Borussia Mönchengladbach leapfrogged Bayer Leverkusen into fourth to take control of their own UEFA Champions League destiny thanks to a 3-1 win over Paderborn on Saturday, with captain Lars Stindl on target twice.
Gladbach were straight onto the front foot with Breel Embolo put through on goal by Stindl. The Swiss forward's shot was parried by Leopold Zingerle, but Patrick Herrmann was on hand to cut in the rebound from a tight angle and give the guests the lead. Jonas Hofmann went close to doubling Gladbach's advantage on the quarter-hour mark, but Zingerle stretched to make a fine one-handed save to turn his free-kick behind. Embolo then scooped another gilt-edged opportunity over the crossbar as Gladbach tried, in vain, to turn the screw.
Embolo wasted another chance early in the second half before Herrmann shot straight at Zingerle with only the last line of the besieged Paderborn defence to beat. The expression on the face of Gladbach coach Marco Rose said it all, as a wry smile made way for furrowed brows for his profligate players. His concern proved well placed as Paderborn levelled through Sven Michel's low shot from the edge of the penalty area. Gladbach's reaction was immediate, though, with Stindl sending Zingerle the wrong way from the penalty spot after Uwe Hünemeier fouled the Foals' herd leader. Hünemeier's shift came to a premature end soon after when he earned a second booking for blocking Embolo's route to goal, and it got even worse for Paderborn when Stindl's second – initially ruled out by an offside flag – was confirmed by VAR. The win gives Gladbach a two-point edge over Leverkusen, who lost at Hertha Berlin, in the race for the Bundesliga's fourth berth in the Champions League next season. Their superior goal difference means a draw against Hertha on Matchday 34 should suffice to seal their spot among Europe's elite next term.
- Relegated Paderborn will end the season in 18th place, which is where they finished their only previous season of Bundesliga football in 2014/15.
- Herrmann scored his first goal of 2020 after scoring five in the first half of the season.
- Stindl has scored eight of his nine goals this season in the second half of the campaign.
- This was the third time the Gladbach captain has scored twice in a single game this term.
- Michel played for Gladbach at youth and reserve level.
- Gladbach have never lost to Paderborn (W5, D1).
Watch: Stindl: "We did our job"
Paderborn: Zingerle - Dräger (Jans 87'), Gjasula, Hünemeier (c), Collins - Evans (Mamba 64'), Ritter (Zolinski 87'), Sabiri (Fridjonsson 87'), Antwi-Adjei - Srbeny (Kilian 75'), Michel
Unused subs: Huth, Pröger, Jastrzembski, Holtmann
Out: Schonlau (Achilles tendon), Strohdiek (thigh), Vasiliadis (suspended)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
Gladbach: Sommer - Lainer, Ginter, Jantschke, Bensebaini (Wendt 84') - Kramer, Neuhaus - Herrmann (Traore 74'), Stindl (c) (Benes 74'), Hofmann – Embolo (Müsel 90')
Unused subs: Sippel, Doucoure, Quizera, Kurt, Bennetts
Out: Elvedi (suspended), Johnson (muscular), Plea (groin), Raffael (foot), Strobl (hamstring), Thuram (ankle), Zakaria (knee)
Coach: Marco Rose