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Sports

Gladbach deliver masterstroke against Bayern Munich

Four goals in Mönchengladbach, and three of them for one side. This time though, it wasn't for the men from Munich. Andre Schubert's sparkling start continues, in a thrilling Bundesliga classic.

Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 Bayern Munich
(Wendt 54', Stindl 66', Johnson 69' - Ribery 81')

"You can lose to Gladbach" came the chant around Borussia Park. It came with an audible joy, a realization that belief is always worth having. Gladbach were three goals clear of the undefeated, defending champions from Munich, and there were still 20 minutes left. Outplayed at their own game and facing the unfamiliar feeling of defeat, Bayern had the weary look of many of their previously dismissed opponents.

While it is worth remembering the last time Bayern played Gladbach in the Bundesliga it ended in a two-goal defeat for Pep Guardiola, this performance from Gladbach was special. And it all came off a stubborn first-half display in which Bayern should have taken the lead.

For the first time in nearly two years, Pep Guardiola didn't change his starting eleven. And to begin with, the game felt like one we hadn't seen in years. Gladbach were in Bayern's face. They were taking risks, playing with three men at the back against one of the most frightening attacks around. It felt like games of old between the two teams, when they were both vying for a title. It was aggressive, end-to-end, and full of intent.

But it didn't last, and soon Bayern delivered wave after wave of attack. What they hadn't accounted for was Yann Sommer. The Swiss keeper denied Robert Lewandowski in the box, then Thomas Müller. It was familiar now. Every second ball was Bayern's, every moment Gladbach's goal looked bigger. The home side suddenly looked like just another Bundesliga opponent, ready to be swept aside.

Not Sommer though. Javi Martinez was denied again in the box and then, when Sommer couldn't oblige, the woodwork did. Gladbach briefly burst forward near the end of the half, but it had become reaction rather than independent action. For Gladbach, half-time was needed.

Bayern's mistake was not to pick up in the second 45 minutes where they left off in the first. In the quarter of an hour it took Gladbach to score their three goals, they seemed to steal their opponent's identity.

Oscar Wendt started and finished the best move of the game. Having sent Johnson down the left, the left-winger on the day moved into the box to receive the ball back off him. It was a little behind him, but the Swede flicked it on to Raffael. The Brazilian stopped it dead, and it sat still for Wendt to curl it into the far corner. It was a goal Bayern have scored all season, but not one they were used to conceding.

The feeling of an equalizer still lingered, but the momentum was turning. Gladbach were on top. Guardiola asked Kingsley Coman and Müller to swap wings and then sent Franck Ribery to warm up. Julian Korb had the chance to make it 2-0, but Manuel Neuer made a great save. It was the chance that left many Gladbach fans worrying. Moments later, that worry disappeared. Lars Stindl stole in to make it two. Bayern were dumbfounded. Then in no time, it was three - Johnson providing the deserved gloss. Borussia Park was bouncing.

The clock ticked down. Ribery came on and scored. The move was one Bayern had tried all day, but hadn't managed to finish beforehand. That had been Gladbach. It won't change the title race, and it likely won't disrupt Bayern, but it was both a performance and a result that the Bundesliga and Bayern haven't had in a while.

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