Borussia Mönchengladbach warmed up for Friday's encounter with Borussia Dortmund with a 1-0 win at home to Werder Bremen on Tuesday that came courtesy of Nico Elvedi's second-half header.
With the game at Borussia Park against Dortmund looming, Marco Rose left captain Lars Stindl on the bench at kick-off. It was a bold move, but had Elvedi not sent a free header straight at Jiri Pavlenka early on, Rose might not have had to worry about bringing on his captain. Bremen came closest to opening the scoring before the break. Yann Sommer produced a sensational fingertip save to touch away Romano Schmid's top corner-bound volley. When the Swiss 'keeper then had a rush of blood to the head, Matthias Ginter cleared Felix Agu's shot off the goalline with Sommer stranded.
Elvedi had made an interception to a Josh Sargent pass inside the Gladbach penalty area that might have caused his team trouble before the break; after it, he showed his value in the opposing box, glancing home Laszlo Benes' deliciously delivered free-kick. Bremen, who had not won in Mönchengladbach in more than a decade, should have at least had a point as the hosts trembled in the closing stages. Substitute Milot Rashica saw a shot hit a post and then rebound off Sommer only for the goalkeeper to react quickly enough to prevent a comic own-goal while another sub, Leonardo Bittencourt, fired wastefully over the crossbar when well placed.
- Elvedi ended a 37-game wait for a Bundesliga goal. He'd last found the net in late October 2019.
- Gladbach scored a 13th goal of the season from a set-piece, a league-high.
- Gladbach are unbeaten in their last 10 Bundesliga meetings with Werder (W7, D3).
- The Foals have recorded more home wins over Bremen than they have against any other Bundesliga club (31 in 52 games).
- Stindl is Gladbach's nine-goal top scorer so far this Bundesliga season. He has scored eight times in 19 competitive outings against Bremen, making the Green-Whites his joint-favourite opposition alongside Augsburg.
- Werder have only won one of their last 16 Bundesliga matches in Mönchengladbach - a 4-1 victory on 23 October 2010.
Watch: Elvedi on his goal
Gladbach: Sommer (c) - Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt (Bensebaini 74') - Kramer, Neuhaus (Benes 59') - Herrmann (Stindl 59'), Hofmann, Wolf (Jantschke 85') - Plea (Zakaria 74')
Unused subs: Sippel, Lang, Beyer, Traore
Out: Doucoure (match fitness), Embolo (not included), Lazaro (groin), Reitz (pelvis), Scally (knock), Thuram (suspended)
Coach: Marco Rose
Bremen: Pavlenka - Veljkovic, Toprak (Moisander 56'), Friedl - Gebre Selassie (c), Eggestein, Mbom (Osako 82'), Möhwald (Bittencourt 82'), Agu - Sargent (Selke 74'), Schmid (Rashica 74')
Unused subs: Kapino, Chong, Gruev, Dinkci
Out: Augustinsson (thigh), Erras (muscular), Füllkrug (ankle), Groß (muscular), Woltemade (ill)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Watch: Sommer: "We're used to conceding goals in the last minute"