Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-2 Borussia Dortmund, Borussia-Park
(Elvedi 11‘ 32‘, Bensebaini 49′, Thuram 78′ – Haaland 22′ 28′)
If Borussia Dortmund had any remaining reservations about whether Marco Rose is the right man to take them forward, they’ve just been extinguished.
Rose masterminded another huge home win, with Dortmund going the same way as Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig before them, and in the process, the Foals ended a 12-game losing streak against the Black and Yellows.
Rose is likely to be leading Dortmund at the start of next season, but that will be of little consolation to them now with their title hopes dead in the water and their season threatening derailment. Dortmund supporters can only hope that their team’s professionalism will shine through for the remainder of the season, with a top four place now the only remaining objective – but even that’s far from assured in a competitive chasing pack.
Under the Friday night lights, it was Gladbach who looked the more unified force. A disallowed goal for Gladbach’s Florian Neuhaus after a minute was harsh – a foul on Jude Bellingham in the build-up was soft – but it was an early shot across the bows for Dortmund.
Dortmund failed to heed the warning and Gladbach had the lead soon after through the unlikely source of defender Nico Elvedi. There was further proof to come of Dortmund’s fallibility but it initially served to stir them, as they shot back with two goals of their own to flip the contest on its head. They were both assisted by Jadon Sancho and scored by Erling Haaland, with the pairs’ individual quality and mutual understanding one of the best things about Dortmund. On this occasion it offered Terzic’s side little but a brief reprieve as Elvedi levelled for 2-2 with a header soon after.
A pulsating first half can often precede a lackluster second, but the intensity and compelling nature of the game continued after the break with Gladbach getting their noses in front again four minutes after the restart, with Ramy Bensebaini an unlikely scorer as he cut inside and guided a shot into the bottom corner with his weaker right foot to make it 3-2. This time it was a lead that Gladbach wouldn’t surrender.
Dortmund had their moments but the buzz of Sancho, Marco Reus or Julian Brandt in full flow was rarely converted into clear-cut chances. Much of the credit for that should go to Rose, who isn’t afraid to station his Gladbach defense as deep as necessary to absorb the pressure – and Dortmund lacked an alternative gameplan to do things another way.
Captain Marco Reus was clear in his post-match appraisal of why Dortmund lost: “We keep repeating ourselves in the last few weeks with individual errors that lead to goals,” he told broadcaster DAZN. “If we don’t stop that then it’s hard to win games.” On the third goal, he said: “A goal can never happen there, never.”
Mats Hummels complained that Dortmund’s schedule was part of the reason and admitted that he and several other members of the team need rest. “We’re in desperate need for rest, at least for me and I think the same is true for a few others,” Hummels said. “Most sides are struggling to be consistent at the moment. A few days physical and mental rest will do us good.”
And while Emre Can had an effort cleared off the line by Lars Stindl, it was Gladbach who looked the more likely to find the net again. Alassane Plea went agonizingly close and substitute Breel Embolo had a couple of chances to finish Dortmund off. In the end, that honor was left to Marcus Thuram, off the bench after his five-game ban, to head in the fourth and secure a three points that keeps Gladbach in the conversation at the top of the table. For Dortmund, it’s a long road back.