Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 VfB Stuttgart: Johnson and Stindl seal last 16 berth

After surviving a scare, the Foals were comfortable winners.

Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 VfB Stuttgart: Johnson and Stindl seal last 16 berth
Image credit: Maja Hitjj/Bongarts/Getty Images
Borussia M'gladbach
2 0
VfB Stuttgart
Borussia M'gladbach: (3-4-1-2) Sommer; Jantschke, Vestergaard, Elvedi; Herrmann, Strobl (Wendt 70'), Kramer (Korb 68'), Johnson; Dahoud; Stindl (Sow 888'), Hahn.
VfB Stuttgart: (4-2-3-1) Langerak; Klein, Sunjic, Baumgartl, Insua; Gentner, Zimmermann; Tashchy (Sarpei 80'), Özcan (Maxim 72'), Asano (Grosskreutz 68'); Mané.
SCORE: 1-0, Johnson 31'. 2-0, Stindl 84'.
REFEREE: Günter Perl (Pullach). Booked: Insua (39'), Stindl (62').

Fabian Johnson and Lars Stindl struck to secure the safe passage of Borussia Mönchengladbach into the DFB-Pokal last 16, as they beat VfB Stuttgart 2-0.

Johnson stops Stuttgart surge

Given Stuttgart's turnaround since Hannes Wolf took charge, aside from the blip in Dresden, the game was as tight and as tense as expected. Injuries to Thorgan Hazard, Raffael and Ibrahima Traoré had hindered the Foals' attacking options and the visitors were largely comfortable and confident in the first 20 minutes.

In fact it was Stuttgart who were the more menacing side in terms of attacking and Takuma Asano had a flurry chances in quick succession to open the scoring. The Japanese first failed to get his shot away in time before it was blocked by Jannik Vestergaard, and the same exact series of events happened two more times to deny him.

Just as the Swabians looked certain to be going ahead with their constant pressure, they fell behind. that man Asano was robbed off the ball by Tony Jantschke. André Schubert's men moved the ball quickly and André Hahn's excellent back-heel put Johnson through on goal and he made no mistake when faced with Mitchell Langerak.

Gladbach should have added to their lead in the run up to half time and had two glorious chances to do so. The first fell to Jantschke, but he found Langerak in inspired form in the Stuttgart goal. The Australian made an even better save to deny Hahn's close-range half volley, somehow getting a an arm to the ball to keep his side in the game.

Stindl seals Gladbach's progression

The second half began as the first ended, with Gladbach in full control. Hahn was denied a tap-in when Johnson played a cut-back behind him, which meant Langerak had time to get back and claw Hahn's tame shot off the line. The troublesome attackers had further chances, yet couldn't quite make them count.

Unfortunately, after a period of really promising, attacking play the two teams fell away and were locked in a horrible battle in the middle of the park. It was far from pretty to watch but as time ticked by, the chances of Stuttgart grabbing an equaliser grew as Gladbach became unstuck just before the final third; Wolf's side were hopeful.

However, any belief that a comeback was possible disappeared when Stindl added the crucial second goal. A long ball forward was knocked down by Hahn and into the path of Johnson. He played a first-time pass to Stindl, and the captain didn't disappoint as he bent the ball inside the post with a superb finish to seal their place in the next round.