Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund clashed in a dogged fight in Saturday’s Bundesliga Topspiel with the Black and Yellows coming out on top as 2-1 winners at Borussia Park.
Achraf Hakimi scored the winner in the 71. minute after former Gladbach player Thorgan Hazard opened the scoring in the 8. minute and Lars Stindl scored the temporary equaliser off a corner kick int he 50. minute.
“It was the expected tough game for us,” BVB coach Lucien Favre told his news conference after the game, adding: “Gladbach play very good football and are continuously dangerous. Our first half was OK but we had too many giveaways, which led to dangerous moments. Going back into the locker room with a 1-0 lead is always great but then we conceded the 1-1 after what was a big mistake in my view.”
“But afterwards, the team played very well. They instantly showed their intent and continued to push forward. We played with a lot of intensity and had multiple stints of possession in the opponent’s half. This was one of many very close games in the Bundesliga. I hope that [Denis] Zakaria is not injured.”
Gladbach coach Marco Rose, meanwhile, was happy with his team’s performance despite the loss.
“Our first half wasn’t OK — it was very, very good! We didn’t allow Dortmund, who are a great football team, to get into the game,” he said, adding: “We forced a lot of valuable turnovers, we had good stints with the ball and had three to four good scoring opportunities. We conceded what basically was Dortmund’s first half-chance, which we sort-of initiated with our own error. But we reacted very well, and continued where we left off after the break. We scored a deserved equaliser but then, I guess, things got a little too much for us. We made a lot of runs, often pressed all the way up to their goalkeeper, making 60-yard runs. Eventually, we showed some fatigue and that was the moment when Dortmund found better into the match. We had to defend a bit deeper but that didn’t really trouble us either.”
“As for the 2-1, some players weren’t entirely sure whether there was a foul or not and some thought the ball was maybe going out of play but obviously we cannot rely on that in such a situation. We need to remain focused until the referee blows the whistle or until the ball actually goes out of play. Toward the end of the game, it things got even tougher. Dortmund had a couple of good fast-breaks, and we also had a few good chances. It was a bit wild and we had some very terrible giveaways but those happened with a heart rate of 220 bpm, so I’m not holding it against my boys. All in all, we played well in a very intense game against a very strong opponent.”
Dortmund have now won all of their last 10 Bundesliga matches against Borussia Mönchengladbach. This season, BVB also managed to beat the Foals in the DFB Pokal.
“I’m glad that we don’t have to play Dortmund again this season — three times is enough,” the 43-year-old jested. “Three times it was close with good performances but without a result. We’re trying to get those points back elsewhere now.”
Gladbach had to make do without the central defender of their back three. Denis Zakaria collided with goalkeeper Yann Sommer and had to leave the field. Tony Jantschke replaced the Swiss international, as Matthias Ginter moved from the right centre-half position into the middle. The adjustment limited the hosts’ ability to build from the back.
Zakaria’s injury, however, doesn’t seem to be too dramatic according to Rose. “Nothing is torn or broken but he has a very heavy bruise and will likely miss a few days. We hope that he can quickly recover.”
Gladbach, who were overtaken by Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, will have the chance to reclaim the fourth place against 1. FC Köln on Wednesday night. Borussia Dortmund will try to go through to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, as they take a 2-1 lead into the away leg against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.