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Disappointment but there is still hope

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The Foals controlled most of the game at VfL Wolfsburg and could’ve taken a more commanding lead at one point of the match, but instead they were held to a 1-1 draw. This leaves Gladbach trailing in the battle for Europe with just one game left to play. However, there is still hope.

The sun came out on Sunday morning over the BORUSSIA-PARK, a stark contrast to what manager Dieter Hecking and his team had experienced less than 24 hours earlier in Wolfsburg. Thunder and lightning had put the game on pause for 30 minutes, a match that Gladbach looked to dominate for the most part but in the end the 1-1 draw only produced mixed feelings.

The dominant team

“We played a really good away game. In the first half our display was outstanding,” said Hecking, whose team enjoyed a great start against a team still battling against relegation. Borussia created a number of chances, with Jonas Hofmann recorded the best as his shot struck the woodwork. Eventually, Jannik Vestergaard broke the deadlock when his header found the target midway through the first half. The Foals continued to apply pressure but failed to get a second goal.

The inevitable happened when Wolfsburg got the equaliser after 58 minutes through Germany international Mario Gomez. “We gave this game out of our hands due to our own shortcomings. We unnecessarily gave our opponent hope,” criticised Hecking. Both teams used the lighting delay to gather themselves for the final minutes, but also to make various calculations. Since the other games had already ended, it was now obvious what a victory, draw or defeat would mean for each team on the final matchday. “It was clear that a victory would’ve greatly improved our chances to qualify for Europe. We reminded ourselves of that during the break,” said skipper Lars Stindl. Gladbach pushed forward again after the restart but chances from Raffael and Fabian Johnson, making their comebacks from injury, didn’t yield a second goal as the game ended in a draw.

Satisfaction, disappointment, hope and relief

Some showed satisfaction for a mostly good away-game performance, while others were disappointed having not improved their situation for the final matchday. Again others displayed hope, that winning against SV Darmstadt on the final matchday could still be enough to secure seventh place, which could be enough to secure a spot in the Europa League qualification segment as long as Borussia Dortmund win the DFB Cup.

Another emotion was added to this mixture of feelings: Relief, of even being in the position to qualify for the Europa League on the last matchday after having gone through a very poor first half of the season. “We got 16 points from our first 16 games this season. The fact that we are still playing for a Europa League spot on the last matchday is a feat that can’t be valued highly enough. With 27 points in 2017 we truly managed a remarkable run. Hopefully we can add some more points when we play against Darmstadt,” said sporting director Max Eberl.

Coach Dieter Hecking gave his players the day off on Sunday, as this was the 50th competitive match of the season for Gladbach. The aim is to be as fresh as possible for the season ending game against Darmstadt. “We have to win the game first obviously, but then we can see if it’s enough to jump one or in the best case two spots in the standings.”



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