Alassane Plea overtook team-mate Thorgan Hazard and moved to the top of the Bundesliga scoring charts with a hat-trick earning Borussia Mönchengladbach a 3-1 win at faltering Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Bremen 1-3 Gladbach
Goals: 0-1 Plea (39'), 0-2 Plea (48'), 0-3 Plea (52'), 1-3 Sahin (59')
Bremen, looking to avoid a third straight defeat and get their season back on track, were straight on the attack with Maximilian Eggestein testing Yann Sommer and a Davy Klaassen shot deflecting just inches over the crossbar. The defences were on top, though, until Plea made what was a seemingly impossible situation look simple, leaving two markers for dead as he switched the ball back onto his left foot and then curled a shot unstoppably into the far corner.
A training-ground move led to Gladbach doubling their lead, and Plea netting his second, early in the second half. A bit of luck helped the French forward's shot from a corner deflect through the legs of Jiri Pavlenka, but there was no luck involved in his and Gladbach's third as he met Oscar Wendt's cross with a delicate dink over the last line of the Bremen defence. Nuri Sahin gave Bremen hope with a fine finish for his first goal for the northern Germany side. Moments later, Kruse went within inches of heading Bremen to within a goal before substitute Claudio Pizarro headed against the crossbar with his first touch. Plea almost scored a fourth before leaving the field to a standing ovation from the visiting fans, who were celebrating their side's away win minutes later.
- Seven of Plea's eight Bundesliga goals have been scored away from Borussia-Park.The French forward scored his first Bundesliga hat-trick.No player has given his side a 1-0 lead this season more often than Plea, who today did that for the fourth time.The last Gladbach player to have eight goals after 11 Matchdays was Oliver Neuville in 2004/05.Sahin's first goal for Bremen was also his first goal since 21 October 2017, in Dortmund's 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Bremen: Pavlenka - Veljkovic, Bargfrede (J. Eggestein 46'), Moisander - Gebre Selassie, M. Eggestein, Sahin (Pizarro 75'), Klaassen, Augustinsson – Harnik (Rashica 86'), Kruse
Unused subs: Plogmann, Osako, Langkamp, Friedl
Absentees: Bartels (ankle), Johannsson (fitness), Kapino (thigh), Käuper (ankle), Letterer (Pseudarthrosis)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Gladbach: Sommer (c) – Lang, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt – Neuhaus, Strobl, Hofmann (Zakaria 68') – Stindl (Johnson 69'), Plea (Traore 86'), Hazard
Unused subs: Sippel, Kramer, Raffael, Jantschke
Absentees: Villalba (shoulder)
Coach: Dieter Hecking
Watch: Alassane Plea reflects on his first Bundesliga hat-trick