Monchengladbach 1-3 Leverkusen: Havertz double sends visitors third
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It was a fantastic afternoon for Bayer Leverkusen who managed to overturn their Bundesliga top-four rivals, Borussia Monchengladbach, on their own soil.

A double from Kai Havertz and a late header from Sven Bender ensured that a fine finish from Marcus Thuram was to be nothing more than a consolation. 


The visitors started strongly and the home side just couldn't get going.

Early on, Kerem Demirbay weaved his way into the box but his angled shot was easily saved by Yann Sommer

The winger was a bundle of energy in the first half and his attacking intent inspired the opener. 

A quick forward pass played Karim Bellarabi in behind the Gladbach midfield. Bellarabi's incisive through ball released Havertz and the blossoming young talent coolly prodded the ball through Sommer's legs.  

An injury to Breel Embolo, shortly after, compounded the misery for Marco Rose

The visitors continued to have the better of the first-half. 

Havertz burst past the Gladbach defence and into the box but his cut-back was miss-controlled by Bellarabi.

Later, Bender smashed over after a nice headed tee-up by Charles Aranguiz. 

But their best opportunity for a second came just before the interval. 

Bellarabi returned as the provider, once again sliding the ball in behind for Havertz. This time, the 20-year-old was denied by the cross-bar but, incredibly, Demirbay couldn't turn home the rebound from six yards. Instead, Nico Elvedi launched himself in the way of the effort to incredibly save his team. 

There was very little excitement for those of a Gladbach persuasion.

Florian Neuhaus came closest for the hosts, forcing Lukas Hradecky into action with a long range effort. The keeper spilled Neuhaus' shot but reacted quickly to scoop the ball away from potential danger.

Hredacky could do nothing just after the break, however, when two of  Monchengladbach's main men decided to turn it on. 

Thurham chased after Alessane Plea's lofted pass before rifling the bouncing ball into the far corner. A goal for all of the cardboard cut-out supporters to appreciate! 

Thruham was enjoying a new lease of life after the interval and the opposition defenders were quaking in their boots. They couldn't live with his pace and power, requiring Hradecky to make a sprawling save as he easily turned Aleksandar Dragovic

Bellarabi was adjudged to have been fouled by Elvedi. The decision appeared harsh but referee, Soren Storks, was satisfied with his call after thorough VAR examination. Up stepped Havertz: 2-1 Leverkusen. 

Thurman remained a point-of-reference for the floated pass. Again, he brought down the chipped pass, this time back-heeling the ball towards Neuhaus. But Hradecky was brave to get down quickly and make the block. 

At the other end, the exciting Moussa Diaby almost added a third. The young Frenchman breezed past several Monchengladbach players but he couldn't beat Sommer at his near post. 

Demirbay whipped in an inviting free-kick and Bender worked hard to shrug off a challenge and divert in a late third goal. 

Seeking a quick response, substitute Oscar Wendt curled a brilliant ball into the box but an unmarked Plea sent his header agonisingly wide. 

Plea with nine goals, had another opportunity to enter double figures, sprinting in behind, but the Hradecky leaped to turn the striker's venemous strike around the post.

It was a fantastic result for Leverkusen but a frustrating one for the home team. Perhaps lacking the vocal support of their following, it took too long for Rose's men to get into gear.  

Hail Havertz

The 20-year-old has been the talk of the town and he didn't disappoint in this one. Operating as an auxiliary striker, Havertz had the Gladbach defenders on strings. He plays with an effervescence but, just as importantly, he has quality in abundance. 

His positional play today was nonchalant, almost Messi-esque, carefully strolling into pockets of space and creating panic. It's no surprise to see that many teams across Europe are showing an interest. 

Lovely Leverkusen

It wasn't simply a one-man show. Demirbay and Bellarabi were excellent. Full of life and confidence. Diaby, too, was excellent and showed maturity well beyond his years. He might be slight in stature but he is clearly very skillful and technically gifted. 

Not so Monchengladtobebach

It was a difficult day for Monchengladbach. They were non-existent in the first-half but improved in the second. There was plenty of life after the break but they just didn't get the rub of the green. 

Thuram showed his strengths. An absolute colossus! His link-up play with Plea was also evident. Operating at left-midfield, Thuram can shift inside and create an overload and be the extra man. It's very tough for defenders to pick him up. Not the flashiest player but far from being a big lump, this man can play and he could tear up the Premier League.

Return of the fans!

Borussia Park was home to a number of cardboard cut-outs as the German outfit wanted to fill the empty spaces. Monchengladbach fans donated more than 12,000 cut-outs in a bid to spice up their arena. All money was given to charities. 

The stunt actually worked rather well. Their presence did help create a level of non-verbal atmosphere. If you were watching the game on mute, there would have been moments that looked like the spectators were back. It was quite something! 

Above everything else, it's a bit of fun and the money is going to a good cause. It would be nice to see other German clubs follow a similar idea. 

Player Ratings

Borussia Monchengladbach: Sommer 6; Lainer 7, Ginter 6, Elvedi 6, Bensebaini 6; Neuhaus 6, Strobl 6; Hoffman 5, Embolo 5, Thuram 8; Plea 6. 

Bayer Leverkusen: Hradecky 7; Tapsoba 7, Bender 6, Dragovic 6; Wesier 6, Aranguiz 7, Demirbay 8, Sinkgraven 6; Bellarabi 8, Havertz 9, Diaby 7.

Where next?

Monchengladbach travel to Werder Bremen while Leverkusen host Wolfsburg. Bremen are languishing in the bottom three while Wolfsburg are in contention for a place in the UEFA Europa League

The next set of Bundesliga matches will be played out during weekday evenings and nights.