Foals win to keep Euro dreams alive

Mönchengladbach - Borussia Mönchengladbach beat Hamburger SV 3-1 at the Borussia Park to remain on course for a European finish while denting the visitors' bid for survival.

Blows traded

Lucien Favre’s men fell behind for the sixth time at home this season when Jacques Zoua headed HSV in front, but they pulled level shortly afterwards when Filip Daems tucked home the rebound after his penalty was saved by Rene Adler. Second half efforts by Raffael, who notched his 16th of the season, and Alvaro Dominguez ensured the points stayed in Gladbach.

Both sides went into the game in need of a win – Gladbach to maintain their hopes of a top-six finish and Hamburg to extricate themselves from the relegation mire – but the encounter was bereft of goalmouth action in the early stages, with each team guilty of basic errors in possession. It took a set-piece to bring the opening goal and, unsurprisingly, it was HSV’s Hakan Calhanoglu that supplied it, Zoua adding the finish touch to the Turkish international’s fine delivery.

Rafael van der Vaart should have doubled the guests' lead when he rose unchallenged in the box, only to head just wide of the post. Gladbach were gifted a route back into the game when Michel Mancienne needlessly handled a cross in the box, and although Filip Daems' penalty was saved by Adler, the Belgian tucked home the rebound.

Foals on top

Suddenly it was the Foals that were on the front foot and they were presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead just before the break, but Adler spread himself well to keep out Juan Arango with the Venezuelan clean through. Germany’s erstwhile No1 then saved down low to his right moments later, as Gladbach ended the half clearly the better team.

The goal had been just the tonic for Borussia after their lethargic start to the game, and Max Kruse spurned a presentable opportunity to make it 2-1 when he side-footed straight at Adler after the break. HSV, meanwhile, had emerged for the second 45 minutes minus top scorer Pierre-Michel Lasogga, although his replacement Ola John wasted no time announcing his arrival, orchestrating a quick counterattack that ended with van der Vaart shooting wide on the stretch.

Points made safe

Slowly but surely the hosts began to push Hamburg back though, and they finally did take the lead thanks to some great work from striking duo Kruse and Raffael, with the former’s sumptuous pass releasing the latter to round the keeper and fire home. Dominguez then tapped in at the far post minutes later to make it 3-1, and while van der Vaart and Zoua missed late chances, the Foals were worthy victors.

HSV boss Mirko Slomka has now lost his last 12 away games as a Bundesliga coach (three with Hamburg and nine with Hannover 96), and his club remain in the relegation play-off spot, level on points with 17th-placed VfB Stuttgart.

Line-ups and statistics

Bernie Reeves