Borussia Mönchengladbach boosted their UEFA Champions League qualification hopes with a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg, with Jonas Hofmann on target twice and Lars Stindl supplying the third.
With a berth in the Champions League next season still to play for, despite back-to-back defeats, Gladbach emerged with a new-look attack: Ibrahima Traore making his first start of the season and Breel Embolo leading the line in the absence of the injured Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram. It was a change which seemed to do some good too with Embolo impressing early on as he skipped past John Brooks and slipped the ball through for Hofmann to nudge past Koen Casteels for the opener. Gladbach doubled their lead on the half-hour mark when Hofmann again timed his run to perfection to meet Matthias Ginter's neat lay-off from Stindl's header and drive the ball low into the bottom corner.
Hofmann could and perhaps should have completed his hat-trick early in the second half, but the composure he had shown in his two goals eluded him as he instead placed a shot wide of the left-hand post from Embolo's pass. Stindl then put the result beyond doubt, putting a fine side-footed finish to another excellent team move which saw Traore provide the assist. Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner responded with a triple-substitution and the changes had a positive impact, as the guests enjoyed their best spell of the game. Chances were hard to come by, though, as Gladbach defended their lead comfortably to put three valuable points on the board and turn the heat up on Bayer Leverkusen in a race for Champions League football which looks set to go down to the wire.
- Hofmann scored more than one in a single Bundesliga fixture for the second time, after netting a hat-trick against Mainz in October 2018.
- Each time Hofmann has scored in the Bundesliga, the Foals have been unbeaten (nine wins, three draws).
- Traore marked his first start this season with his first assist.
- Ginter made his 100th appearance for Gladbach.
- This fixture has never ended goalless at the Borussia-Park, while this is the third consecutive time it has ended 3-0 (twice for Gladbach, once for Wolfsburg)
Watch: Hofmann: "Scoring twice is an added bonus!"
Gladbach: Sommer - Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt - Kramer, Neuhaus (Doucoure 90') - Hofmann, Stindl (c) (Bennetts 90'), Traore (Herrmann 72') - Embolo (Benes 81')
Unused subs: Sippel, Jantschke, Müsel, Quizera, Kurt
Out: Bensebaini (suspended), Johnson (muscular), Plea (groin), Raffael (foot), Strobl (hamstring), Thuram (ankle), Zakaria (knee)
Coach: Marco Rose
Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Mbabu, Pongracic (Knoche 72'), Brooks, Steffen - Gerhardt (Guilavogui 70'), Arnold (Brekalo 60') - Klaus (Marmoush 70'), Schlager, Victor (Ginczek 70') - Weghorst
Unused subs: Pervan, Roussillon, Tisserand, Justvan
Out: Camacho (ankle), Mehmedi (Achilles tendon), Otavio (ankle), William (knee)
Coach: Oliver Glasner