Hütter: “We need to be at our absolute best”
Head coach Adi Hütter and sporting director Max Eberl spoke before the DFB-Pokal tie against FC Bayern München on Wednesday (20:45 CEST).
Borussia Mönchengladbach’s second UEFA Champions League group game ended in a 2-2 draw with Real Madrid. Marcus Thuram’s brace had the Foals on course for victory, but two late goals from the Spanish giants meant Borussia claimed only a point.
The stands were sadly empty at BORUSSIA-PARK for one of the biggest fixtures on the calendar. Fans would have been treated to a memorable evening under the floodlights, which started with the Foals on the back foot. Real Madrid dominated possession as expected, but Gladbach were compact defensively and limited the visitors to a long-range strike from Toni Kroos that Yann Sommer palmed away. Marco Rose’s side struggled to keep hold of the ball in the opposition half, but always looked dangerous on the counter, and that’s how they managed to open the scoring after 33 minutes. Alassane Plea took over possession high up the pitch and played a one-two with Jonas Hofmann, before carving out a sumptuous pass to Marcus Thuram at the far post. His first-time, left-footed finish thundered into the top corner and now Borussia had something to defend. Real’s response came from Marco Asensio, but Sommer made himself big to keep the advantage intact at the break.
Zinedine Zidane’s side started the second half strongly, with Asensio hitting the post and Vinicius Junior firing wide from a promising position. Then it was Gladbach’s turn to create chances. Christoph Kramer almost scored a remarkable goal after dribbling through the Real defence, only to be denied at the last second by Casemiro. The Foals didn’t waste their next opportunity though. Stefan Lainer’s cross was met by Plea in the centre and, although his shot was saved, the rebound fell to Thuram to tap in past the stranded Thibaut Courtois. With just half an hour to go, Real Madrid had to open up, and that gave space for Borussia to counter. Plea was in one-on-one with Courtois just two minutes later, but the big Belgian goalkeeper kept him out and kept his side in the game. Lars Stindl also flashed a shot wide of the target in the 65th minute, but that was to be Gladbach’s last notable chance as the tidal wave of Real attacks game. Luka Modric and Eden Hazard were now on for the away side and the latter hit the side netting from a Karim Benzema pull-back. Nerves started to set in as the pressure mounted in the closing minutes and the La Liga champions made it count, with Benzema volleying home from a header down after Casemiro had just kept a cross from going out. Unfortunately, the Foals couldn’t survive the four minutes of added time. Again it was a cross and a header down that was their undoing, this time with Modric and Sergio Ramos combining, while Casemiro was the man applying an easy finish from five yards. The 2-2 draw means that Borussia still remain unbeaten in the Champions League and sit second in the group with two points.
Marco Rose made five changes to the side that won in Mainz, with Ramy Bensebaini, Florian Neuhaus, Jonas Hofmann, Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea returning to the starting XI, while Tony Jantschke, Oscar Wendt, Rocco Reitz, Patrick Herrmann and Breel Embolo dropped to the bench.
Apart from Denis Zakaria (fitness training) and Andreas Poulsen (shoulder), Marco Rose had everyone available, with László Bénes and Valentino Lazaro back in the matchday squad after recovering from injury.
Borussia: Sommer – Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini – Kramer, Neuhaus, Hofmann, Stindl (79’ Embolo) – Thuram (70’ Herrmann), Plea (79’ Wolf)
Real Madrid: Courtois – Vazquez, Varane, Sergio Ramos, Mendy – Casemiro, Valverde, Kroos (70’ Modric) – Asensio (84’ Rodrygo), Vinicius (70’ Hazard) – Benzema
Goals: 1-0 Thuram (33’), 2-0 Thuram (59’), 2-1 Benzema (87’), 2-2 Casemiro (90+3’)
Yellow cards: Stindl, Bensebaini, Neuhaus / Casemiro
Referee: Orel Grinfeld (Israel)