Gladbach came into this game knowing that a win against their Swiss opponents could potentially send them top depending on how the other game in the group, Villarreal - Apollon, finished. In match day 1 they drew 1-1 at home to Villarreal which was a decent result considering that Villarreal are probably favourites for the group. Lucien Favre’s side have also been faring well on the domestic front, winning their last two games against Hamburg and Paderborn leaving them 2nd in the table behind only Champions Bayern Munich.
FC Zurich also sit 2nd in their league but they are 4 games further into their season than their German opponents. In match day 1 they lost 3-2 away to Greek side Apollon and at the weekend lost 2-1 in the Swiss Super League to Young Boys.
Gladbach fans deserve a mention before we get into the occurences of the game, they turned up in their thousands and their pre-match choreography was something to behold and they set a proud example for German football. Both sides threatened in the early stages with Gladbach winning a corner in the 4th minute that was cleared after a goalmouth scramble. Amine Chermiti of Zurich then had a half chance for the home side but could only send his effort straight into the arms of Gladbach’s Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer. Max Kruse then missed a great chance for Gladbach after he was set up by Thorgan Hazard. The young Belgian was put through but was unable to control the ball but still managed to push it sideways for Kruse who only had to hit the target as the goalkeeper had come out of his net but he put it wide. Chermiti continued to threaten, in the 16th minute he was put through by Davide Chiumiento and had a shot that was parried by Sommer straight back to the Tunisian striker but he once again directed his shot straight at the keeper.
The home side then took the lead in the 23rd minute when Marco Schönbächler made a lovely jinking run as he cut inside past both Andre Hahn and Julian Korb before shooting. However his shot deflected off Gladbach Captain Martin Stranzl but then subsequently fell to Franck Etoundi who easily tapped the ball home from a yard out. The Foals responded almost immediately when Zurich defender Gilles Yapi-Yapo tried to play it clever on the edge of his own box but instead gave it to Kruse who ran out wide before pulling the ball back Håvard Nordtveit who unleashed a sumptuous effort leaving keeper David da Costa with no chance. Both sides appeared to happy to settle for the point until half-time with the only notable chance for the rest of the half falling to Branimir Hrgota who forced a good save from da Costa but was then ruled offside.
Once again at the start of the 2nd half Gladbach came out fighting with a couple of early chances, including a Kruse shot that was blocked by Ivan Kecojević but then the ball appeared to strike the Montenegrin defender’s hand but the penalty was not given. Favre will be frustrated with his side’s inability to convert chances tonight as they had 10 shots on goal but could only convert 1. Hahn then had a chance in the 49th minute when he did well to lift the ball over a defender before holding off several more but he was unfortunate in that he couldn’t completely bring the ball under control and as a result his shot was very tame. Zurich rarely threatened in the 2nd Half but on one occasion Etoundi did manage to worm his way into the box past several defenders but Stranzl was able to cover and he got the ball away with a slide tackle.
Gladbach’s next significant opportunity came in the 60th minute when Thorgan Hazard twice hit the wall from a costless-kick, his second effort squirmed out wide to Granit Xhaka but the holding midfielder could only hit it straight at the keeper, a common feature of Gladbach’s attempts this evening. The Swiss side defended well and as a result the away side’s next chance didn’t come until the 80th minute when a deep Kruse cross found Hrgota unmarked at the back post and he headed down into the ground but his header was cleared at the last second by Alain Nef. In the dying stages of the match the Foals had even more opportunities, firstly a Stranzl header across the goal that was well saved by da Costa after another Gladbach player touched it on. Then substitute Ibrahima Traore took a costless-kick that was headed just wide by Xhaka.