Borussia Mönchengladbach can continue to dream about European football next term after a strong performance to beat Mainz 2-1 away on Saturday afternoon.
Mainz 1-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Having taken four points from their last two games – a victory over Hertha Berlin and a draw with Bayern Munich – Mainz were understandably confident at the outset and exerted a great deal of pressure on their visitors. However, aside from a close-range header from Yoshinori Muto in the third minute they struggled to create any chances of note. Gladbach gradually fought their way back into the match and went into the break in the lead after Lars Stindl finished off a superb counter-attack from Nico Schulz.
Schulz went on to get his own name on the scoresheet within seconds of the restart, firing an instinctive strike into the top corner after good work from Jonas Hofmann. Mainz coach Martin Schmidt brought on attackers Jhon Cordoba and Pablo De Blasis as he looked to change the course of the game, but although his charges had greater urgency going forward it was not until the 89th minute that they broke through thanks to Muto's close-range finish, but it was too little too late by then.
Man of the Match
A goal, an assist and over 60 per cent of all tackles won: it is safe to say that Schulz was exceptional here, filling in superbly at left-back in place of injured regular Oscar Wendt.
The result means Gladbach can still dream about finishing in the European places, whereas Mainz are set for an intriguing scrap for survival. Their six-pointer against fellow strugglers Hamburg next week could therefore be pivotal.
- Stindl has scored in four successive Bundesliga games for the first time ever.Nico Schulz's assist for Stindl's strike was his first direct involvement in a goal for Gladbach.Schulz found the net in the Bundesliga for the first time in two years – the last time he did so was for Hertha Berlin in a 2-0 win over Paderborn.
Mainz: Huth – Donati, Bell (c), Hack, Brosinski – Frei, Latza (Ramalho 50') – Onisiwo (De Blasis 73'), Bojan, Quaison (Cordoba 62') – Muto
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Gladbach: Sommer – Elvedi, Christensen, Vestergaard, Schulz – Herrmann (Traore 82'), Dahoud, Benes (Strobl 77'), Hofmann – Hahn, Stindl (c) (Sow 90+3')
Coach: Dieter Hecking
Watch: Gladbach defender Schulz reflects on his contribution to the game