Manuel Veth –
Gladbach v Basaksehir – December, 12 – Borussia Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany
It is always a special occasion when the floodlights go on at Borussia Park on a European night. Tonight was supposed to be no different as Gladbach hosted Basaksehir in front of an almost sell-out crowd, the only empty seats could be spotted in the visitor sector. The Foals needed a draw to advance but played their typical pressing game. Although the better side their wasteful passing game prevented them from producing a proper goalscoring chance until the 30th minute when Oscar Wendt missed the goal. Two minutes later, Marcus Thuram was more successful as his shot beat keeper Mert to give Gladbach the lead. Gladbach should have had more, but their passing game led them down, and out of nowhere Irfan Can beat Yann Sommer with a weak shot from 30-yards and then celebrated his goal with the controversial military salute.
Gladbach were better with the final ball in the second half and in the 60th minute, Patrick Herrmann was through. Merit, however, took the ball off his feet at the very last moment. Gladbach had further chances but struggled to find a way through. It made it a dangerous game for the Foals, a goal by Basaksehir could put the entire European campaign out of balance. With just four minutes to go, Alassane Plea should have given Gladbach the lead but Merit did well to stop his header. Instead, Enzo Crivelli scored with just minutes to go as Basaksehir was an unlikely party crasher in what was supposed to be a gorgeous European night at Borussia Park.
Gladbach v Basaksehir – Three Stars
Enzo Crivelli (Basaksehir)
The French striker scored the unexpected winner in the dying moments of the game. The forward was highlighted as Basaksehir’s danger man ahead of the game and just needed one moment to make the difference.
Irfan Can Kahveci (Basaksehir)
Irfan Can’s goal out of nowhere got the Süper Lig back into the match. His shot from 30-yards bouncing awkwardly off Sommer and in the net. The goal, however, will make fewer headlines than Irfan Can’s celebrations. The midfielder opted to make a military salute that will certainly draw UEFA’s attention.
Stefan Lainer (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
The Austrian national team player has raised his profile at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Tonight he was once again one of the most active players on the pitch for the Foals. In the first half, he provided the assist to Thuram’s goal.
GOALS: 1-0 (Thuram 32’) 1-1 (Irfan Can, 43’) 1-2 (Crivellli, 90’)
Gladbach are flying in the Bundesliga. But the European campaign thus far has highlighted that Marco Rose’s project is still in its infancy. Although tactically, Gladbach are well setup the side still lacks precession that can be witnessed in Rose’s former side Red Bull Salzburg.
The Foals allowed Basaksehir to keep the match open and ultimately turn the game around. For Gladbach perhaps a blessing in disguise given their title push, nonetheless, the Foals certainly wanted to go deeper in the competition.
Gladbach v Basaksehir – Line-ups
Sommer – Wendt, Elvedi, Ginter, Lainer – Kramer (Bensebaini, 90′), Zakaria – Neuhaus (Stindl, 78′) – Thuram, Embolo (Plea, 78′), Herrmann
Mert – Clichy, Epureanu, Ponck, Junior Caiçara – Irfan Can (Azubuike, 90′), Mehmet Topal (Özcan, 88′), Aleksic (Ba, 67′) – Elia, Crivelli, Visca
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.