Borussia Dortmund’s top-four hopes took one final hit before the World Cup as they went down 4-2 to Borussia Monchengladbach in a goal-fest at Borussia Park.
Daniel Farke’s hosts put a disappointing defeat to relegation strugglers Bochum behind them as they produced a stunning performance to defeat a hugely vulnerable and defensively shaky Dortmund.
Goals from Jonas Hofmann, Ramy Bensebaini and Marcus Thuram sent the hosts 3-2 up at half-time after Julian Brandt had equalised for the visitors, and Nico Schlotterbeck slammed home from a corner to close out an enthralling first 45.
Manu Kone added a fourth merely 40 seconds after the interval, as Gladbach claimed a crucial three points that could kick-start their season.
Dortmund started the match on the front foot, stepping up and looking to suffocate the host in their own half.
However, with their first foray forwards, die Fohlen struck the first blow on four minutes; Jonas Hofmann converting after being slid through by a clever Lars Stindl pass.
Brandt equalised on 19 minutes with an exquisite finish: picked out by Jude Bellingham’s inswinger from deep, the Germany international ghosted behind the home defence, spinning with the ball and sweeping home beyond deputy goalkeeper Jan Olschowsky.
Bensebaini put Gladbach back in front with a towering header on 26 minutes as Hofmann turned provider from the corner, and they were two goals clear when Marcus Thuram raced away from the open Dortmund defence to round Gregor Kobel and calmly slot home for the third.
The Algerian’s sliding challenge brilliantly blocked a Giovanni Reyna follow-up after Olschowsky superbly parried a bullet Youssoufa Moukoko header, and he denied the 17-year-old once more at the near post with eight minutes of the half to go.
Olschowsky saved the hosts once more as he denied Donyell Malen from point-blank range after great play down the right from Reyna on the stroke of half-time.
Manu Kone made it four for Gladbach with the second half just 40 seconds old, as he drilled a low drive into the far corner; set up by Hofmann after neat interplay between Patrick Hermann and Thuram.
Thuram went close to doubling his tally as he dragged wide of the target after running clear of the Dortmund defence once more on 52 minutes, and within the next two minutes, the hosts should have added to their lead with chances for Stindl and Bensebaini with an improvised flick and a glancing header respectively.
Hofmann thought he had rubbed salt in Dortmund’s wounds after Thuram had robbed Mats Hummels to run clean through, but VAR ruled out the strike, alleging a foul.
Thuram sped through down the left side once more as he snuck beyond the makeshift right-back Thorgan Hazard on 77 minutes, but he sliced wide of the near post.
This is yet another humbling defeat for die Schwarzgelben and Edin Terzic.
They miss the chance to return to the Bundesliga’s top four, instead allowing their opponents to close the gap on them in the European places, breathing heavily down their necks as we break for the World Cup.
TALKING POINT – FREE FLOWING UP FRONT, WIDE OPEN AT THE BACK
Dortmund gunned for the hosts in the early exchanges of this one, but they were hit with four brutal counter-punches as Gladbach bore their teeth in a whirlwind affair.
Edin Terzic’s side looked dangerous in the opening minutes, splitting their centre-backs high on the halfway line and throwing Niklas Sule and Raphael Guerreiro extremely high to pin back the Gladbach wide men.
It backfired massively, however, as a single Gladbach through ball gave one of their pacey attackers a clean sight of goal, and plenty of space to exploit in behind.
A curious decision from Terzic considering Hummels’ lack of pace, and they were punished heavily for it.
Thuram was at his brilliant best as he demonstrated his blistering speed to give the veteran Dortmund centre-back nightmares in the left channel, while Stindl and Hofmann pulled the strings behind him, ably assisted by the workhorse duo of Kone and Julian Weigl, who quietly kept the game ticking as the deep-lying conductor.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – MANU KONE, BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH
A performance worthy of the biggest stage.
The Frenchman was everywhere in the engine room, covering every blade of grass as he hassled and harried, winning the ball back quickly and recycling at speed to give die Fohlenelf the best chance of the counter-attack.
He fully deserved his goal that proved to be the match-winner, as he demonstrated his ability going forwards and in possession with an arrowed finish that left Kobel with no chance.
A real shining star who is only just getting started in the Bundesliga
BMG: Olschowsky 7, Scally 6, Friedrich 6, Elvedi 7, Bensebaini 8, Weigl 6, Kone 8, Hofmann 8, Kramer 6, Stindl 6, Thuram 8. Subs: Hermann 6, Itakura 6, Ngoumou 6, Netz 6.
BVB: Kobel 6, Sule 6, Hummels 4, Schlotterbeck 6, Guerreiro 6, Bellingham 6, Can 5, Reyna 5, Brandt 6, Malen 5, Moukoko 6. Subs: Hazard 6, Ozcan 5, Modeste 6, Adeyemi 6, Papadopoulos 6.
4′: GOAL! What a start, with their first attack! Gladbach are ahead inside four minutes, as Jonas Hofmann converts! Against his former club, Hofmann is slid through by Lars Stindl, and Hofmann runs onto it and finishes with aplomb! 1-0.
19′: GOAL! Sensational equaliser from Dortmund, as Julian Brandt lashes home! Bellingham’s beautiful inswinging ball from deep, Brandt ghosts in behind the centre-backs, spins on a sixpence, and sweeps home past Olschowsky. 1-1.
26′: GOAL! They’re ahead again, and it’s Ramy Bensebaini again! What a header from the Algerian, who towers above Bellingham after a delicious Hofmann delivery. 2-1!
30′: GOAL! It’s three, it’s Marcus Thuram! What a start to this game, as Gladbach counter at pace. Thuram picks the ball up on halfway and drives into the open space left by the visiting defence, bearing down on Kobel, rounding him, and ‘Tikus’ slots into an empty net!
40′: GOAL! However, the resulting corner leads to a second for the visitors! Sule wins the first header, and it’s clawed away by Olschowsky, but it falls kindly for Schlotterbeck, who slams home!
46′: GOAL! What a start to the second! Barely 40 seconds after the interval, and Manu Kone sends a low drive from the edge of the area into the far corner! It was great play between Hermann and Thuram to fashion out the chance, before Hofmann feeds the Frenchman to fire home.
68′: GOAL! It’s a disaster for Dortmund, as Hofmann makes it five! Mats Hummels makes the mistake, with Thuram robbing him and running clean through on goal. He bears down on goal, sliding in the supporting Hofmann to make it five. // NO GOAL! VAR alleges Thuram to have fouled Hummels!