Mönchengladbach - The Bundesliga's Saturday evening encounter ended in a 1-1 stalemate as Borussia Mönchengladbach and SV Werder Bremen failed to separate themselves over 90 minutes.
There was little between the sides in a match where clear-cut chances proved hard come by. Second-half substitute Peniel Mlapa broke the deadlock, but Gladbach were soon pegged back by Aleksandar Ignjovski as the hosts collected their league-leading eleventh draw of the season.
Neither side was able to establish an early control on the encounter as they cancelled each out during the opening exchanges. With goalscoring chances at a premium, Patrick Herrmann thought he had opened the scoring when he raced onto a through ball to tap into an empty net following Sebastian Mielitz’s botched clearance. However, after a moment's deliberation with his assistant, referee Wolfgang Stark correctly ruled the goal out for offside.
Bremen’s primary focus was clearly on keeping things tight at the back against the Foals’ fast-paced front line, but the visitors almost took the lead when Nils Petersen latched onto Oscar Wendt’s half-clearance only to drag his effort wide of the post. Werder’s most promising moments were all being created by Kevin de Bruyne, whose pass minutes later freed up Petersen to force Marc-Andre ter Stegen to tip a driven shot around the post.
Despite operating as the more attack-minded side, Gladbach were struggling to assert themselves in the final third. Herrmann and Juan Arango were diligent out wide although failed to create an end product and, though the latter blazed over with a snatched shot, the deadlock remained intact at the break.
Werder head coach Thomas Schaaf brought on Aaron Hunt during the break in an attempt to change his side’s fortunes, but in keeping with the first-half performances, it remained a cagey affair after the restart. Bremen continued to carve out the better goalscoring opportunities, but lacked the necessary finishing touches as Petersen and de Bruyne both went close.
With the visitors demonstrating a disciplined defensive performance not associated with their inconsistent season so far, Gladbach’s hold on possession helped very little as they regularly ran into a wall of Werder players. Borussia’s best chances were coming from set-pieces, but Mielitz showed good reflexes to keep the hosts at bay.
An incisive Bremen breakaway almost brought about the opening goal, but after marauding forward from inside his own half and skipping past Martin Stranzl's wayward challenge, de Bruyne couldn't steer his effort past the onrushing ter Stegen.
Given the pattern of the game, Gladbach could have been forgiven for thinking Mlapa's header - his first touch after coming on as a substitute - had handed them victory. The youngster could have added a second soon after had he shown more composure in front of goal, a miss the Foals were left to rue minutes later as Bremen finally netted the goal their performance had deserved.
De Bruyne’s dangerous cross found Ignjovski unmarked at the back post and the Serbian fired goalwards to level the scores despite ter Stegen’s best efforts to claw the volley off the line. The encounter opened up in the closing stages, and although both sides carved out golden opportunities, neither de Bruyne nor Mlapa were able to provide the winning goal.
Line-ups and statistics