Despite a second-half push by Borussia Mönchengladbach to overcome Kyiv in their Champions League play-off, Lucien Favre's side fell a goal short and will now try their luck in the group stage of the Europa League.
The chips were stacked against Gladbach coming in: last week, Kyiv won the first leg in Mönchengladbach 3-1. When the first half in Tuesday nights second leg ended scoreless, Kyiv seemed certain to advance to the group stage without much trouble.
But it was Kyiv defender Yevhen Khacheridi who gave Gladbach a glimmer of hope. In the 70th minute, Khacheridi headed a cross from Juan Arango into his own goal. Arango himself took care of Gladbach's next goal eight minutes later, meaning Gladbach only needed one more to win on aggregate.
Even when Ideye Brown cut Gladbach's lead in half in the 87th minute, Gladbach could have still scored one more to at least force extra time. While the momentum was clearly theirs in the second half, and Kyiv looked a bit panicked at times, there wasn't enough time left on the clock for Favre's team to pull off the comeback win.
"The 3-0 wasn't far off," said Favre after the match. "We played very patiently, but after the 2-0 we were too rushed. Overall, we didn't play too poorly."
Mönchengladbach will now drop into the group stage of the Europa League.
The ten winners of the playoffs - Kyiv, Anderlecht, Dinamo Zagreb, Sporting Braga, Malaga, Spartak Moscow, CFR Cluj, Celtic, BATE Borisov, and Lille - join the 22 other automatic entrants in the group stage of the Champions League. The groups will be drawn on Thursday.
mz/mr (Reuters, AFP, dpa)