Ukraine national team edge Borussia Mönchengladbach in friendly fundraiser
The Bundesliga's support to the people of Ukraine continued on Wednesday 11 May as Borussia Mönchengladbach took on the national team at Borussia Park, with all profits from the game going to charitable efforts in the country.
In what was Ukraine's first fixture since Russia's invasion, a crowd of 20,223 not only helped raise money to aid Ukrainians suffering as a result of the war, they witnessed what doubled up as a warm-up for the team's FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 semi-final play-off against Scotland on 1 June.
Ukraine nationals wishing to attend the game were able to do so free of charge, and the senior international team will be official guests of Gladbach after the game, staying at Borussia Park's on-site hotel and using the club's training ground from 10-12 May.
The match ended in a 2-1 triumph for Ukraine, the lively Mykhaylo Mudryk opening the scoring in the ninth minute, only for Connor Noß to equalise shortly afterwards. Substitute Oleksandr Pikhalionok drilled in the winner in the closing stages.
"We’re very happy to be able to help the Ukrainian FA through this game, and hope that as many football fans as possible from all over the country come to the stadium and make a donation to a good cause by buying a ticket to the match. All Ukrainian citizens will have free entry to the game," said Borussia chief executive, Stephan Schippers.
The Foals have already raised €176,000 for Ukrainians affected by the war and some of those funds have already been distributed. That included donating a euro for each of its 94,269 members, a sum which was pledged to organisations working with refugees from Ukraine or those still in the country requiring help.
Alongside his wife, Christina, Gladbach defender Matthias Ginter also lent his support by using their foundation to collect items, such as medicines, socks and baby food, to be sent to Ukraine - all of which underlines a string of Bundesliga efforts to help the country as it deals with the ravages of war.
The DFL quickly condemned the invasion on 24 February and €1 million available for humanitarian support, a move backed up by a swathe of calls for donations from the league's players and clubs.
Among them were Borussia Dortmund, who welcomed Ukrainian refugees to train with them.
Players from Zorya Lugansk and Dynamo Kyiv were among those that took up the club's offer and Dortmund went on to raise €400,000 in support of victims of the war in Ukraine when they faced off against Dynamo at the Signal Iduna Park during their 'Match for Peace' tour.
Watch: Dortmund stage charity match vs. Dynamo Kyiv
Recap the game as it happened in our blog below
GLADBACH 1-2 UKRAINE
Goals: 0-1 Mudryk (9'), 1-1 Noß (14'), 1-2 Pikhalionok (82')
The referee brings the game to an end and there are cheers for both sets of players all around the ground. It's a deserved win for Ukraine as they continue their preparations for their World Cup qualifier against Scotland, at the same doubling doubling up as a fundraiser for victims of the war currently affecting their country.
89' FINE STOP FROM SIPPEL
Ukraine almost get a third as Sydorchuk receives the ball about 25 yards out. His swerving shot is pawed away by Sippel though.
82' GOAL! UKRAINE RETAKE THE LEAD!
Gladbach get caught in possession on the edge of their own penalty area as they try to play the ball out from the back. Ukraine fashion a pocket of space thanks to some swift passing, culminating in Pikhalionok drilling the ball low into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
80' LAINER TO THE RESCUE!
Ukraine break forward into space down the right and burst forward at pace. Gladbach have committed men forward and are outnumbered, but Lainer is in the right place at the right time to cut out a cross towards the back post.
75' BENNETTS AGAIN
The English youngster collects the ball on the edge of the box and jinks past a couple of players. He's trying to find an opening for a pass or a shot, but he runs into trouble and is robbed of possession.
72' OVER FROM BENNETTS!
A glorious chance for Gladbach to take the lead as Bennetts receives the ball, completely unmarked, just inside the Ukraine box. His control is good but he shanks a right-footed effort well over the bar.
69' ELVEDI OFF
The Gladbach centre-back looks to have picked up a knock so they're not taking any chances. He's replaced by Müsel.
67' SYDORCHUK FROM RANGE
The Ukraine midfielder tries his luck from about 30 yards out in a central position, but his shot skims off the turf and goes wide.
65' BRIEF RESPITE
Lainer tears into space down the right, collecting a perfectly weighted pass from Embolo. His cross into the middle can only find a Ukraine foot, though.
61' ONE-WAY TRAFFIC
It's still all Ukraine at the moment. They're pinging the ball around comfortably and forcing Gladbach onto the back foot, but they're yet to seriously trouble Sippel.
56' UKRAINE PRESSING
Gladbach haven't been able to get the ball out of their own half for the last few minutes, with Ukraine pressing high up the pitch, albeit without causing any turnovers or creating any chances.
52' MUDRYK ALMOST GETS A SECOND!
The Ukraine attacker does superbly as he shows Lainer a clean pair of heels before dinking the ball over Sippel. It's almost his second of the game, but Elvedi is well placed to hook it off the line!
49' CHANCE FOR SYDORCHUK
Mudryk makes a nuisance of himself once again, finding space with a good overlapping run on the left before chipping a cross into the middle. Sydorchuk is arriving into the box but just can't quite control it, and Sippel is able to save.
48' WHOLESALE CHANGES
Gladbach coach Adi Hütter has made a number of substitutions at the break. These XI are now on the field: Sippel - Lainer, Scally, Elvedi, Bensebaini, Netz - Reitz, Koné, Neuhaus - Embolo, Bennetts
46' SECOND HALF UNDER WAY
Ukraine get the ball rolling again!
It's 1-1 at the halfway stage of what has been an entertaining game so far. Ukraine, playing their first game since last year, have looked sharp and dangerous going forward, particularly through Mudryk. More of the same in the second half, please!
45'+2 HUGE SAVE FROM SOMMER!
Mudryk leads the charge as Ukraine seek to counter and they get forward quickly and in numbers. The goalscorer plays the ball to his right to Shaparenko, arriving at pace into the Gladbach box. He only has Sommer to beat, but his first-time effort is brilliantly saved by the home keeper.
44' REITZ SHOT BLOCKED
A nice dummy from Stindl on the edge of the Ukraine area, letting a low cross from the right through his legs for Reitz. The 19-year-old gets a shot away but it's blocked before it reaches the goal.
40' GLIMPSE FOR STINDL
The Gladbach veteran with a superb first touch to control a high ball as it drops over his shoulder, having bent his run behind the Ukraine defence. Matviienko recovers to nick it off his toe, though.
36' MUDRYK ALMOST IN
The Ukraine forward, making his first senior international appearance in this game, looks to be a real handful. His late run into the box isn't picked up and he only just fails to connect with a cross from the left, with just Sommer to beat at point-blank range.
33' STINDL FIRES OVER
Neat build-up from Gladbach this time involving Plea and Herrmann, who plays it back to Plea inside the area. He has his back to goal so lays the ball off to the arriving Stindl, whose curling shot from the edge of the box is always rising and zooms well over.
31' PLEA GOAL DISALLOWED
The Frenchman has the ball in the net after collecting a nice through-ball from midfield and rounding the goalkeeper, but the referee's assistant immediately raises his flag for offside, and the goal won't count.
28' FRIEDRICH IN THE RIGHT PLACE
Konoplia charges down the right wing into space and crosses into the box with a dangerous-looking ball. Friedrich is on hand to clear though.
24' GINTER ALERT
Ukraine go on the front foot again, this time down the left. Stepanenko attempts to thread a ball between Ginter and Friedrich for Mudryk to chase, but Ginter reads the danger and cuts out the pass at full stretch.
18' GAME SETTLING DOWN
After that early flurry of chances and attacking moves, both teams appear to be taking a breather at present, with the action concentrated in the middle of the park.
14' NOß EQUALISES!
Noß intercepts an attempted pass out from the back on the edge of the Ukraine penalty area. He holds off a challenge and, with just goalkeeper Bushchan to beat, drills it high into the net from 10 yards. Game on!
12' MUDRYK AGAIN!
Bored of the phrase 'one-touch passing' yet?! Well get used to it, because Ukraine are experts at it and create their next opportunity. The ball is worked to goalscorer Mudryk, who is allowed to advance towards goal in a central position, around 25 yards out. He smacks a low show towards the corner, but Sommer makes a good stop to keep it out.
9' GOAL! UKRAINE LEAD!
They'd been building towards this in the opening few minutes and now Ukraine have their goal! It's more swift, one-touch passing in midfield to pull Gladbach defenders out of position, before Sydorchuk plays a superb ball over the top with the outside of his right boot. Mudryk nips between Ginter and the outrushing Sommer to collect the pass and stroke it into an empty net!
5' MORE ONE-TOUCH PASSING
Ukraine's game plan is becoming apparent: their passing in midfield is so crisp right now, their one-touch moves slicing through Gladbach's midfield. It works well until they get into the final third, at which point they've been unable to find any holes in the Borussia rearguard.
2' PROMISING MOVE
Ukraine play their way out from the back with some slick, one-touch passing. They get forward at pace and go from the edge of their own penalty area to the edge of Gladbach's in a matter of just a few seconds. There's a murmur of approval from the crowd for the neat build-up, until Elvedi intercepts a pass to break up the attack.
Gladbach, playing in their all-white home kit, get the ball rolling as Plea kicks off.
GLADBACH: SEASON SO FAR
It's been a season of ups and downs for Gladbach, who go into the final round of Bundesliga fixtures 10th in the standings. They took four points off Bayern in the league and thumped them 5-0 in the DFB Cup second round, but have struggled for consistency in Adi Hütter's first campaign at the helm.
The national team's Ukraine-based players have seen little game time in the last few months after their domestic league was terminated due to continuing martial law in the country. Some of their top players such as Ruslan Malinovskyi, Andriy Yarmolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko are not involved due to club commitments.
UKRAINE STARTING XI
Bushchan - Konoplia, Zabarnyi, Matviienko, Karavaev - Sydorchuk, Stepanenko, Shaparenko, Buyalskyi, Mudryk - Besyedin
Pyatov, Riznyk, Bondar, Popov, Syrota, Buletsa, Garmash, Pikhalionok, Dovbyk
BIG DAY FOR UKRAINE
The Ukraine national team are playing for the first time since the Russian invasion. All proceeds from the match will go towards helping those affected by the war in Ukraine. The contest also offers Oleksandr Petrakov's side the chance to fine-tune ahead of their 2022 FIFA World Cup play-off semi-final against Scotland on 1 June.
BIG DAY FOR HERRMANN
The Gladbach winger is handed a rare start for the Foals, fresh from signing a two-year contract extension at the club earlier today.
GLADBACH STARTING XI
Sommer - Elvedi, Ginter, Friedrich - Herrmann, Reitz, Noß, Scally - Stindl, Hofmann - Plea
Sippel, Kone, Lainer, Netz, Bensebaini, Müsel, Neuhaus, Embolo, Bennetts
HELLO AND WELCOME!
Thanks for joining us for live build-up and coverage of today's friendly between Gladbach and the Ukraine national team. WE'll have the team news coming up shortly!
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