The penultimate Bundesliga match of the season saw Borussia Mönchengladbach return to winning ways, turning on the style in the second half to beat 1. FC Nürnberg 4-0. With other results going their way, the Foals are now guaranteed to play in Europe next season.
The almost 50,000 spectators at the sold-out Max-Morlock-Stadion saw a fairly uneventful first half. There were no doubt nerves for both teams, with Borussia’s European hopes on the line and Nürnberg desperate to somehow still avoid relegation. The only real chance that came about in the first 45 was an effort from Denis Zakaria that flashed across the face of goal and inches wide of the post.
Dieter Hecking made one change at the break, replacing Florian Neuhaus with Jonas Hofmann, and he made a quick impact. A neat pass in behind was met first-time by Josip Drmic and the Swiss forward beat the onrushing keeper to grab the crucial opening goal. All of a sudden there was space for the Foals to attack, and Ibrahima Traoré was causing Nürnberg all sorts of problems. First it was FCN defender Lukas Mühl who inadvertently turned the Guinean’s cross into his own net, before Thorgan Hazard got on the end of another dangerous ball into the box to make it 3-0 two minutes later. A cracking driven shot into the bottom corner from Zakaria wrapped up an impressive 4-0 victory in the 80th minute, and with Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim both losing, Gladbach have now confirmed at least Europa League football in the upcoming campaign. Should results next week go the Foals’ way on the final matchday, Champions League qualification is even a possibility yet.
Head coach Dieter Hecking made four changes to the starting line-up that drew with Hoffenheim last week. The late hero against TSG, Josip Drmic, was given his chance instead of Alassane Plea, Ibrahima Traoré came in for the injured Patrick Herrmann, Christoph Kramer returned from suspension and took over from Tobias Strobl, while Jordan Beyer was preferred to Tony Jantschke at centre back. The full starting XI was as follows: Sommer; Beyer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt; Kramer, Zakaria, Neuhaus; Traoré, Drmic, Hazard.
Apart from missing Herrmann to a thigh strain suffered during the week, the boss was also without Lars Stindl (fractured tibia), Raffael, Fabian Johnson (both calf) and Mamadou Doucouré (thigh) due to injury.