Tonight the Bundesliga brings us an important match-up between two sides that are on the charge for a Champions League place. Ashley Adamson-Edwards takes you through the action as it happened as Bayer Leverkusen face Borussia Monchengladbach.
For the home side, Bayer Leverkusen regular Lukas Hradecky starts in goal with Sven Bender and Edmond Tapsoba acting as his main protection. Despite Lars Bender looking a doubt to make an appearance today, the German full-back makes a start alongside his twin brother.
Up the other end, Lucas Alario will hopefully be able to continue his fine form with six goals in his last six Bundesliga games so far. With the frontman being flanked by Moussa Diaby and Leon Baily, it’s fair to assume that the goals will be flying in today.
Marco Rose brings a strong back four to the BayArena as he looks to guard his goal with Ramy Bensabini, Nico Elverdi, Matthias Ginter and Stefan Lainer.
Whereas, Lars Stindl will occupy the number 10 spot as he hopes to be the key man in unlocking the Leverkusen defence. Just in front of him though, is surprisingly Breel Embolo instead of recent Europa League hattrick scorer Alassane Plea.
0′ And were off, Gladbach get us started here at the BayArena in their exuberant lime green strip.
2′ Leon Bailey misses a good chance to start the game after firing a low driven shot just past the near post.
With Florian Wirtz playing through the Jamaican winger, the pair will look to link up throughout the next 90 minutes.
5′ Nico Elvedi had to work hard to track Baily’s run through the Gladbach box, luckily for the Foals, the chance was dealt with.
An exciting start for the winger which will certainly make Peter Bosz hopeful for a result today.
8′ A collision in the Leverkusen box resulted in Marcus Thuram and Sven Bender going down. Fortunately for both sides, their fundamental players are okay for now.
Thuram has been the star of the show for Gladbach throughout this campaign. If an early injury forces the Frenchman out of the game, Marco Rose will have to seriously re-think his game plan.
13′ Alario isn’t able to capitalize on a Baily’s lay-off as his shot is blocked by the sea of Gladbach shirts.
After a dazzling run from Baily, Leverkusen were given their greatest chance of the game so far. After 13 minutes, the winger has already asserted himself as a key threat for the the Eternal Bridesmaids.
18′ PENALTY – Borussia Mochengladbach
Hradecky throws Leverkusen’s clean sheet prospect out of the window by clipping Breel Embolo as the striker skips past him.
18′ GOAL – Borussia MochengaldbachEmbed from Getty Images
Lars Stindl is able to open the game with a calm shot down the middle of the goal to send Hradecky out of the picture. The Finnish international will surely be disappointed with this one.
20′ Leverkusen are disallowed a goal after Nadiem Amiri produces a long-range effort.
The goal was ruled out for offside after Edmond Tapsoba was deemed to be interfering with play. However, questions will be asked of the officiating team as Tapsoba fails to actually make contact with the ball or block Yan Sommer’s line of vision. A horrible moment for the hosts as their equalizer is chalked off.
25′ Tapsoba’s headed effort is acrobatically cleared by Stefan Lainer to keep Gladbach in a leading position.
27′ GOAL – Bayer Leverkusen
Alario bends a superb shot into the top-right corner to score his seventh Bundesliga goal in his seventh Bundesliga match this season!
The Argentian once again shows just how important he has become for this Leverkuen side whilst covering for the injured Patrick Schick. However, at this stage it looks like the recent signing from Roma will have to put up a big fight to come straight into the starting 11 over Alario.
30′ GOAL – Borussia MonchngladbachEmbed from Getty Images
Stindl grabs his second of the game as the captain slides a shot under Hradecky.
After a long winded VAR check, Rose’s side are put back into the lead once more for what has been such an exciting clash so far.
Once realising that it was actually Wirtz that accidentally played through Stindl, the goal was given by VAR to add to the goal count for this evening.
35′ Stindl is almost able to seal what would be a fabulous hat-trick after following up a long-ranged rebounded shot from Embolo. Unfortunately for the skipper, the crossbar denies his chance.
39′ Tapsoba shows fine composure at the back for Leverkusen as he barges back possession for his side. The young Frenchman will look to carry on impressing the world of football this season whilst potentially gaining a move away from the Bundesliga.
40′ Thuram drags his effort wide after cutting inside from Lars Bender. Despite Arsene Wenger’s recent comparison to Thierry Henry, the inform striker hasn’t quite replicated France’s all time top scorer this time.
41′ GOAL – Bayer Leverkusen
Wirtz’ excellent ball into the Gladbach six-yard box allows Alario to header home for the second time of the game already. Despite Sommer’s determination to reach the cross, Alario’s aerial ability comes out on top to level the game once more.
43′ Hradecky makes himself big to deny Thuram a close-range goal. For the first time of the game, Bosz will be happy with his keeper’s efforts to ensure his side doesn’t go behind again.
49′ Ramy Bensebaini is given a yellow card for his miss-behaviour.
Both sides look to calm the game down before going into the dressing rooms as Leverkusen’s defensive line play the ball around. For once, the dramatic intensity of the Bundesliga has quietened down.
49′ Half time is called here in BayArena to end what has been a thrilling spectacle so far.
Both teams are level at the break thanks to Lucas Alario and Lars Stindl both coming up with braces.
It’s certain that a lot will be said at half time by both managers as they try and keep up the high pressure. Somehow, they will need to sustain the fine attacking football being played but at the same time, find a solution to their defensive problems.
46′ Bayer Leverkusen get us underway here to continue what has already been such an exciting clash.
46′ Substitution for Borussia Monchengladbach.
46′ Embolo’s studs are just a little too high for the referee as he earns a yellow card.
50′ Bailey’s left-footed cross is inches too high for Alario to win the race for the hattrick and connect for a header.
52′ Leon Bailey’s curling effort on the edge of the spot is deflected out for a corner.
After the shot bounced off Elvedi’s leg, Bailey shows once again just how much of a danger he has been tonight. In the face of recently making the transition from left to right-wing to accommodate for Moussa Diaby’s rise, Bailey simply can’t be stopped as he tears down Bundesliga defences.Embed from Getty Images
56′ Bayer Leverkusen record 65% of the possession to emphasise what has been impressive on the ball showing tonight.
Off the ball though, is another story as the likes of Thuram and Stindl have cut apart their back line.
59′ Lainer has an awful go at the spectacular to try and catch Hradecky off his line. As the Finland keeper rushes back to safety, a strong chance is wasted for Rose’s side.
60′ Elvedi displays a composed effort at nullifying Bailey’s charge. If Gladbach are going to prevent the deadly attacking threat of Leverkusen, the likes of the Swiss centre-half will have to keep things up.
63′ Substitution for Borussia Monchengladbach
Embolo has made his managers job even harder this season after having an impressive game this evening. Hopefully for the former Schalke man, he’ll be able to get ahead of Plea more often.
66′ An outstanding save from Hradecky to deny Stindl a huge chance at putting his side ahead once again.
Since the game started Hradecky hasn’t had the best of showings, but, after such a well worked opportunity for Gladbach, he pulls off the save of the game to keep the hope of pushing into the top four alive.
68′ GOAL – Bayer LeverkusenEmbed from Getty Images
A well-worked passage of play from the host has ended in Bailey finally getting the recognition he deserves with a fine goal.
After a lovely weighted ball from Diaby, Bailey was able to swing around and squeeze the ball in-between Sommer’s legs. At such an awkward angle, the Jamaican may have put his side into the Bundesliga top four.
74′ Amiri’s effort outside the box is blazed over. Although wonderkid Wirtz gave his fellow German a tidy lay-off, the chance to finish the game off was wasted.
74′ Substitution for Borussia Monchengladbach
Leverkusen have managed to absolutely dominate this second half as Rose tries to force his side back into the game with his final substitution.
79′ Hradecky does well to sweep up the overhit pass into Plea. After such a terrible first-half performance, things have gone brilliantly during this second period for the 30-year-old.
81′ Substitution for Bayer Leverkusen
81′ Amiri shows great skill on the edge of Gladbach’s box to eventually have his volleyed effort deflected out for a corner.
82′ GOAL – Bayer LeverkusenEmbed from Getty Images
Julian Baumgartlinger latches onto Amiri’s dangerous ball across the face of Sommer’s goal to end Gladbach optimism for a come back.
Once the corner had been well defended by Gladbach, Leverkusen were able to Gengenpress the situation and give Amiri a glancing opportunity to create yet another opportunity for his team.
Such a brilliant second half from Amiri to round off one of the players of the night.
84′ Wirtz is given a yellow card for the first time of his career.
85′ Substitution for Bayer Leverkusen
86′ Diaby is shown a yellow card for time wasting at a Gladbach free-kick. Something that the young star will look to break out of his game as he progresses with age.
89′ Gladbach will give anything for a miracle here as four added minutes is announced. Without it, and the Foals might just have missed out on a Champions League spot come the end of the season.
93′ Bensabini attacks a cross from a Gladbach free-kick with great promise but can’t quite make the most of his chance. Gladbach continue to trail.
94′ GOAL – Borussia Monchengladbach
Valentino Lazaro scores a spectacular goal at the dying moments of the game.
Although Gladbach will most likely go home empty-handed this evening, Lazaro may just go home with the Puskas Award this year after scoring a scorpion-kick from Patrick Hermann’s ball in. An absolute stunner that the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Olivier Giroud would be proud of.
96′ Full time – and the referee blows for the end of the contest as Leverkusen fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief. An incredible match that produced some moments of the season.
Full time Bayer Leverkusen 4-3 Borussia Monchengladbach
At full-time, the home side are able to come away with a brilliant result against their Champions League rivals. After such end to end football, it was Baumgartlinger’s winner that sealed the action. Although its only the seventh game of the season, tonight’s result may be a defining one if Leverkusen want to prevail in the race for the top four.