Marco Rose opted for seven alterations from Gladbach’s Pokal victory away in Stuttgart. Yann Sommer, Tony Jantschke, Oscar Wendt, Denis Zakaria, Patrick Herrmann, Hannes Wolf and Breel Embolo replaced Tobias Sippel, Nico Elvedi, Ramy Bensebaini, Christoph Kramer, Marcus Thura, Jonas Hofmann and Alassane Plea.
Markus Gisdol made three changes to the line-up that started the cup game against Regensburg. Kingsley Ehizibue, Sava-Arangel Cestic and Salih Özcan came into the line-up in place of Marius Wolf, Jannes Horn and Noah Katterbach.
FC got off to the dream start in Gladbach. Kingsley Ehizibue and Salih Özcan combined to find Ondrej Duda, who played the perfect pass behind Zakaria for Elvis Rexhbecaj. He marched through on goal before picking out the bottom corner in with aplomb. A cool, calm and controlled finish to open up such an important game.
Gladbach were finding it tough to get past Ellyes Skhiri, who was again covering plenty of ground in the middle. However, the hosts would get level in the 16th minute. The ball found a way to Florian Neuhaus, and his shot deflected off both Salih Özcan and Jorge Meré to leave Timo Horn helpless in goal.
After such a frantic start, there was little in the way of chances for the remainder of the half. It was largely a match played between the two boxes, with goalmouth action scarce. Ismail Jakobs was looking dangerous down the left hand side, with his crosses causing problems. Ondrej Duda did his best to keep things ticking over in midfield as the teams went in level at the break.
The second-half began as the sleet started to fall, which slowly but surely progressed into a snowstorm. Denis Zakaria had to be replaced early on through injury as Lars Stindl fired off target from range. Jorge Meré made a vital block to deny Breel Embolo, with Gladbach making more of the opening stages in the second period.
That would change not long after, though. The resulting corner eventually ended up with Timo Horn, who sent the ball long towards Ismail Jakobs. Christoph Kramer and Stefan Lainer looked to have tidied things up, only for Elvis Rexhbecaj to steam in and collect the latter’s loose pass. He kept his nerve to slot through the legs of the oncoming Yann Sommer to wheel away in celebration.
Ondrej Duda had the chance to add a third after Salih Özcan’s clever through ball, yet Sommer made a fine save to his right to keep out the Slovakian. Lars Stindl had Gladbach’s best opening in the second-half, only to fire Stefan Lainer’s cross over from 14 yards. Some superb defending meant that FC could celebrate on derby day for the first time since January 2018. Markus Gisdol’s side are next in action on Sunday against Eintracht Frankfurt at 15:30 CET.
Borussia Mönchengladbach (4-2-3-1): Sommer – Lainer, Ginter, Jantschke, Wendt (Bensebaini 72‘) – Zakaria (Kramer 48‘), Neuhaus – Herrmann (Hofmann 58‘), Stindl, Wolf (Thuram 58‘) – Embolo (Plea 58‘).
1. FC Köln (3-5-2): T. Horn – Cestic, Meré, Czichos – Ehizibue (Schmitz 82‘), Özcan, Skhiri, Rexhbecaj, Jakobs (J. Horn 90+3‘) – Duda (Arokodare 90+3‘), Dennis (Thielmann 58’).
Goals: 0:1, Rexhbecaj 3’. 1:1, Neuhaus 16’. 1:2, Rexhbecaj 54’.
Referee: Christian Dingert (Lebecksmühle).
Bookings: Stindl (2’), Herrmann (28’), Jantschke (75’), Ehizibue (80’), Rexhbecaj (86’), Neuhaus (90+5’).
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