Raffael tops Ronny as Gladbach triumph

Mönchengladbach - Borussia Mönchengladbach registered back-to-back wins for the first time in 2014 as they dispatched Hertha Berlin 3-0 at the Borussia Park in Saturday’s late game.

Even stevens

A slow start to proceedings was followed by a three-goal flurry before half-time, as Juan Arango, Max Kruse and Raffael all found the back of the net. There was no change to the scoreline after break as the entertainment level dropped, but the result was still enough to move Gladbach up into fifth place.

The pre-match headlines had centred around the Bundesliga’s first-ever clash of two Brazilian brothers, but aiming to build on their 2-1 win over Dortmund, it was Raffael and Gladbach who got made the better start, as Kruse sent Patrick Herrmann’s cross into the side-netting with a first-time effort. Ronny then attempted to outshine his older sibling and responded by twice chancing his arm from range to no avail, but in truth clear-cut chances were at a premium with both teams doggedly going about their defensive duties.

Gladbach, despite being on top, were not reproducing the pressing that had been so impressive against Dortmund, and they largely struggled to carve apart a Hertha side intent on absorbing pressure before breaking forward in transition. A lack of movement was also hampering the capital city side, although they should have broken the deadlock when Änis-Ben Hatira fired off target from eight yards after Adrian Ramos’ pull-back.

Lethal triumvirate

Instead it was the home side that drew first blood shortly before the half-hour mark when Herrmann beat Johannes van den Bergh for pace to pick out Arango at the back post, with the Venezuelan rifling a first-time half-volley into the bottom corner. With the wind in their sails and Hertha at sixes and sevens, Arango then turned provider as Kruse got the faintest of touches on his in-swinging free-kick to double the lead just four minutes later.

Thrown out of sync by their hosts’ quickfire double, Berlin’s misery was further compounded before the interval when a lethal one-two allowed Kruse to release Raffael, who produced a delightful chipped finish to hand his side a healthy three-goal lead. The Foals’ free-flowing football reached its peak after the restart, yet it was a set-piece that almost produced a fourth when Martin Stranzl rose highest to head Raffael’s corner onto the near post.

Damage done

The pattern of proceedings remained unchanged, though, with Gladbach’s direct style of play regularly threatening to undo the visitors’ backline and Hertha lacking the creativity and cutting edge to cause the Foals’ any problems in the final third. The visitors were offering very little in the encounter and their joyless day in front of goal was summed up when Sami Allagui scuffed an effort wide of the target from just six yards after good work from Ronny.

With their hosts content to take the pace out of the game in the closing stages, Hertha's focus turned to damage limitation leaving Marc-Andre ter Stegen without a save to make in his 100th Bundesliga appearance. The game petered out late on as a result, allowing the Foals to canter to a comfortable victory that moves them to within just four points of the top four, at least temporarily.

Line-ups and statistics

James Thorogood