Borussia claim hard-fought 1-0 win over Werder
The final matchday of the first half of the Bundesliga season saw Borussia Mönchengladbach secure a 1-0 home win over SV Werder Bremen, with Nico Elvedi’s second-half header enough for all three points.
The Foals controlled the ball from the offset at BORUSSIA-PARK, with Werder happy to sit back inside their own half. Superior possession resulted in a number of set-piece opportunities for the home side. Nico Elvedi and Alassane Plea both had free headers inside the box, but neither could find the power or the placement to trouble Jiri Pavlenka. The Werder goalkeeper was soon in the spotlight again, this time in a much less routine intervention, coming a long way to try and head a lofted pass away. He missed the ball, however, instead bringing Jonas Hofmann down, and could consider himself lucky to only be booked (22’). The focus then switched to Yann Sommer at the other end. First, he made a fine save at full stretch to push a Romano Schmid volley away from the top corner (27’), before too picking up a yellow card for a trip on Josh Sargent outside the box. The ball stayed alive following the foul and Felix Agu curled a strike at the Sommer-less Borussia goal, only for it to be hooked off the line by birthday boy Matthias Ginter (37’).
The tempo of the game slowed a little in the second half and Marco Rose soon turned to his bench to change things up. The in-form Lars Stindl and set-piece specialist László Bénes were introduced and the latter soon made his mark. A whipped free-kick from the Slovakian found Nico Elvedi in space at the edge of the box and the centre-back stooped into a diving header, brilliantly directing the ball in off the post to open the scoring (66’). The goal didn’t spark more chances though, with a nervy midfield battle ensuing. As the clock ticked down, thoughts of the late equalisers that Borussia have conceded this season were very much fresh in the mind, particularly after another reminder in Stuttgart last week. Werder probed with long balls and a couple of golden chances did fall their way in the closing minutes. Milot Rashica’s strike hit the post and then the back of Sommer, who was quick to react and gather the ball before it crossed the line (87’). He was motionless for the final chance of the game though, as Leonardo Bittencourt fortunately sent his first-time shot over the top (89’). It meant that Gladbach were able to see out an important 1-0 victory, taking their points tally to 28 as the first half of the season drew to a close.
Marco Rose made four changes to the team that started in Stuttgart on the weekend. Oscar Wendt, Patrick Herrmann, Hannes Wolf and Alassane Plea got the nod ahead of Ramy Bensebaini, Denis Zakaria, Lars Stindl and Breel Embolo.
The boss remained without the suspended Marcus Thuram and the injured Valentino Lazaro, while Embolo was dropped from the squad on Monday evening after a possible breach of coronavirus regulations.
Borussia: Sommer – Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt (73’ Bensebaini) – Kramer, Neuhaus (59’ Bénes) – Herrmann (59’ Stindl), Hofmann, Wolf (85’ Jantschke) – Plea (73’ Zakaria)
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka - Veljkovic, Toprak (58’ Moisander), Friedl - Gebre Selassie, Möhwald (82’ Bittencourt), Agu, M. Eggestein, Mbom (82’ Osako), Schmid (74. Selke) – Sargent (74’ Rashica)
Goals: 1-0 Elvedi (66’)
Yellow cards: Sommer, Wendt – Pavlenka, Sargent
Referee: Martin Petersen (Stuttgart)