Borussia Mönchengladbach are back amongst Europe’s elite, and they did it with a performance of utter domination against BSC Young Boys.
Frontmen Raffael and Thorgan Hazard both scored hat-tricks, as Gladbach ran out 6-1 winners on the night, and 9-2 on aggregate, with their Swiss opposition offering little in resistance, despite a spectacular consolation goal from Yoric Ravet.
It means that André Schubert has led his men back into the UEFA Champions League group stage for the second season in succession, with results elsewhere ensuring they go into the third pot.
Herrman and Johnson given starts
Gladback went into the game on the back of the 3-1 victory in the first leg eight days earlier. Goals from Raffael and André Hahn, and what was later credited as an Alain Rochat own goal, gave them the advantage. Miralem Sulejmani had got an equaliser for Young Boys, who were left needing three goals here to have any chance of progressing.
Gladbach made just two changes from the side that started that game, with Patrick Herrmann and Fabian Johnson replacing Ibrahima Traoré and Oscar Wendt. Of the much-changed side that beat SV Drochtersen/Assel in the DFB-Pokal at the weekend though, only Tony Jantschke, Christoph Kramer and Hermann survived.
Young Boys were without striker Guillaume Hoarau, who was forced off early on in their 7-2 thrashing of Lausanne-Sport in the Swiss Super League on Saturday. There was also a change of formation, perhaps to counter Gladbach’s 3-2-3-2.
Former Hertha BSC defender, and Young Boys captain, Steven von Bergen came in as the extra defender. Gregory Wüthrich, Denis Zakaria and Michael Frey all came in too from the first leg, although all three started at the weekend.
Cruise control for Gladbach
Any concerns that Young Boys could overturn the deficit were quickly put to bed, even if Raffael had the time to hit the post with a shot he could have done better with.
The Brazilian did though provide the assist for a beautiful Hazard goal. He passed on Herrmann’s cross through a gap between two defenders, and the Belgian twisted and turned his way past Yvon Mvogo to give himself an easy finish.
The minutes after the goal ticked away with Gladbach coasting through. The only real attempt on goal in this phase came to Johnson from a long ball from Raffael, but he was denied by a good save from Mvogo.
Eventually Gladbach did take the tie firmly beyond the Swiss side. Jan Lecjaks attempted to clear a dodgy back pass from Zakaria but instead it fell into the path of Raffael who punished them for lacklustre defending with a thumping shot.
A third came five minutes before the break. Hazard got the ball in plenty of space, setting up Lars Stindl to his right, but he decided to go to his left to Raffael, who did the rest.
Fouls fail to relent the pressure
It was a procession in the second half. Adi Hütter accepted that the change of shape did not work for Young Boys, and made two half changes, including hauling off Von Bergen, who had a stinker of a night.
It made no difference. A chance came for Stindl, whose poor shot was an easy save for Mvogo, who was then required to make an excellent double save. Hazard perhaps could have done better from Herrmann’s cross, but a good strike from Raffael pulled out a superb last ditch save from the young Swiss keeper.
The fourth goal came with just over an hour played with some more beautiful football from the Foals. Hazard was the scorer with his second, tapping in Raffael’s pass from the left after a backheel from Mahmoud Dahoud.
Hat-tricks for the main men
Both Raffael and Hazard were now on a hat-trick, with the former being the man to get there first. The two in fact did combine though. Hazard was played through by Dahoud, and whilst he could have scored himself, he dinked the ball to his right for Raffael to finish.
Young Boys were rarely getting forward, and Yann Sommer was barely required all night. Yet he still didn’t get a clean sheet. A Ravet free kick his the wall, and he then thumped the ball back towards goal in frustration, and it turned out to be a stunner to beat the Gladbach keeper.
It was a mere consolation, and it got even more so when Hazard made it six for the night and nine on aggregate for the home side. A cross from Julian Korb, with Stindl stepping over it, landed in his path, to allow him to complete the first hat-trick of his career.
An all too easy victory for Gladbach, who will have tougher tests to come in the group stage. This result though will make many in Europe take heed of what they are capable of.