bundesliga

Borussia Mönchengladbach boost Champions League hopes as Raffael goal nudges Hannover closer to the drop

Borussia Mönchengladbach nudged Hannover a little bit closer to relegation to Bundesliga 2 with a 1-0 win which revives their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season.

Hannover 0-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Goals: 0-1 Raffael (53')

Lars Stindl's return to his former club lasted less than a minute after a clash with Matthias Ostrzolek forced Dieter Hecking into an early change, Raffael taking his place. Ostrzolek was in the thick of the action again soon after as he inadvertently teed up Florian Neuhaus, but his lob was cleared off the line by Kevin Wimmer. Hannover goalkeeper Michael Esser was beaten on that occasion, but he proved insurmountable for the remainder of the half as Gladbach – through Patrick Herrmann, Denis Zakaria and Thorgan Hazard – asked questions of the busiest goalkeeper in the Bundesliga this season, yet his answers were unequivocally no.

Gladbach stepped up their efforts in the second half and Esser's resistance was broken seven minutes in. Neuhaus's attempt was blocked, but the ball fell kindly for Raffael, whose first-time shot took a deflection on its way past the last line of the Hannover defence. Florent Muslija was sent on for Pirmin Schwegler and within five minutes of his entrance, the Reds had created two of their best chances of the game. Hendrik Weydandt squandered the latter, shooting too close to Yann Sommer, but the hosts entered the final 20 minutes more resigned to defeat than determined to level, allowing the Foals to hold on to a timely win, one which gets them back in the hunt for a top-four finish.

Raffael's goal was only his second of the season – his first since 9 December 2018 (against Stuttgart) - Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Match stats

  • Hannover have lost 11 of their 15 home games, and are bottom of the home table on 10 points from a possible 42.
  • Raffael netted only his second goal of the season – his first since 9 December 2018 (against Stuttgart).
  • The Brazilian's strike was Gladbach's 11th this season from a substitute, equalling a club record from 1983/84.
  • Doll has lost 90 per cent of his nine games in charge of Hannover (eight defeats). Only one coach with at least nine matches under his belt has fared worse in Bundesliga history: Thomas Schaaf, who oversaw 10 defeats from his first 11 games at the Hannover helm.
  • Hazard has not scored since Matchday 16.
  • Borussia have claimed 13 of their 18 points in 2019 on their travels.

Line-ups

Hannover: Esser – Korb, Anton, Felipe, Ostrzolek – Bakalorz (c), Schwegler (Muslija 65') – Haraguchi (Soto 81'), Müller, Maina (Bech 87') – Weydandt
Unused subs: Sahin-Radlinger, Walace, Fossum, Wimmer
Out: Akpoguma (shoulder), Albornoz (ankle), Bebou (thigh), Elez (groin), Füllkrug (knee), Hübers (knee), Jonathas (hamstring), Prib (muscle), Sarenren Bazee (shin), Sorg (stomach bug), Wood (knee)
Coach: Thomas Doll

Gladbach: Sommer – Ginter, Strobl, Elvedi – Herrmann, Kramer, Zakaria (Cuisance 81'), Hazard – Neuhaus (Hofmann 75') – Stindl (c) (Raffael 5'), Plea
Unused subs:
Sippel, Wendt, Johnson, Jantschke
Out: Doucoure (thigh), Lang (hip), Poulsen (ankle), Traore (groin)
Coach: Dieter Hecking