Steffen Baumgart made two changes to the team which started the game against Mainz last weekend. Marvin Schwäbe and Ellyes Skhiri came into the team in place of Timo Horn and Mark Uth.
Adi Hütter opted for just the one alteration following Gladbach’s convincing win against Greuther Fürth. Florian Neuhaus dropped to the bench in place of Nico Elvedi, as Denis Zakaria moved inti midfield.
The game began with few chances on either side, it was Ondrej Duda who had the first opening of the match but his acrobatic effort was wide of the mark. At the other end, Marvin Schwäbe made his first save after Denis Zakaria played in Jonas Hofmann on the left-hand side. Anthony Modeste’s turn and shot was gathered easily by Yann Sommer as the game started to show signs of life.
Modeste was denied brilliantly by Sommer not long after, as the Frenchman flicked Jonas Hector’s towards goal at point-blank range. Gladbach responded as Zakaria smacked the post from 25 yards and Patrick Herrmann brought a strong save from the alert Schwäbe. Despite the efforts of both sides, the two teams went into the break level-pegging.
With no changes at the break, the game continued in a similar flow to that of before the restart. However, 10 minutes in the second-half, FC managed to finally make a deserved breakthrough. Benno Schmitz managed to lay the ball back to Dejan Ljubicic after Ondrej Duda’s effort was blocked, and the Austrian thumped home from 14 yards to send the Südkurve wild.
The goal did, however, seem to wake up Gladbach. Alessane Plea struck the post with a thunderous, curling effort and Jonas Hofmann fired wide after a clever counter. FC weren’t without chances of their own, as Anthony Modeste slammed into the side-netting. The visitors’ pressure eventually told and it was Hofmann who found a way through, beating Marvin Schwäbe from 10 yards.
The game was on a knife’s edge. But only for two minutes. A mistake from Florian Neuhaus allowed Mark Uth to pounce and he drilled a precise low drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. A minute later, Nico Elvedi’s clearance landed at Ondrej Duda’s feet and he powered under Yann Sommer. The FC supporters hadn’t finished celebrating Uth’s goal as Duda found another.
FC had further chances to extend the lead late on but that had to wait until the 94th minute. A cross from Louis Schaub was masterfully headed home by Sebastian Andersson, catching the crossbar in the most satisfying fashion to bounce over the line.
1. FC Köln (4-2-3-1): Schwäbe – Schmitz, Kilian, Czichos, Hector (Schindler 51’) – Skhiri, Özcan – Ljubicic (Thielmann 82’), Duda (Schaub 83’), Kainz (Uth 70’) – Modeste (Andersson 70’).
Borussia Mönchengladbach (3-4-2-1): Sommer – Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini – Herrmann (Lainer 81‘), Koné (Neuhaus 66’), Zakaria, Scally (Netz 81’) – Hofmann, Stindl (Thuram 66’) – Plea.
Goals: 1:0, Ljubicic 55’. 1:1, Hofmann 74’. 2:1, Uth 77’. 3:1, Duda 78‘. 4:1, Andersson 90+4’.
Referee: Robert Schröder (Hannover).
Booked: Duda (60‘), Sommer (60‘), Zakaria (64’).
Attendance: 50,000 (sold-out).