Koln 1-3 Borussia Monchengladbach: Gladbach gain rivalry bragging rights
A comfortable afternoon in Koln for their Rhein neighbours. Photo by Frederic Schneidemann via Gettyimages

A first win of the season never seemed in doubt for Borussia Monchengladbach after Alassane Plea gave the visitors the lead in the 12th minute, and the Foals were able to defeat rivals Koln, who have now picked up three defeats on the spin and are already looking down the relegation barrel.

Lineups

Koln - Timo Horn; Kingsley Ehizibue (YC,31',Sub,66'), Frederik Sorensen (YC,90'), Sebastian Bornauw, Rafael Czichos (Sub,46'), Jannes Horn; Dominic Drexler (Sub,77'), Ellyes Skhiri (Sub,86'), Elvis Rexhbecaj (G,84',YC,35'), Ondrej Duda (Sub,77'); Sebastian Andersson

Subs - Marius Wolf (46'), Dimitrios Limnios (66'), Jan Thielmann (77'), Tolu Arokodare (77'), Marco Hoger (86')

Borussia Monchengladbach - Yann Sommer; Stefan Lainer (G,15',YC,90'), Matthias Ginter, Nico Elvedi, Ramy Bensebaini (YC,31'); Christoph Kramer, Florian Neuhaus; Jonas Hofmann (Sub,87'), Lars Stindl (G,56',Sub,77'), Marcus Thuram (Sub,69'); Alassane Plea (G,12',Sub,87')

Subs - Patrick Herrman (69',YC,82'), Hannes Wolf (77'), Breel Embolo (87'), Ibrahima Traore (87')

Story of the match

Four minutes in and the first goalscoring opportunity had already arisen for the away side. Jonas Hofmann went through on goal only to be denied by Timo Horn, who then turned away left back Ramy Bensebaini on the rebound. 

Two minutes later Koln were on the ropes again. Horn stayed involved, this time denying Marcus Thuram, while Sebastian Bornauw then exceptionally cleared the ball off the line after a Lars Stindl effort.

After a period of dominance, Gladbach took the lead in the 13th minute. A wonderfully flighted ball over the top by Matthias Ginter found Hofmann, who then laid a pass off for Alassane Plea to drill past Horn.

Horn stopped the visitors once again moments later following another shot from Bensebaini. However, from the resulting corner, his fullback partner Stefan Lainer headed in from the near post. Despite his heroics, Timo Horn will have been disappointed by his part in the goal.

From kick-off Koln almost pulled a goal back, and probably should have. A mistake by the usually reliable Yann Sommer allowed summer signing Sebastian Andersson to have a clear shot at goal, but he was only able to hit the post.

It was an extremely dominant opening half for the away side, as Koln struggled to create anything down their end with the only opportunity for them coming from a Monchengladbach mistake.

At halftime, Markus Gisdol opted to bring on new signing Marius Wolf who replaced Rafael Czichos, meaning they switched from a five at the back system to a back four.

This did not seem to make a significant difference initially as Gladbach almost made it three within 30 seconds of the restart. Hofmann shot straight at Horn this time though.

Ten minutes after the restart Monchengladbach would have their third. A foul by Kingsley Ehizibue on Thuram in the penalty area led to the referee pointing to the spot, and captain Lars Stindl gleefully stepped up and rolled it past the helpless Horn.

Koln pulled back a late consolation goal with five minutes to go after a wonderful strike Kosovo international Elvis Rexhbecaj that Yann Sommer got a fingertip to but couldn't keep out.

Overall, it was an exceptional performance from Gladbach, who picked up three very deserved points.

Takeaways

Koln - The hosts look in trouble going forward unless there is a serious reshuffle. Although they are missing key players such as Florian Kainz and Anthony Modeste, Markus Gisdol's outfit looked bereft of ideas for major spells in the game, with their only goal coming from a wonder strike from distance.

Sebastian Andersson disappeared in the second half after a decent enough showing early on, which was dissapointing. Things are going to have change at the RheinEnergieStadion or Koln will be right back in the thick of a relegation battle this season.

Borussia Monchengladbach - For large parts of the game, Gladbach looked like they were back to their best. Alassane Plea and Jonas Hofmann were exceptional going forward while Matthias Ginter and Nico Elvedi were solid at the back.

Marco Rose will be pleased to get the first win of the season, especially against the clubs fiercest rivals. With players and their rhythm coming back, the rest of the top four in the Bundesliga should be wary of what is to come from Gladbach.

Man of the match - Matthias Ginter

Between him and Jonas Hofmann, their performances today made it clear why they have both made the most recent Germany squad. 

Ginter was integral in Gladbach's opening goal with a delicious ball over the top for Hofmann. Although he will be disappointed that they were not able to keep a clean sheet, his overall performance was exceptional, keeping Sebastian Andersson extremely quiet all afternoon.

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