Borussia Mönchengladbach got their top-four tilt back on track, avenging a Matchday 5 defeat to 1. FC Köln courtesy of a nervy 1-0 win over their Rhine rivals at BORUSSIA PARK.
Goals: 1-0 Dahoud (9’)
Proceedings got off to a frantic pace and, having pinned the visitors inside their own half from the off, Gladbach duly took the lead when Raffael found Mahmoud Dahoud in a pocket of space with the midfielder calmly slotting beyond Timo Horn. Both sides pressed relentlessly, but the Foals, boasting the greater share of possession, looked the far likelier to score as the half wore on with Horn pulling off an outstanding save to keep out Havard Nordtveit’s header shortly before the break.
There was a real derby feel to second half with both sides adopting a less risk-averse approach to the encounter. Lars Stindl had an effort ruled out following a foul on Dominique Heintz before Granit Xhaka let fly with an effort that fizzed just past the post. At the other end Yann Sommer was on hand to thrice deny substitute Milos Jojic, as Köln began turning the screw in search of an equaliser.
With the Foals content to sit deep and seek out chances on the counter, the closing stages were very much one-way traffic in the visitors’ favour. Köln had the bit between their teeth as Sommer clawed away Matthias Lehmann’s fierce drive, before Stindl was forced to clear off the line. However, in the end Gladbach hung onto the win, putting six points between them and their Rhine rivals.
Man of the match
Were it not for Sommer’s heroics in the second half, 1. FC Köln could easily have come away with a point or more from this fixture. The Swiss keeper produced four world-class saves to collect only his third clean sheet of the season.
In a tale of two halves, there was understandably little love between these two sides, but in the end it was Gladbach who picked up three pivotal points in their bid to clinch a top-four finish. The Foals now sit just one point off of Hertha Berlin, who currently occupy third place.
- Dahoud’s third goal of the season was his first from inside the opposition’s penalty area.
- Köln had as many shots on target as Gladbach had shots in the second half, but couldn’t find a way past Sommer.
- Xhaka had 89 touches, the most of any player on the pitch, and completed an impressive 77 per cent of his passes.
Gladbach: Sommer – Elvedi (Hofmann 66’), Christensen, Nordtveit, Wendt – Xhaka (c), Dahoud (Brouwers 90+2’) – Hazard, Johnson – Stindl, Raffael (Hrgota 88’)
Köln: Horn – Olkowski, Heintz, Maroh, Mladenovic (Hartel 63’) – Hector, Lehmann (c) – Osako (Jojic 46’), Gerhardt, Bittencourt - Modeste