Mönchengladbach - Borussia Mönchengladbach kept their hopes of competing in Europe next season alive courtesy of a 1-0 win at home to Hannover 96.
Borussia in charge
The five-time Bundesliga champions dictated proceedings, as Luuk de Jong profitted from Patrick Herrmann's stroke of genius and, having failed to muster up a response, Hannover were powerless to prevent suffering their tenth defeat of the season on foreign soil, ending the match with ten men after Sergio da Silva Pinto saw red late on.
Despite Gladbach enjoying the lion's share of possession during the opening exchanges, it took the hosts quarter of an hour to pose a real threat, as Juan Arango unleashed a dipping drive from the edge of the area which whistled just over. The home side looked to press their advantage and should have taken the lead shortly after, but de Jong failed to get the better of Ron-Robert Zieler in a one-on-one situtation.
Sensing vulnerability, the Foals increased the pressure with Amin Younes, at the heart of their promising moments, squandering a chance to break the deadlock before Thorben Marx forced Zieler to tip his effort around the post at full stretch. The hosts continued to carve Hannover apart and were finally rewarded for their efforts ten minutes before the break
Herrmann's inspired flick played de Jong through on goal and the Dutch striker didn't hesistate in clipping the ball over the onrushing Zieler. However, going behind soon sparked Hannover into action. Christian Pander fired off a first warning shot and, though Sebastian Pocognoli had strike from 35 yards denied by the crossbar, the Reds failed to register before half-time.
Hannover picked up where they left off in the second half, dictating the pace of the game, yet clear-cut chances proved hard to come by. Sofian Chahed and Didier Ya Konan both struck efforts off-target approaching hour mark, while at the other end Herrmann couldn't put the finishing touches on a well-worked counter attack to double the hosts' lead.
Gladbach's disciplined backline had done remarkably well to restrict the visitors to long-range efforts, as goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen remained relatively untested. Ya Konan, who has scored five goals in seven games against Borussia, wasted Hannover's best chance of the game by heading Pander's cross wide at the near post.
Da Silva Pinto's sending off five minutes from time made life even more difficult for Hannover as they threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser. ter Stegen had to be on his toes to deny Pander with time winding down, but the visitor's late efforts ultimately failed to produce an end product as Gladbach moved up to seventh in the table.
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