alassane Plea scored twice as Borussia Mönchengladbach came from behind to beat Mainz and keep the pressure on Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig.

Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 Mainz
Goals: 0-1 Quaison (12'), 1-1 Plea (24'), 2-1 Plea (76'), 3-1 Neuhaus (88')

Gladbach - perhaps still licking their wounds following last weekend's 2-0 loss to top-four rivals Schalke - were caught cold inside the first 12 minutes. Moussa Niakhate launched a searching ball over the top of the midfield and into the path of Robin Quaison, who shrugged off the attentions of Fabian Johnson - making his first start since August 2019 - and drove a venomous effort beyond the advancing Yann Sommer. The Gladbach No.1 was called on to thwart Jean-Paul Boetius from range, before Plea turned in Oscar Wendt's devilish set-piece to level. Plea crashed a close-range effort off the underside of the crossbar moments later and fluffed his lines when presented with a glorious opening late in the half, but not before Sommer had tipped wide from Jean-Philippe Mateta.

Mainz coach Achim Beierlorzer was forced to think on his feet after losing wide players Aaron Martin and Pierre Gabriel to injury in the space of 22 second-half minutes. Substitute Daniel Brosinski brought the very best out of Sommer from range, but there were signs Gladbach were beginning to find their groove as Robin Zentner kept out Marcus Thuram, Patrick Herrmann and Plea. The Mainz keeper's resistance was broken with 14 minutes remaining, though, when Herrmann helped on Wendt's free-kick, allowing Plea to double his tally. The woodwork denied substitute Breel Embolo soon after, before Plea spurned the chance to complete his hat-trick, failing to make the most of Johnson's inviting ball into the box. Those missed opportunities almost came back to haunt Gladbach, but Sommer saved spectacularly from Karim Onisiwo before Florian Neuhaus caught Zentner in no man's land with a sensational 40-yard lob that - coupled with Leipzig's 2-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt - keeps the Foals firmly in the title hunt.

Match stats

  • Plea scored his second Bundesliga brace, and sixth goal of the season.
  • Sommer has saved 76.5 per cent of all shots on his goal this season, which is the best rate for any goalkeeper with at least 10 appearances. He also has five clean sheets, which is second only to Manuel Neuer, with Borussia conceding a league-low 21 goals.
  • In contrast to Gladbach, Mainz have the league’s leakiest defence (44 conceded).
  • Gladbach are the league’s best home team this season with 25 points, including wins in each of their last eight at Borussia-Park.
  • The Foals are unbeaten in eight Bundesliga games against the 05ers (W6, D2) stretching back almost exactly four years to 29 January 2016 when they were beaten 1-0 in Mainz.
  • Quaison scored his eighth goal of the season - a career best.

Watch: Yann Sommer reflects on his part in Gladbach's win

Line-ups

Gladbach: Sommer (c) – Johnson (Hofmann 87'), Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt – Herrmann, Kramer, Zakaria – Plea, Stindl (Neuhaus 72'), Thuram (Embolo 72')
Unused subs: Sippel, Strobl, Raffael, Traore, Benes
Out: Bensebaini (torn muscle), Jantschke (torn muscle), Lainer (suspended)
Coach: Marco Rose

Mainz: Zentner – St. Juste, Hack (Öztunali 81'), Niakhate (c) – Pierre-Gabriel (Barreiro 67'), Baku, Boetius, Martin (Brosinski 46') – Quaison – Onisiwo, Mateta
Unused subs: Müller, Latza, Maxim, Ji, Mwene, Szalai
Out: Bell (ankle), Fernandes (knee), Kunde (suspended)
Coach: Achim Beierlorzer