Mönchengladbach – Borussia Mönchengladbach moved up to sixth in the Bundesliga table with a laboured 1-0 win over FC Augsburg at Borussia Park.
Vogt’s poor decision
After a fairly low-key opening, the contest flared into life midway through the first half when Augsburg’s Kevin Vogt’s was dismissed for a professional foul on Gladbach frontman Peniel Mlapa and Filip Daems tucked away the penalty. Thereafter, the hosts wasted a whole series of chances to put the result to bed, but coach Lucien Favre will nonetheless be happy with the points after last week’s defeat in Stuttgart - as well as his team’s first win over Augsburg since the Bavarian Swabians took their Bundesliga bow in 2011.
Luuk de Jong had scored three in his last six games for the Foals, but Favre opted to start instead with Mlapa in attack. It was the former Hoffenheim man’s first league start in 13 months and it was a change that worked well for the home side.
After a quiet opening quarter, Mlapa it was who was scythed down by Vogt on 26 minutes, resulting in a red card for the defender and a penalty that Daems coolly dispatched to make it 1-0 - his eleventh successful conversion from as many attempts in the Bundesliga. Mlapa and Mike Hanke were seeing plenty of the ball, and minutes later it was almost 2-0 as a beautiful Hanke pass released his strike partner, but Mlapa’s placed shot hit the post.
Augsburg had lost a large portion of their attacking threat when Tobias Werner was substituted in the aftermath of the red card, and they rarely threatened Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the opening half. The early moments of the second period also belonged to the hosts, with Juan Arango going close from a speculative free-kick. There was a certain lack of intensity to their play, however, which gave ten-man Augsburg hope.
The visitors’ main strategy for getting close to the Gladbach goal was to win free-kicks in the opposing half, but they produced few results without the delivery of Werner. The home side fared a little better by using a similar technique, with Alvaro Dominguez glancing Arango’s inswinger wide of the target. The game had lost all fluency by this point, however, with both sides committing a large number of fouls.
Chances go begging
A second goal would have killed the game for the hosts, but Hanke’s volley struck the post, Branimir Hrgota headed over the bar and Granit Xhaka couldn’t make the most of three good shooting opportunities. The Foals were then almost made to pay for their profligacy, as ter Stegen was called on to make a smart reflex save from substitute Knowledge Musona’s prodded effort.
It was in the end a deserved win for Favre's men, but they will likely have to be more clinical to finish the season in one of the European places. Augsburg, meanwhile, remain in 16th place, three points ahead of Hoffenheim but having played a game more.
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