Lars Stindl scored his sixth goal of the season to pave the way for Borussia Mönchengladbach to inflict another heavy defeat on Shakhtar Donetsk to cement top spot in UEFA Champions League Group B on Wednesday.
Gladbach 4-0 Shakhtar
Goals: 1-0 Stindl (pen. 17), 2-0 Elvedi (34'), 3-0 Embolo (45'+1), 4-0 Wendt (77')
Gladbach made a lightning start when they thumped Shakhtar 6-0 at the start of the month, and they flew out of the traps in similar fashion here. Marcus Thuram and Breel Embolo had early openings before Florian Neuhaus spurned a golden opportunity, flashing wide of the post with the goal at his mercy. Shakhtar were unable to live with the hosts' high press and soon conceded a penalty, Serhiy Kryvtsov tripping Thuram after he had played a brilliant one-two with Stindl. The Gladbach captain coolly stroked home the spot-kick to give Marco Rose's side a deserved lead. Embolo grazed the outside of the post a few minutes later, but it was Nico Elvedi who doubled the Foals' advantage, heading in Stindl's pinpoint corner delivery at the front post. After several near-misses Embolo finally got his goal too, and in some style: the Swiss international firing in a bicycle kick to give his side a commanding 3-0 lead at half-time.
With nothing left to lose, the visitors were much improved at the start of the second half, getting forward with greater purpose and more confidence than they had shown in the first 45 minutes. Still, they struggled to get behind a well-organised Gladbach rearguard, although Junior Moraes should have done better than fire into the side netting after rounding Yann Sommer - even if the flag was subsequently raised for offside. Oscar Wendt put the result beyond all doubt in the 77th minute when his curling free-kick from the right evaded everyone in the Shakhtar area before bouncing in at the back post. The away side had a smattering of chances in the closing stages, with Sommer twice producing brilliant stops to deny Tete and keep a clean sheet in a win that consolidated the Foals' place at the Group B summit.
- Gladbach scored 13 goals in their two previous Champions League campaigns, but already have 14 so far in the 2020/21 groups.
- Rose’s side have scored all six penalties they have been awarded in all competitions this term (three for Stindl, two for Jonas Hofmann and one for Ramy Bensebaini).
- Wendt's goal was his first in the Champions League.
- Plea is Borussia’s top scorer in this term’s Champions League with three goals.
- The Foals are on course to reach the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time in three attempts.
- It was against Bundesliga opposition that Shakhtar suffered their heaviest European defeat, losing 7-0 at Bayern Munich in the their 2014/15 Champions League round of 16 second leg.
Gladbach: Sommer - Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt - Kramer, Neuhaus (Zakaria 69') - Lazaro (Herrmann 69'), Stindl (c) (Benes 81'), Thuram (Traore 84') - Embolo (Plea 69')
Unused subs: Sippel, Grün, Lang, Jantschke, Poulsen
Out: Bensebaini (not included), Hofmann (thigh)
Coach: Marco Rose
Shakhtar: Pyatov (c) - Dodo, Kryvtsov, Bondar, Matviyenko - Marlos (Marcos Antonio 71'), Stepanenko, Alan Patrick (Maycon 81') - Tete, Solomon (Fernando 59') - Moraes
Unused subs: Shevchenko, Trubin, Marquinhos, Vitao, Bolbat, Sudakov
Out: Dentinho (not included) Ismaily (knee), Khocholava (not included), Konoplyanka (groin), Korniyenko (ankle), Kovalenko (not included), Malyshev (knee), Trubin (not included)
Coach: Luis Castro
As it happened!
Gladbach were simply too good for their opponents again today, with Stindl's penalty paving the way for three more vital points. Elvedi and Embolo also scored in the first half to effectively end the tie as a contest, while Wendt's free-kick late on crowned an all-round classy outing from the Foals.
SOMMER DENIES TETE
The Shakhtar attacker goes beyond Wendt and gets a shot away on his weaker right foot, although it's still travelling at pace and is on target. Sommer sticks out a big paw to block though.
A nice attack from Shakhtar, as good as they've managed all game, as the ball is worked from left to right to Tete, who cuts inside onto his left foot. His shot is deflected wide for a corner, from which Sommer makes a supebr save to keep out a close-range header.
This win will lift Gladbach to eight points, with Shakhtar still in second place for now on four. Real Madrid are also on four points (below Shakhtar on their head-to-head record), but could climb above them if they beat Inter Milan away in the late Group B game today.
WENDT MAKES IT 4!
The Swedish defender whips in a curling free-kick from out on the right flank, and absolutely nobody gets a touch as it sails into the back of the net. That is surely that - Gladbach are now leading Shakhtar 10-0 on aggregate across their two group stage meetings this month!
What a chance for Shakhtar's Junior Moraes, although the flag has now gone up for offside. The Brazilian will actually be relieved that it won't count, because he did all the hard work - getting around Yann Sommer - only to fire into the side netting.
TRIPLE SUBSTITUTION FOR GLADBACH
Marco Rose has decided to bring on some fresh legs to see this one out, with Zakaria, Plea and Herrmann replacing Neuhaus, Embolo and Lazaro.
Another frustrated effort from distance from the visitors, this time from Fernando. It's well over the bar again though.
EMBOLO'S ACROBATICSThis second half may have been short of highlights so far, but Embolo's spectacular goal on the stroke of half-time was arguably the best moment of the first 45 minutes.
© Lars Baron/Getty Images
The Foals appear to have eased off somewhat, and are giving possession away far more cheaply than they did in the first half. They're still organised at the back, and Shakhtar can't get behind the defence, but if they step things up and get another goal that will surely put the game to bed.
Gladbach have taken note of Shakhtar's endeavours and are playing keep-ball among themselves, aiming to take the sting out of the little bit of momentum they're trying to build.
The visitors have looked a bit better over the past couple of minutes, less fearful getting forward. Tete shoots from range, but it'll take something very special to beat Sommer from there, all of 35 yards out. And his effort is far from special.
Here we go again! Gladbach put six past Shakhtar last time - whisper it quietly, but can they repeat that again today?
GLADBACH DESERVEDLY AHEADStindl netted his sixth goal of the season, and second in the competition, to give Gladbach the lead. They've dominated the game so far and their comfortable advantage is fully deserved.
© INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images
SPECTACULAR GOAL FROM EMBOLO
The Gladbach striker puts clear daylight between the teams at the break, acrobatically flicking in with an overhead kick from close range with virtually the last kick of the half.
The Gladbach goalkeeper hasn't faced a single shot on his goal yet so far (hopefully this won't jinx that!) - a sign of just how well the home side have played today.
GLADBACH IN CONTROL
That corner came about, incidentally, after another chance for Embolo, who saw his attempt deflected over the bar by Bondar. The Foals are going to be sitting very pretty at the top of Group B if they can hold on for these three points - they are virtually 4 points ahead of Shakhtar.
GLADBACH DOUBLE UP!
Stindl goes from taker to maker, whipping in a corner that Nico Elvedi heads home at the near post! Gladbach are cruising.
Breel Embolo is a constant menace tonight. He races onto a long ball forward but can't quite get a shot away cleanly, with Bondar just about scrambling back to put him off. Rose wants a penalty, but nothing doing says the referee...
EMBOLO HITS THE POST!
Lainer gets forward down the right and finds Stindl in the centre, just outside the box. He shifts the ball to his left to Embolo, who curls a brilliant first-time effort around a defender, but his shots hits the post and bounces clear!
STINDL FROM THE SPOT!
Stindl calmly waits for the goalkeeper to move and then slots the ball in the opposite direction to put Gladbach 1-0 up!
PENALTY TO GLADBACH!
Stindl threads a lovely ball into the path of Thuram, who's darted into the box. A defender bundles him down from behind and Gladbach have a penalty!
HOSTS ON TOP
Shakhtar are struggling to get into Gladbach's half right now as the home side begin to flex their muscles. The Foals are probing down the right through Lazaro in particular.
NEUHAUS FIRES WIDE!
Lazaro does superbly down the right, getting to the byline before cutting the ball back to the edge of the penalty area, where Neuhaus is arriving. He has a clear sight of goal and must score... but he curls a side-footed shot wide of the post!
DOUBLE CHANCE FOR EMBOLO!
Gladbach have made a lively start here. Neuhaus does really well and slips a neat ball through to Embolo, but his sliding effort is turned behind for a corner by Shakhtar keeper Pyatov. In it comes and the Gladbach No.36 heads just wide!
WARNING SHOT FROM THURAM
Marcus Thuram has the first attempt of the game, firing just over the bar from outside the area. Gladbach looking to set the tone, they are currently bossing the early possession.
FAST START FOR GLADBACH?
The Foals were 3-0 up inside half an hour when they faced Shakhtar earlier this month. Can they come flying out of the traps again today?
We'll be under way shortly - there is a minute's silence in honour of Argentinian legend Diego Maradona, who passed away earlier today at the age of 60.
With Plea on the bench here, Thuram could enhance his growing reputation again tonight. After hitting a brace against Real Madrid on Matchday 2, he registered his first assist in the senior France team during the international break, setting up a goal in a 4-2 win over Sweden on 17 November.
These teams have only played each other once before, just over three weeks ago. Gladbach romped to a 4-0 half-time lead and eventually won 6-0, with Plea scoring his first Champions League hat-trick. A repeat of that scoreline would no doubt be welcome for the Foals, but they'd also be content just to pick up a win to consolidate top spot.
PLEA ON THE BENCH
Alassane Plea, Gladbach's hat-trick hero in the reverse fixture, starts on the bench tonight after recovering from Covid-19. He could be a handy option for Rose in the second half, although the visitors will no doubt be hoping he stays put after he terrorised them in Ukraine.
FIRST START FOR LAZARO
Valentino Lazaro makes his first competitive start for Gladbach tonight after joining on loan from Inter Milan in August. The ex-Hertha Berlin man scored with a fabulous scorpion kick against Bayer Leverkusen a couple of weeks ago, and will be keen to impress Marco Rose tonight.
GLADBACH STARTING XI
Sommer - Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt - Kramer, Neuhaus - Lazaro, Stindl (c), Thuram - Embolo
Sippel, Grün, Lang, Herrmann, Zakaria, Plea, Traore, Benes, Jantschke, Poulsen
SHAKHTAR STARTING XI
Pyatov (c) - Dodo, Kryvtsov, Bondar, Matviyenko - Marlos, Stepanenko, Alan Patrick - Tete, Solomon - Moraes
Shevchenko, Trubin, Marcos Antonio, Maycon, Marquinhos, Vitao, Bolbat, Sudakov, Fernando
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever in the world you are, Bundesliga fans! Gladbach return to the Champions League stage, three weeks on from their 6-0 demolition job of Shakhtar. They lead a Group B that also includes Real Madrid and Inter Milan - victory tonight would keep them on course for the knockout rounds. Join us around an hour before kick-off for confirmed teams, live build-up and match commentary from the Borussia-Park!