Roger Schmidt had almost a full squad available. The Bayer 04 head coach only had to make do without the captain Lars Bender (rehab training) and Aleksandar Dragovic (thigh injury). He made two changes to the starting eleven against Hertha Berlin: Jonathan Tah replaced Dragovic, Charles Aránguiz started in place of Julian Baumgartlinger, who dropped to the bench.
Tah scores first Bundesliga goal
The Werkself made a bright start and won the first corner in the opening minute. The cross from Hakan Calhanoglu found the head of Aránguiz but the Mönchengladbach keeper Yann Sommer was able to save the powerful header. The visitors gradually came into the game and put the Werkself under intense pressure but the Bayer 04 shot-stopper Bernd Leno was able to keep out best two efforts from Raffael (13’) and Mahmoud Dahoud (23’).
The Werkself had reason to celebrate on the half-hour mark: Calhanoglu put a corner into the six-yard box and Tah was on the spot to make it 1-0 with a header (31’) – it was the first Bundesliga goal for the 21-year-old Germany defender. Schmidt’s team struck again a few minutes later. A corner from Calhanoglu, this time from the left, was nodded on by Karim Bellarabi for Chicharito to double the lead with a header on 34 minutes.
The visitors were rocked after the sixth goal of the season for the Mexican and the Schmidt team were rampant. However, chances for Benjamin Henrichs (42’), Bellarabi (43’) and Kevin Kampl (45’) went unconverted so the score remained 2-0 for the Werkself at the break.
Gladbach’s Stindl spoils the party
The first chance of the second half also fell to Werkself. A corner from Calhanoglu saw Gladbach’s keeper Sommer prevent his team going 3-0 down when he saved an Ömer Toprak header bound for the far corner. From that point, the team lying fourteenth in the table succeeded in getting the upper hand over the hosts. Leno pulled off a brilliant reflex save on 51 minutes when his knee frustrated Thorgan Hazard but he picked the ball out of the net a minute later. Gladbach’s captain Lars Stindl beat Tah on the edge of the box and fired his shot into the goal to make it 2-1 on 52’ minutes.
Just six minutes later, Oscar Wendt broke down the left and crossed. Stindl, who looked to be offside, headed the ball past the helpless Leno from close range. The Werkself were hit hard and Gladbach had their tails up with Jonas Hofmann having another chance on 62 minutes – but the shot deflected off Tah over the bar.
Former Bayer 04 player Kramer involved in winner
The match developed into a hard-fought but fair and entertaining game of football that ended with victory for the visitors: With 71 minutes on the clock, the former Leverkusen player Christoph Kramer put a well-timed pass through to Raffael, who beat Tah before scoring to give Borussia Mönchengladbach a 3-2 lead. The team under new coach Dieter Hecking had turned the game round at the BayArena.
The remaining 20 minutes saw the Werkself endeavour to draw level but they were unable to seriously threaten the Gladbach goal. The introduction of Stefan Kießling did not change matters. The Rhine rivals focussed on defending in the closing stages and succeeded in maintaining their one-goal advantage.
The Werkself are eighth in the table on 24 points. Bayer 04 are back in action on Friday 3 February (20.30 CET) in an away game at second from bottom Hamburg SV at the start of matchday 19.
Bayer 04: Leno – Henrichs (Jedvaj 66’), Tah, Toprak, Wendell – Aránguiz (Havertz 66’), Kampl – Bellarabi (Kießling 77’), Calhanoglu – Chicharito, Brandt
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Sommer – Jantschke, Christensen, Vestergaard, Wendt – Kramer, Dahoud – Hofmann (Drmic 89’), Hazard (Hahn 70’) – Stindl – Raffael (Johnson 85’)
Goals: 1-0 Tah (31’), 2-0 Chicharito (34’), 2-1 Stindl (52’), 2-2 Stindl (58’), 2-3 Raffael (71’)
Booked: – / –
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Oberasbach)
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