Borussia Mönchengladbach made it four straight Bundesliga wins on Sunday, securing a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen to move four points clear at the top of table. Patrick Herrmann struck twice for the Foals after Ramy Bensebaini, who was sent off late on, had opened the scoring.
54,022 fans packed inside a sold-out BORUSSIA-PARK to see the lead leaders in action and they were almost celebrating inside sixty seconds. Stefan Lainer’s cross from the right found Marcus Thuram unmarked in the centre, but – in unfamiliar fashion for the Frenchman – he failed to hit the target with a first-time finish. Gladbach continued to carry a threat and the opening goal arrived in the 20th minute. László Bénes whipped a free kick into the box and Ramy Bensebaini headed it past Pavlenka to open his Borussia account. The Foals sensed some uncertainty in the Bremen defence and pressed forward again immediately. Matthias Ginter was allowed time to lift the ball over the backline for Thuram to run on to, and the striker beat Werder’s goalkeeper to the ball, with his nod on precisely volleyed into the now empty net by Patrick Herrmann less than two minutes after the opener. The hosts were lucky to have their 2-0 lead intact at the break, however. Werder thought they had responded inside half an hour, only for Osako’s goal to be chalked off by VAR because of a foul on Denis Zakaria in the build-up. Yann Sommer also had to make a couple of quality saves, first from Rashica and then from Maximilian Eggestein’s point-blank header.
The spotlight stayed on Borussia’s number one early in the second half too. Again, he saved from the dangerous Rashica at full stretch, before Klaassen had the chance to beat him from twelve yards. VAR intervened once more to give Werder a penalty when Bensebaini caught Osako, but Sommer’s trailing leg kept the Dutchman’s spot-kick out and notably reinvigorated the Foals. A third goal followed just before the hour mark, yet again courtesy of Herrmann. He had space to shoot from Zakaria’s through ball and picked his spot superbly to all but secure victory. The new father – following the birth of his son Leo on Friday – almost marked the perfect week with a hat-trick too had Pavlenka not had fished his free kick out of the top corner. There were a couple of late downers for Gladbach, however. Having already been booked for his role in the penalty, Bensebaini took out Bittencourt with a late challenge to earn him a second yellow and a one-match suspension, before the Werder midfielder also had the final say in the game, denying Sommer a deserved clean sheet with a curling finish off the inside of the post with the last kick of the game. Nevertheless, the 3-1 win moves Borussia four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga – a position they can relax and enjoy with an international break now on the cards.
Marco Rose made four changes to the side the beat AS Roma on Thursday, bringing in Ramy Bensebaini, Christoph Kramer, Patrick Herrmann and Alassane Plea for Tony Jantschke, Oscar Wendt, Florian Neuhaus and Lars Stindl. The full starting XI was as follows: Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Kramer, Zakaria, Bénes, Herrmann; Thuram, Plea.
The coach was without Tony Jantschke, Breel Embolo, Keanan Bennetts (all thigh), Tobias Sippel, Torben Müsel (both knee), Fabian Johnson (training deficit), Mamadou Doucouré (precaution) and Julio Villalba (strength training) due to injury.