Incredible! An Igor de Camargo strike right at the end of added time secured a 1-0 win for Borussia in the first leg of the relegation/promotion play-off against VfL Bochum. The goal came so late there was no time left for referee Günter Perl to restart the game.
It was a game that had everything, a thrilling blend of superb atmosphere, blistering tempo, chances galore and excitement from start to finish. In an evenly-contested first half Borussia had the first chance on goal less than 50 seconds into the game. Tony Jantschke dispatched a cross to the far post from the right flank for Juan Arango to head towards goal, only for Bochum keeper Andreas Luthe to turn the ball away for a corner. Operating from a tight defence, the visitors refused to sit back, however, repeatedly finding the right moment to go on the attack.
A combination of Lady Luck and skipper Filip Daems's skill prevented the visitors taking an early lead on five minutes. Anther Yahia met a corner with his head and the ball was destined for the top corner of the net, but Daems was in the right place to head it onto the bar. Bochum had another opportunity to open the scoring on 22 minutes, and this time it was Borussia keeper Marc-André ter Stegen who came to Borussia's rescue against Marcel Maltritz on the break.
At the other end Mike Hanke was Borussia's stand-out player in terms of chances created and shots attempted. Nine minutes in he set up Mo Idrissou, but Luthe was able to save the Cameroon striker's shot. The Bochum keeper then defused two Hanke efforts, the first on 24 after a pass from Juan Arango and the second following some good work by Marco Reus ten minutes later. Dante had what was probably the best chance to put Gladbach in front after 25 minutes, but his header from an Arango corner went over the bar.
As the half wore on, however, the game became increasingly disjointed from a Borussia point of view as they struggled to find a way to break down a well-organised and slick-passing Bochum outfit. The situation remained much the same after the interval, with Borussia's long upfield balls rarely finding an outlet and wide men Arango and Reus unable to take centre stage.
With just over an hour gone Mike Hanke had the first opportunity in quite some time with a shot on the turn, but Luthe again came to the visitors' rescue. His effort seemed to serve as a wake-up call, however, and Borussia stepped up their attacking efforts. Juan Arango broke down the left seven minutes later and crossed for Hanke, sliding in at the near post, but the ball flew over the top from close range.
Igor de Camargo was then introduced for Mo Idrissou and the spotlight increasingly turned on Luthe. On 74 the Bochum keeper pulled off a great save to keep out a Hanke header. Ten minutes later he had luck on his side when Dante's header flew just over the bar, but with three minutes of normal time left he produced a sensational stop from another Hanke header. Borussia also enjoyed some good fortune when Dabrowski's strike fizzed just wide of the target on 90 minutes.
Then came that amazing finish. With referee Günter Perl about to blow the final whistle after two minutes of stoppage time, Borussia fashioned one last chance. A Havard Nordtveit throw-in caused confusion in the Bochum penalty box that De Camargo exploited, directing a header on goal that was brilliantly saved by Luthe, but the ball eventually found its way back to the Borussia number 10, who stabbed it over the line.
The 1-0 win sets Borussia up nicely for the second leg in Bochum on Wednesday. But as this evening clearly showed, it will be anything but easy for Lucien Favre's men.
Borussia: Ter Stegen - Jantschke, Stranzl, Dante, Daems - Nordtveit, Neustädter - Reus, Arango - Hanke, Idrissou (De Camargo 67')
Bochum: Luthe - Kopplin, Maltritz, Yahia, Ostrzolek - Dabrowski, Johansson, Toski (Azaouagh 82') - Freier, Aydin (Tese 46'), Korkmaz (Federico 71')
Yellow cards: Neustädter - Toski, Kopplin, Ostrzolek
Referee: Günter Perl