The final matchday of the Bundesliga season saw Borussia Mönchengladbach beat Hertha Berlin 2-1 at BORUSSIA-PARK, defending their fourth place in the table and therefore securing a place in the UEFA Champions League.
The Foals showed their intentions early on against their visitors from Berlin and raced into a seventh-minute lead. Breel Embolo brilliantly wrestled off two defenders in the box to maintain possession, before laying the ball off for Jonas Hofmann to score with a first-time finish. It was one-way football for the first half with a string of chances for the likes of Lars Stindl, Embolo and Neuhaus, including two shots hitting the post, but Borussia failed to translate their dominance onto the scoreboard and went into the interval with a slender 1-0 lead.
Borussia’s tempo dropped a little in the second half, keen to defend their lead first and foremost. Hertha had more of the ball than in the opening 45, but there was still very little for Yann Sommer to do. Nevertheless, there was a sense of tension in the air with Leverkusen leading elsewhere, and a second goal was needed to ease the nerves. Embolo came close again and substitute Ibrahima Traoré had a shot deflected narrowly wide, but the golden opportunity finally arrived with twelve minutes to go. Hofmann was allowed to carry a short corner to the edge of the box and his low cross was prodded in at the back post by an unmarked Breel Embolo. The cushion also gave Marco Rose the chance to give Raffael one final appearance in Gladbach colours, and the Brazilian maestro almost capped it with a goal, but he was denied one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The only negative from the game was a stoppage-time Hertha goal from Vedad Ibisevic to wipe away Sommer’s clean sheet. A 2-1 win was still enough to defend fourth place though, ensuring that the Foals will return to the Champions League in 2020/21.
Marco Rose made just the one change to the side that won in Paderborn last week, with Nico Elvedi returning from suspension and replacing Tony Jantschke. The full starting XI was as follows: Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Kramer, Neuhaus; Herrmann, Stindl, Hofmann; Embolo.
Raffael and Alassane Plea were given the green light to return to the squad, but there was to be no return for Fabian Johnson (muscular problems) and Tobias Strobl (hamstring) for their final matchday as Borussia players. Marcus Thuram (ankle) and Denis Zakaria (knee) also remained sidelined.