Alassane Plea, Marcus Thuram and Ramy Bensebaini were all on target as Borussia Mönchengladbach made short work of Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday evening to move onto the Bundesliga podium.
Had there been any home fans inside Frankfurt's 50,000-seater Commerzbank-Arena, they would have been stunned into early silence as the Foals came flying out of the traps. Plea opened the scoring on just 37 seconds, exchanging a brilliant one-two with Jonas Hofmann and sliding into the far corner for 1-0. Thuram joined his fellow Frenchman on the scoresheet six minutes later, tapping in from point-blank range after excellent work from Bensebaini down the left. Gladbach could have been out of sight after 20 minutes, but Plea saw a snapshot blocked by Kevin Trapp and Hofmann fired the rebound over. Frankfurt's best chance came courtesy of Filip Kostic, who tested Yann Sommer with a ferociously struck free-kick, but Gladbach continued to look the more dangerous of the two sides, with Plea denied by Trapp once again on the stroke of half-time.
There was little to report in the second half until the 68th minute, when Plea came agonisingly close to adding a spectacular third for Gladbach, only for his curling effort to crash back off the woodwork. The visitors looked to have put the game to bed shortly afterwards, when Breel Embolo was brought down in the penalty area by Evan N'Dicka and Bensebaini dispatched the resulting spot-kick. Andre Silva did grab a consolation goal with nine minutes to give Frankfurt faint hopes of a comeback, although the highlight of the closing stages was an astonishing goal-line clearance from Martin Hinteregger to prevent Hofmann making it 4-1. Gladbach's thoroughly deserved victory was never really in doubt, and they move ahead of RB Leipzig into third place - two points shy of Borussia Dortmund, and three behind leaders Bayern Munich before their game at Union Berlin on Sunday.
- Plea scored the fourth-fastest goal in the Bundesliga this season (37 seconds). Marco Richter notched the quickest of 2019/20 so far, putting Augsburg 1-0 up against Bayern Munich after 29 seconds on Matchday 8.
- Thuram was on target for the first time since a 4-2 win over Freiburg on 1 December 2019. Gladbach have won all six league games this season in which he has scored.
- The last time Gladbach opened up such an early 2-0 lead was back on Matchday 34 of 2012/13, after five minutes against Bayern Munich. Jupp Heynckes's men, who were a couple of weeks away from winning their historic treble, came back to win the game 4-3.
- Bensebaini has now converted both of his Bundesliga penalties. His previous spot-kick came in the 2-1 win over Bayern in early December, in which he scored both goals.
- Borussia are unbeaten in their last four away games, taking 10 points from a possible 12.
- Eintracht took 10 points from their first four matches in 2020, but have lost their last four, conceding 13 and scoring just two.
Watch: Thuram on his Fortnite celebration!
Frankfurt: Trapp - Toure, Abraham (c) (Hasebe 74'), Hinteregger, N'Dicka (Kohr 83') - Ilsanker (Chandler 74'), Rode - Sow (Silva 46'), Kamada (Gacinovic 78'), Kostic - Dost
Unused subs: Rönnow, Fernandes, Torro, da Costa
Out: de Guzman (not included), Paciencia (thigh), Russ (match fitness)
Coach: Adi Hütter
Gladbach: Sommer (c) - Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini (Wendt 78') - Hofmann, Strobl, Neuhaus (Benes 90') - Embolo (Stindl 78') - Plea (Jantschke 90'), Thuram (Herrmann 66')
Unused subs: Sippel, Kramer, Raffael, Traore
Out: Johnson (muscular), Zakaria (knee)
Coach: Marco Rose
Watch: Sommer on Gladbach's title hopes