Borussia Mönchengladbach re-ignited their bid to finish in a UEFA Champions League spot as a gutsy 1-0 victory away at Mainz gave them a first league win in five games.
Goal: 0-1 (Elvedi 63')
Borussia came into the game on the back of a chastening 5-1 home defeat to the new Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich last weekend, and so the onus was on the Foals to impose themselves on this game. To their credit, Dieter Hecking’s charges took the game to Mainz in the opening period and should have taken an early lead but for an incredible triple save by Mainz’s Florian Müller, who twice thwarted Lars Stindl and kept out Denis Zakaria.
Mainz got to grips with their opponents much better as the first half progressed, but there was very little in the way of goalmouth action until the second half, when the visitors took the lead against the run of play thanks to a smart close-range finish from Nico Elvedi. Mainz looked to muster a response and substitute Karim Onisiwo shot over the bar, but in a game of few chances, the first goal turned out to be crucial, and Gladbach were able to see out a hugely valuable win in the context of their top-four pursuit.
Hecking’s charges, level on points with Leipzig in third, now have a six-point advantage over Eintracht Frankfurt in fifth ahead of the Eagles’ trip to Fortuna Düsseldorf on Monday. Mainz, meanwhile, remain in the relative obscurity of 13th, seven points ahead of 14th-placed Schalke with nine games to go.
- Elvedi has scored two goals this season. He has never scored more in a Bundesliga campaign.
- The result means Mainz have now suffered five defeats in their last six matches.
- Mainz conceded just two set-piece goals in the Hinrunde, but have shipped seven since the turn of the year.
- The 05ers have won just two of their last 16 meetings with Gladbach.
Only two of Jean-Philippe Mateta's seven Bundesliga goals have come at home.
- Hecking's men had conceded 12 goals in their last four matches before this game, having shipped just 18 in the first 20.
- Jonas Hofmann scored a hat-trick in Gladbach's 4-0 win over his former club earlier in the season.
Mainz: Müller - Brosinski, Bell (c), Niakhate, Martin – Öztunali (Onisiwo 71’), Gbamin, Latza (Kunde 85') - Boetius - Quaison, Ujah (Mateta 55’)
Unused subs: Zentner, Donati, Hack, Baku
Out: Abbas (thigh), Adler (knee), Berggreen (hamstring), Holtmann (flu), Mwene (knee), Maxim (flu)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Gladbach: Sommer - Johnson, Jantschke, Elvedi, Wendt - Zakaria, Hofmann (Kramer 88'), Strobl – Hazard (Herrmann 69’), Stindl (c), Plea (Lang 90')
Unused subs: Sippel, Raffael, Cuisance, Neuhaus
Out: Beyer (ankle), Doucoure (thigh), Drmic (thigh), Ginter (muscular), Traore (groin)
Coach: Dieter Hecking
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