In a game in which the home side were awarded three penalties, spot-kick efforts from Martin Stranzl and Thorben Marx had been equalled by quick-fire strikes from Lazio’s Sergio Floccari and Libor Kozak. Then in a dramatic finale, Juan Arango’s brilliant free-kick was cancelled out by a late Kozak header, as the Italian side took the initiative ahead of next week’s second leg.
Stranzl on Point
The home side have become known for their tactical rigidity under Lucien Favre, but in right winger Patrick Herrmann they have a player comfortable in drifting all over the pitch, and it was from one of his runs that the opening goal came about. Racing onto Arango’s pass, he beat defender Andre Dias to the ball and was scythed down in the box, allowing Stranzl to crash home the resulting spot-kick.
Lazio attempted to respond and their three-man midfield was tidy in possession, but in the absence of injured German international striker Miroslav Klose, they lacked penetration. Borussia looked the more likely to trouble the scores again and they almost did so when Arango’s beautifully struck free-kick hit the post with keeper Federico Marchetti beaten.
End to End
Gladbach had been good value for their lead, but either side of the hour-mark, the game turned on its head. First, Floccari tapped in completely unmarked to level things, before Kozak then glanced in a strike minutes later and Favre’s men found themselves 2-1 down. They had an immediate chance to level things again when Andre Dias gave away another penalty and received a second yellow card, but Stranzl’s second spot-kick was saved, with the Austrian striking the post in the aftermath.
Lazio’s backline didn’t learn its lesson, though, and when de Jong was bundled to ground with eight minutes remained, substitute Marx stroked home Borussia’s third penalty of the evening to square the game. With the clock running down, the home side then thought they had won it when Arango’s swerving free-kick flew in from 30 yards, but Kozak had the last laugh, as he headed past ter Stegen in the fourth minute of injury time.
Gladbach: ter Stegen –Stranzl, Brouwers, Dominguez, Wendt – Nordveit (Marx, 73‘), Jantschke (Xhaka, 75’), Cigerci (Hanke, 75’) – Hermann, Arango – de Jong
Lazio: Marchetti - Konko, Biava, Andre Dias, Radu - Candreva (Cana, 72’), Ledesma (Kozak, 46‘), Hernanes- A. Gonzalez, Lulic (Ciani, 87‘) - Floccari
Goals: 1-0 Stranzl (pen, 17’), 1-1 Floccari (57’), 1-2 Kozak (64’), 2-2 Marx (pen, 84’), 3-2 Arango (88’), 3-3 Kozak (90+4’)