Mönchengladbach - Borussia Mönchengladbach won for the first time immediately following a European fixture this season with a 2-0 victory at home to promoted side SC Paderborn on Sunday afternoon.
There was an element of fortune in their triumph, however, with deflected shots in either half from Fabian Johnson and Patrick Herrmann wrong-footing visiting goalkeeper Lukas Kruse, who made several notable saves to keep his side in the game.
Having played four matches in the ten days preceding this fixture, it was unsurprising that Gladbach coach Lucien Favre rotated his starting line-up in an effort to stave off fatigue. The Swiss tactician duly left several first-team regulars on the bench, including Herrmann, Max Kruse, Andre Hahn, Christoph Kramer and Thorgan Hazard, and - sensing an opportunity - the visitors started the brighter of the two sides.
Alban Meha and Marvin Bakalorz both tested Foals’ keeper Yann Sommer early on, and it took almost a quarter of an hour for the hosts to launch their first meaningful attack, which ended with Ibrahima Traore’s effort being well saved by Lukas Kruse. Gladbach took heart from having opened up the Paderborn defence and began to exert more influence on the game. They soon took the lead too, with Johnson’s strike from the edge of the area taking a deflection on its way in.
Traore the troublemaker
The guests very nearly shot themselves in the foot shortly afterwards when Patrick Ziegler’s attempted clearance ricocheted off the post following a superb run from Traore. Indeed, the Guinean’s trickery and pace caused the visitors considerable problems at the back and they were fortunate to go into the break only one goal down.
Moments after the restart Raffael should have extended Gladbach’s lead when Johnson found him unmarked inside the six-yard box, but the Brazilian’s header was straight at Kruse. Paderborn offered the hosts a reminder that they would not have things all their own way, though, when Alban Meha stung the palms of custodian Sommer with a trademark long-range drive that the Swiss keeper did well to keep out.
Herrmann strikes late
The Foals started to look weary as the match entered the closing period, forcing Favre to bring on fresh legs in attack in Max Kruse. The 26-year-old almost had an instant impact, combining well with Raffael on the edge of the Paderborn box before being outnumbered by the visiting defence.
Eventually Gladbach did manage to get the two-goal cushion they had craved, with Herrmann's shot at the back post taking another deflection and trickling over the line in slow-motion after Kruse, again wrong-footed, was left stranded. Herrmann went close to getting his second of the afternoon following a wonderful 50-yard run, but his shot hit the outside of the post. The guests were unable to muster a reply and so drop down into the bottom three for the first time this season.
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