Borussia Mönchengladbach leap-frogged Sevilla FC in the UEFA Champions League Group D standings courtesy of a thrilling and comprehensive 4-2 win at BORUSSIA-PARK on Wednesday evening.
Goals: 1-0 Stindl (29’), 2-0 Johnson (68’), 3-0 Raffael (78’), 3-1 Vitolo (82’), 4-1 Stindl (83’), 4-2 Banega (90+1’)
Knowing only a win would keep their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Europa League alive, Gladbach were quick out of the blocks with Raffael stinging the palms of Sergio Rico from range early on. The hosts controlled proceedings throughout, but looked susceptible on the counter, as both goalkeepers did well to keep the scores level before Granit Xhaka’s cross-cum-shot found Lars Stindl, who slotted home to hand Gladbach a half-time lead.
The entertainment value of the encounter showed no signs of dissipating after the break. Xhaka’s fierce drive had Rico at full stretch, while at the other end Yehvan Konoplyanka could only hit the side netting. However, with Sevilla pushing for an equaliser, Gladbach clinically put the game beyond reach as Fabian Johnson and Raffael both got themselves on the scoresheet. Vitolo reduced the arrears with a late chip, but it was Stindl who quashed Sevilla's glimmer of hope with his second of the evening, ensuring Ever Banega's late penalty proved nothing more than a second consolation effort.
Man of the match
He bagged a brace and set-up another, but Lars Stindl’s influence on proceedings had a much greater reach than just finding the back of the net. Composed in possession, comfortable working in tight spaces and clinical in front of goal, the summer signing continues to go from strength to strength under Andre Schubert’s guidance.
What Gladbach would give to go back in time and replay the opening two matches of their group stage campaign. Their performances in the double-header with Juventus and now against Sevilla make it hard to believe that they had already been knocked out of the competition. Fortunately, tonight’s result suggests we haven’t seen the last of them in Europe this season.
- Gladbach have won all five competitive fixtures this season in which they’ve boasted a lead in at half-time.
- Based on their superior goal difference, a draw at Manchester City FC could be enough for Gladbach to finish third even if Sevilla beat Juventus.
- Gladbach have conceded five penalties in their five UEFA Champions League group games this season.
Gladbach: Sommer - Korb, Christensen, Nordtveit, Wendt – Dahoud (Schulz 79’), Xhaka (c.) - Traore (Drmic 13’), Stindl, Johnson (Elvedi 87’) - Raffael
Sevilla: Rico - Coke (c., Mariano Ferreira 82’), Rami, Kolodziejczak, Trémoulinas - Krychowiak - Krohn-Dehli (Nzonzi 64’), Banega - Vitolo, Konoplyanka - Gameiro (Llorente 76’)