Luuk de Jong’s header midway through the opening half was enough to separate the two sides, but Frankfurt will feel frustrated at letting a host of opportunities slip by.
De Jong strikes
Frankfurt had hit something of a speedbump of late and went into match on the back of three matches without either a win or a goal. Their energy levels were impressive in the opening quarter of the game and although Takashi Inui tested Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a shot inside the first minute, the timidity of his strike rather summed up the Eagles’ recent form in the final third.
Gladbach were slow to get going in attack, but once they found their rhythm, they looked far more incisive than their hosts, largely due to the return of Patrick Herrmann. The pacey winger did brilliantly to set up Amin Younes, whose half-volley was deflected behind in the game’s first real chance. From the resulting corner, however, de Jong met Thorben Marx’s flick-on to glance a well-placed header into the corner and give the Foals the lead, the Dutchman’s second against the Eagles this term.
Eagles without talons
Eintracht responded well enough, but their build-up play was somewhat laboured and predictable for an organised Gladbach defence to deal with. They did manage to outnumber their opponents on one occasion when Sebastian Rode powered into the box, but the ball reached the unmarked Srdjan Lakic too slowly and Tony Jantschke was able to make a recovering tackle.
The game followed a similar pattern in the second period. After Inui burst through but fired a left-foot drive over the crossbar, the attrition that had characterised much of the first half returned. Frankfurt dominated possession against a Borussia side happy to sit back, but they created very little, even less so once Lakic had been withdrawn and replaced by Stefano Celozzi at the interval.
Still the home side toiled in search of an equaliser, but they wasted two golden chances to level things up. Japanese international Inui, by far their most threatening player, escaped a Jantschke tackle but could only shoot straight at the keeper, before Stefan Aigner looped a header over from Bastian Ozcipka’s inviting delivery. Another quick break then freed Inui yet again, but he sent his effort harmlessly off target.
And the frustration continued for Armin Veh’s team in the final minutes. Sebastian Rode and Celozzi both wasted good crossing positions and Alexander Meier headed wide from Oczipka’s free-kick. The hosts’ goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, a virtual spectator himself in the second period also ventured forward in time added on, but almost inevitably, ter Stegen claimed Oczipka’s long ball to see out a valuable three points for the Foals and take them as high as sixth in the table, albeit temporarily.
Line-ups and statistics