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).
Although the Foals lost 2-0 away to Real Madrid in their final group game, Borussia reached the knockouts of the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.
The hosts, in desperate need of the win themselves, put the pressure on Borussia right from the off and attacked Gladbach early on. The first chance of the night was converted by Karim Benzema with an accurate header past Yann Sommer (9’). The Foals looked to get back into the game and had a golden chance to level proceedings after 25 minutes. Florian Neuhaus’ exquisite through ball found Alassane Plea, however Gladbach’s top goalscorer in the Champions League chipped the ball over Courtois and past the far post (25’). This miss was clinically punished seven minutes later by the Spaniards. Rodrygo was afforded too much space and his cross was met again by Benzema, who headed home his second of the evening to make it 2-0 (32’).
Real Madrid were again dominant in the second half and could have won the game by a greater scoreline were it not for Yann Sommer. Borussia’s number one made saves from Benzema (49’) and Kroos (63’), before making the best stop of the night with a fingertip save from a powerful Ramos header (73’). The woodwork also kept the home side at bay in the second period – Lucas Vazquez struck the post from the edge of the box (79’). As the game in Madrid petered out and Gladbach’s hopes of taking anything from the game slowly diminished, attention started to turn to Milan. A draw between Inter and Shakhtar would still see the Foals progress and Marco Rose’s men were left watching the added time in Milan on phones in the dugout after full time in Madrid. Eventually, after eight minutes of injury time, the Inter-Shakhtar game finished, much to the jubilation of the Gladbach players and staff.
Marco Rose made two changes to the side that draw 2-2 last time out in Freiburg, with Nico Elvedi and Marcus Thuram replacing Denis Zakaria and Hannes Wolf in the starting XI. The Foals were without Tony Jantschke (knee problems), Jonas Hofmann (hamstring) and Ramy Bensebaini (positive Covid-19 test).
Real: Courtois – Vazquez, Varane, Ramos, Mendy – Casemiro, Modric, Kroos –Rodrygo (74' Arribas), Vinicius (74' Asensio) – Benzema
Borussia: Sommer – Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt (46' Lazaro) – Kramer (85. Bénes), Neuhaus – Thuram (85' Herrmann), Stindl (85' Wolf), Plea – Embolo (46' Zakaria) // Bench: Grün, Sippel, Lang, Beyer, Poulsen, Traoré
Goals: 1-0 Benzema (9'), 2-0 Benzema (32')
Yellow cards: - / Zakaria
Referee: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)