Niko Kovac's first match as a Bundesliga head coach ended in defeat as Eintracht Frankfurt were soundly beaten away to Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Frankfurt had not won a single one of their last seven matches, so it was hardly a surprise to see hosts Gladbach assume total control of proceedings in front of their own fans. Lars Stindl was unable to make the most of his first effort on the Frankfurt goal, but the German forward made no mistake with his second, sweeping into the bottom corner after visiting goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky could only half clear a teasing Raffael free kick.
Gladbach’s second of the afternoon was deserved, even if it came about in somewhat bizarre circumstances. Hradecky was caught in no man’s land as his miscued clearance fell straight to Raffael, who calmly steered the ball into the empty net from almost 40 yards. Frankfurt struck a post through Haris Seferovic, but the Eagles' slender hopes of getting a foothold back in the game were extinguished 11 minutes from normal time when Mahmoud Dahoud waltzed into the box and slotted beyond Hradecky to rubber-stamp a win that lifts the Foals back into the top four.
Man of the match
Stindl ended a run of four matches without a goal, but it was his boundless energy levels, penetrating runs and link-up play with Raffael that really caught the eye.
As if an eighth successive match without a win was not enough to digest, the defeat - coupled with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s surprise win over VfL Wolfsburg - means it is now only goal difference keeping 16th-placed Frankfurt out of the automatic relegation places with eight games of the season remaining.
- Raffael has scored six goals in his last seven matches. Only Claudio Pizarro (SV Werder Bremen) and Robert Lewandowski (FC Bayern München) have enjoyed a better return in 2016.
- Stindl's opener was Gladbach's fifth set-piece goal of the season.
- Dahoud has scored four Bundesliga goals in 2015/16.
Gladbach: Sommer - Elvedi, Christensen, Nordtveit (c) (Korb 59') - Johnson (Herrmann 86'), Xhaka (Brouwers 72'), Dahoud, Hinteregger - Hazard - Stindl, Raffael
Frankfurt: Hradecky - Regäsel, Abraham, Russ (c), Djakpa - Reinartz - Medojevic, Hasebe (Huszti 50') - Seferovic, Aigner (Castaignos 86') - Fabian (Kittel 55')