Dortmund came out on top in the battle of the Borussias, with Thorgan Hazard starring against his former club. Jadon Sancho was rested, but came off the bench to make a key contribution for Lucien Favre's side.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-2 Borussia Dortmund, Borussia-Park
(Stindl 50' — Hazard 8', Hakimi 71')
For much of his footballing life Thorgan Hazard has had to become accustomed to living in the shadow of other attacking talents. The comparisons with older brother Eden have been a constant throughout his career, while this year with Dortmund the Belgian has seen Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho hog the goals, assists and headlines.
But on his return to Borussia Park on Saturday, there was little doubt that Thorgan Hazard was the man of the moment and the man of the match. The 26-year-old was surprisingly preferred to Sancho by Lucien Favre, another former Borussia Mönchengladbach man, on Saturday night and repaid his Swiss boss with a brilliantly-taken opening goal that helped BVB to a crucial win.
After a poor first touch from Haaland’s simple pass, Hazard produced a drop of the shoulder that two Gladbach defenders bought hook, line, sinker and unneccessary 10-year-warranty, before curling an emphatic left-footed strike past Yann Sommer.
It was Hazard’s first strike of 2020 and seemed to instantly infuse him with confidence. From that poitn he was a constant menace from the left, winning tackles, darting in to positions between center back and wingback and combining smartly with the marauding Achraf Hakimi.
On a rare moment of second half wastefulness, Hazard was lightly jeered by the fans who saw him enjoy a breakout season last term. There was nothing light about the volume from the stands minutes later when a backtracking run from Haaland kept Lars Stindl onside from a corner and allowed him to turn in an equalizer from Alassane Plea’s header.
With Sancho still waiting on the sidelines, Hazard stepped up a gear, forcing Sommer in to an exceptional save with a header from Hakimi’s cross and drilling in a dangerous low cross of his own that almost found Haaland.
With the scores level, the Englishman’s introduction was inevitable but Favre was never likely to remove Hazard, with Julian Brandt the man sacrificed. It took Sancho five minutes to help change the game. Hazard worked his way back to an onside position as Hakimi raced away on his outside and the Moroccan wideman slammed home Sancho’s simple pass.
As if to prove a point about their suitability in tandem ahead of the Champions League match in Paris on Wednesday, Hazard slipped Sancho in late on only for the teenager’s stunning strike to rattle the post before Hazard was replaced by another prodigy, Gio Reyna in the 84th minute.
He’d done enough - both to secure Dortmund the three points that keep them in touch with Bayern Munich at the top of the table and to keep him uppermost in Favre’s thoughts ahead of the trip to France and the title run in.
It’s given Favre exactly the sort of selection headache he’ll be delighted to have — with critical games coming thick and fast, squad depth is essential. On the evidence of Saturday night, so is Thorgan Hazard.
As it happened:
FT Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-2 Borussia Dortmund — That's it! Dortmund pick up a huge win in their title quest. Hakimi scores the winner, but Thorgan Hazard was the star for Dortmund, and there was an important cameo by Sancho in the second half.
90' The clock ticks into overtime...
86' HAALAND MISSES! Yes, you read that right. Sancho burst forward and puts it on a plate for the Norwegian to wrap up the points, but he blazes over the bar.
84' Ginter sees yellow for a cynical pull on Hakimi.
83' Reyna is on for Dortmund. Hazard, the man of the match, makes way after going down with cramp.
81' That really was the chance for Gladbach, who have played well but haven't made the most of their chances.
79' EMBOLO MISS! The substitute misses a sitter! Thuram finds space on the right and pulls it back for Embolo, but he scuffs his shot wide when he had to score.
76' Sancho clashes with Bensebaini and the pair both end up with yellow cards. Plea is very lucky to avoid a yellow or worse as he came over and grabbed Sancho around the neck.
73' Can in the book for a tactical foul.
71' GOAL! Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-2 Borussia Dortmund - Hakimi scores! Dortmund are back in front and it's Hakimi with the goal. Sancho picks him out with a ball to the right and Hakimi, who looks poised to cross rather than shoot, angles a shot towards the far bottom corner.
70' Haaland gets taken out in mid-air and has stayed down.
68' Almost an own goal by Jantschke, who cuts out Hazard's cross but steers it very close to his own near post. Luckily for the Gladbach defender, it whistles wide of the post.
66' Sancho is on for Dortmund, Brandt goes off.
65' BIG SAVE! Sommer keeps Gladbach in it with a fine save low to his right. Hazard arrives late to meet Pizczek's cross but Sommer gets down brilliantly.
63' Thuram is coming on for Gladbach. Hofmann makes way.
61' Yellow for Kramer, after a tangle with Hazard.
58' It won't be too long before we see Jadon Sancho, who is warming up.
55' STAT: No Bundesliga team has come from behind to win more often than Gladbach, who have done it four times already this season.
52' That goal has ignited Borussia-Park. It must be said that it's the least Gladbach deserve. They've been the better team for a while now.
50' GOAL! Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-1 Borussia Dortmund - Stindl scores! Neuhaus' corner reaches the unmarked Plea, who sidefoots it to Stindl, who taps in in from a meter out. Haaland tried to stop it on the line, but couldn't quite get to it.
48' Gladbach on the front foot at the start of the second half with back-to-back corners.
46' We're back underway at Borussia-Park.
HT Borussia Mönchengladbach 0-1 Borussia Dortmund — Dortmund lead at the break and it was a fine early strike by the former Foal Hazard that divides the sides. Dortmund have shaded it but Gladbach have grown into it, and should have had a penalty late in the half.
45' Zagadou doesn't get away with an elbow on Kramer though. Seemed accidental, but it's a yellow card for the Frenchman.
44' Zagadou gets away with a blatant block on Hofmann in the box. VAR doesn't seem to be reviewing it though, which is strange.
42' Witsel picks up a needless yellow for obstructing a free-kick.
40' Chance Plea! Oh what a chance this is... Bensebaini gets forward again and picks out Plea, who forces a save from Bürki with a wonderfully delicate volley with the outside of his right boot. But Plea didn't seem to realise that Zagadou had slipped, and Plea had the time to take a touch and pick his spot.
37' A delicate through ball by Stindl almost reaches Hofmann, but Witsel gets back to make a crucial interception. Hofmann was actually offside, but Witsel didn't know that.
34' In fact, that's the end of Zakaria's night and appears to be a fairly serious injury. The Swiss limps off and is replaced by Tony Jantschke.
31' Sommer cleans out his own man. Calamitous stuff which has left his Switzerland international teammate Zakaria grounded.
27' A promising break for Dortmund but Hakimi makes a complete dog's dinner of his pass and Gladbach can breathe again.
25' Gladbach have done a decent job of steadying the ship but have looked a little blunt in attack.
22' Opportunity for Plea, who gets into a great position on the left but delays his cross and that split second is enough for the crossing opportunity to close up and the chance is gone.
20' Following some treatment, Can is back in business.
18' Emre Can goes down in a heap after Stindl catches him late. The Germany player stries to get to his feet, but immediate falls down in a heap.
16' Chance Gladbach! Hofmann rolls the ball across to left-back Bensebaini, who had galloped half the field to get into a shooting position, but couldn't keep his shot on target. Not far off, but wide.
12' Dortmund looking in control at the moment. Knocking the ball around confidently and Gladbach struggling to get near them.
10' Gladbach haven't started well, it would be fair to say. Lacking cohesion or a focal point, without Thuram.
9' A goal for Hazard against his former club and vindication for Favre, who had taken a big risk leaving Sancho out.
8' GOAL! Borussia Mönchengladbach 0-1 Borussia Dortmund - Hazard scores! A cheap giveaway lets in Haaland, who releases Hazard, who cuts back onto his left and guides the ball into the bottom corner with a very nice finish.
6' Some kamikaze defending from Dortmund almost lets Gladbach in. That's lifted the home fans.
5' Bürki called into action as Lainer gets in but the Dortmund keeper smothers it.
3' Dortmund, in all yellow tonight, are on top during these early exchanges. Both sides trying to enjoy some possession and establish a rhythm.
1' KICK OFF! We're underway in Mönchengladbach. The game goes ahead despite fears over the spread of the coronavirus in the Rheinland region of Germany.
18:25 The players are emerging from the tunnel and we're approaching kick off in Mönchengladbach.
18:20 But will they miss Sancho tonight? The Englishman has had a hand in a goal in each of his last seven Bundesliga games. He’s been directly involved in 20 goals across his last 13 matches (11 goals, 9 assists) – a league high by far.
18:15 Borussia Dortmund are in fine form going into thsi one. The Black and Yellows have taken 18 from a possible 21 points since the winter break (they lost 4-3 in Leverkusen on Matchday 21) – only Bayern have picked up more points (19).
18:10 The good news is that we should be in for some goals. None of the last 48 competitive meetings between Gladbach and Dortmund have ended goalless. The last time this fixture ended 0-0 was in April 1994 in the Bundesliga in Mönchengladbach.
18:05 Borussia Dortmund have won the last nine Bundesliga meetings with Gladbach.
18:00 A few stats the whet the appetite...
17:45 Lucien Favre has confirmed that Sancho has not been "one hundred percent" this week and that he has been benched as a precaution.
17:40 The big team news for Dortmund is that Jadon Sancho is on the bench. Lucien Favre must have PSG in mind, but that's a strange one for what is a make or break game for Dortmund's title hopes.
17:35 Here's how the hosts line up tonight. Striker Marcus Thuram, who has been struggling with a knee injury, is only on the bench for the hosts.
17:30 CET Hello and welcome to the big Bundesliga game of the weekend! It's the battle of the Borussias and the team news is in...
Hello and welcome one and all! DW's live blog for Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Borussia Mönchengladbach will go LIVE at 16:30 CET (15:30 GMT/10:30 ET), join us then! For now please enjoy these hand picked pre-match tidbits that you can impress your friends with before the game.
Reus to miss the EUROs?:
"I don't know when he'll back" - the words of head coach Lucien Favre that Dortmund fans didn't want to hear in regards to captain Marco Reus. According to reports in Germany there are genuine fears that his place in Joachim Löw's EURO 2020 squad could also be at risk, if he's not able to make his anticipated comeback after the next international break (23rd - 31st March). One things for sure he won't be facing his former side on Saturday.
Fun fact: Goals guaranteed!
None of the last 48 competitive meetings between Gladbach and Dortmund have ended goalless. The last time this fixture ended 0-0 was in April 1994 in the Bundesliga in Mönchengladbach.
Pre-match spotlight: Jadon Sancho
Dortmund’s midfield whizzkid has been in jaw-dropping form since a spate of off-the-pitch incidents brought his professionalism and discipline into question. The Englishman has had a hand in a goal in each of his last seven Bundesliga games, furthermore he's been directly involved in 20 goals across his last 13 matches (11 goals, 9 assists) – a league high by far. Ridiculous numbers!
From the coaches' mouth: Marco Rose
"Dortmund strengthened well in January and are on the right path. We're up against a side in good form, but we're not afraid of them. We're playing well and we're at home too. It will no doubt be an exciting game. We'll go into it full of energy and anticipation."
Fun fact: Dominant Dortmund
Dortmund have won their last nine Bundesliga games against Gladbach – neither side had previously enjoyed a winning streak this long in the history of this fixture. This is also BVB’s longest winning run against a current BL side.
From the coaches' mouth: Lucien Favre
"We’ve won against Gladbach twice this season. They were both close games, in the DFB Cup they took the lead. In the league it was similar. But we know they’re a very good team. They change their system regularly, and do it very well."
Pre-match spotlight: Lars Stindl
Gladbach's captain fantastic was back to his very best in the 3-2 win over Augsburg and produced some of the silkiest touches we've seen in Germany's top flight this season. Against Augsburg he had a hand in three goals in a single Bundesliga game for the first time in Augsburg (2 goals, 1 assist). He has now scored two more goals in his 14 games in 2019/20 (5) than across his 21 appearances last season (3).
Possible line-up: Gladbach
Sommer - Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini - Neuhaus, Zakaria - Hofmann, Stindl, Plea - Thuram
Possible line-up: Dortmund
Bürki - Piszczek, Hummels, Zagadou - Hakimi, Can, Witsel, Guerreiro - Sancho, Brandt - Haaland