Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea moved top of the Bundesliga goals and assists charts with nine and seven respectively as Borussia Mönchengladbach overcame VfB Stuttgart 3-1 in the Matchday 13 curtain-raiser on Friday.
Jonas Hofmann returned to Gladbach’s starting line-up after a three-week absence with a shoulder injury – and immediately showed the home crowd what they’d been missing. Scampering into the box with just four minutes on the clock, the Germany international swept in Plea’s left-wing cross for the opener. Plea was involved again midway through the half when the hosts doubled their lead, his outside-of-the-boot pass dissecting the visiting rearguard and finding Thuram, who made no mistake from 12 yards. Stuttgart refused to give in though, and scored an eye-catching goal of their own to get a foothold in the game when Borna Sosa scurried in from the left flank and found Thiago Tomas, who bamboozled Marvin Friedrich with a stunning turn before curling the ball in at the far post.
If the first half gave the impression that almost every attack ended with a goal – or at least a presentable chance – the opposite was initially true after the interval. Both teams continued to get forward at every opportunity, but the killer pass was lacking in the final third. Thuram had the first real opening of the half on 70 minutes, but miscued his shot – and Gladbach’s failure to kill the game off only fanned the flames of Stuttgart’s belief that they could make a comeback. Waldemar Anton headed wide from a corner while Chris Führich had the home fans biting their nails with a jinking run into the box, only to be crowded out before he could get a shot away. Serhou Guirassy had the equaliser on his toe in the closing stages when he met Tomas’ cross from the right, but Sippel produced a jaw-dropping reaction save to keep it out. Substitute Patrick Herrmann ensured all three points stayed at Borussia-Park with the last kick of the game, drilling in on the counter from Kouadio Kone's pass.
- Hofmann's goal was his fourth of the season, and the earliest Gladbach have found the net this term.
- Thuram has nine Bundesliga goals this term now, making him the league's joint-leading scorer.
- Plea registered his sixth and seventh assists of 2022/23, putting him level with Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani at the top of the chart.
- Tomas' strike was his second of the season, and sixth in the Bundesliga overall - four of which have come away from home.
- Sosa notched his fourth assist of the campaign, more than any other Stuttgart player.
- All five of Gladbach’s Bundesliga wins under Farke have been on home soil.
Watch: Jonas Hofmann - 'Nice to score on comeback'
Gladbach: Sippel - Scally, Friedrich, Jantschke (Stindl 81'), Bensebaini - Kone, Weigl - Hofmann (Herrmann 90'+3), Kramer (c), Plea (Netz 87') - Thuram
Unused subs: Olschowsky, Ngoumou, Fraulo, Müsel, Reitz, Borges Sanches
Out: Elvedi (unconfirmed), Itakura (knee), Lainer (not included), Neuhaus (knee), Sommer (ankle), Wolf (shoulder)
Coach: Daniel Farke
Stuttgart: Müller - Stenzel (Vagnoman 68'), Mavropanos, Anton, Sosa - Endo (c), Ahamada (Egloff 88') - Tomas, Führich (Perea 84') - Pfeiffer (Silas 68'), Guirassy
Unused subs: Bredlow, Karazor, Nartey, Kastanaras
Out: Coulibaly (muscular), Ito (illness), Millot (thigh), Zagadou (flu)
Coach: Michael Wimmer
Watch: Joe Scally on 'massive three points'
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