Borussia Mönchengladbach's attacking might proved to be too much for Hamburg in the Matchday 17 opener on Friday night, with the Foals running out 3-1 victors.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 Hamburg
Goals: 1-0 Hazard (9'), 1-1 Hahn (53'), 2-1 Raffael (74'), 3-1 Raffael (79')
The hosts, without a win since beating Bayern Munich on Matchday 13, started the game eager to put on a good show in front of their fans in their final Bundesliga outing of the year. The tone was set early on when English teenager Reece Oxford crashed a shot off the crossbar - a warning Hamburg failed to heed, as Thorgan Hazard raced onto Raffael's pass moments later to break the deadlock. Mikael Cuisance also hit the post for the Foals with a dipping long-range shot, while the closest the visitors came was a Mergim Mavraj header that was cleared off the line by Lars Stindl.
Hamburg were much improved early in the second half, going into tackles more aggressively and pressing their hosts high up the pitch. They were rewarded when Andre Hahn equalised against his former side with a well-taken finish, but they subsequently eased off, allowing Gladbach to wrestle control once more. Cheered on by the home support, the Foals eventually edged ahead again when Raffael drilled in following a quick counter-attack, and the Brazilian fired in a second shortly afterwards to seal the points after Hazard teed him up for a tap-in.
- Raffael's assist for Hazard's opener means the Brazilian has been directly involved in a goal in seven of his last ten competitive meetings with Hamburg - including each of the last three.Nine of Hazard's 17 Bundesliga goals have put his side 1-0 up. Hamburg right-back Dennis Diekmeier had not previously missed a minute of Bundesliga action this season, prior to his injury-enforced absence for this game. Gladbach hit the woodwork twice in the first half for the second time this season - they also did so away to Hoffenheim on Matchday 10. Hahn ended his 12-game goal drought by scoring here. HSV will spend Christmas in a relegation position for the first time in 11 years.
Gladbach: Sommer – Elvedi (Jantschke 54'), Oxford (Benger 89'), Vestergaard, Wendt – Ginter, Cuisance - Herrmann (Grifo 70'), Hazard - Stindl (c), Raffael
Unused subs: Sippel, Drmic, Hoffmanns, Bobadilla
Absentees: Zakaria (suspension), Kramer (unknown), Hofmann (ligaments), Traore (thigh), Strobl (knee ligaments), Benes (metatarsal), Villalba (ill), Doucoure (thigh)
Coach: Dieter Hecking
Hamburg: Mathenia - Sakai (c), Mavraj, Papadopoulos, van Drongelen (Arp 80') – Ekdal (Janjicic 84'), Jung – Douglas Santos, Hunt (Waldschmidt 83'), Kostic - Hahn
Unused subs: Pollersbeck, Schipplock, Ito, Holtby
Absentees: Müller (knee), Thoelke (knee), Wood (knee), Diekmeier (thigh)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Watch: Gladbach defender Oxford discusses the victory over Hamburg