Saturday, May 16, 2009

Borussia Mönchengladbach nears great escape despite loss

Borussia's "Nur der VFL" idea fell apart as Leverkusen dealt them their worst defeat of the Rückrunde, losing 5-0. The defeat aside, Borussia was fortunate that Dortmund defeated Bielefeld 6-0, resulting in actually improving the goal differential heading into the final weekend of the Bundesliga season.

The only absence to Hans Meyer's lineup was the loss of Paul Stalteri and for the first thirty minutes Borussia was showing the attacking initiative along with good defending patience. However Borussia's thin squad showed fatigue in its third match in six days and began to be picked apart by Leverkusen with its attacking runs on the flank. The first goal came at the thirty-first minute and typified Leverkusen's successful run as Stefan Kießling charged into the box and with sufficient space picked out the far bottom corner. the area and without a challenge from Roel Brouwers we sent the ball in off the far post. Using the same template Leverkusen added their second a minute prior to the break as Gonzalo Castro sent a low cross from the right flank into six-yard box that Patrick Helmes re-directed in. Looking to get back into the match, Hans Meyer brought in Sebastian Schachten and Marco Marin at the break but Leverkusen continued on, first with Gonzalo Castro hitting from the right side eight minutes after the restart with Michal Kadlec and own-goal by Dante to round out the scoring.

It is a difficult test to find something positive of the match but the size of the Dortmund victory was an huge gift. Borussia now heads into the final weekend three points above Arminia Bielefeld and Energie Cottbus but with a significant lead in goal differential. With the final week ahead Borussia faces one of the hottest teams in Bundesliga, Dortmund, in need of a point to guarantee the great escape.