Mönchengladbach - Borussia Mönchengladbach regained third place from Bayer 04 Leverkusen thanks to a 2-0 win over Hannover 96.
Persistence pays off
Patrick Herrmann got both goals for the Foals, who converted a dominant performance into three precious points in the push for UEFA Champions League football next season. For Hannover, the wait for their first win of 2015 goes on after their visit to Borussia-Park.
It was a promising start to the game from the hosts with Herrmann hitting the post early on, albeit with the offside flag already raised, and Granit Xhaka driving a long-range effort just inches wide of the left-hand upright. A Raffael shot cleared the crossbar by a similar distance as Gladbach asserted themselves on the game with over two thirds of the possession.
Xhaka's shot soon after struck a Hannover defender before Max Kruse found Ron-Robert Zieler in the way of his effort with Gladbach still failing to get ahead in terms of the statistic which counts - goals scored. Raffael rippled the side-netting with his next effort as the Foals continued to turn the screw. It was only a matter of time before one hit the back of the net, and so it came just two minutes before half-time.
Hazard whipped in a low cross from the right which found Herrmann unmarked at the far post to tuck the ball home and finally convert Gladbach's superiority into something more tangible. For Herrmann, it was his fourth goal in 2015 and seventh of the season which separated the sides at half time.
Hannover had to change something if they were to get back into the game and Tayfun Korkut had clearly found the right words in his half-time pep talk. Joselu nearly levelled just minutes into the second half, just missing the target with what was only the Reds' third effort of the evening. Their fourth went even closer with Salif Sane's header turned past the post expertly by Yann Sommer.
Herrmann at the double
Hannover's revival sparked Gladbach back into action with Xhaka, Gladbach's creative fulcrum in midfield, seeing a shot deflected behind and Hazard curling another effort wide. Herrmann could have grabbed his and Gladbach's second from another Hazard cross from the right, but Zieler was this time in the right place to deny him from close range.
However, the German international was nowhere to be found when Kruse's square ball found Herrmann again in poacher's territory to double Gladbach's lead with his eighth of the season, and arguably one of his easiest. Herrmann was given a standing ovation as he was replaced late on by Ibrahima Traore having done his job to lift the Foals back up to third.
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