So Gladbach move back into third place, above Leverkusen; Leipzig, though, will move above them if they can beat Koln tomorrow night. As for Union, they showed enough to suggest they'll stay up, but they need a win and fast.
- 2nd Half
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
Borussia M’gladbach - 1. FC Union Berlin
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Full-time: Borussia Monchengladbach 4-1 Union Berlin
Gladbach are savage, properly going for Union even now! Most of their play has been down the left today, but this time Doucoure races down the right, clipping inside for Plea ... who shoots wide.
There'll be three added minutes.
Neuhaus, who's been very good, departs; Wendt, who may well become a player, replaces him. But what's really great here is that Herrrmann goes off and Doucoure comes on. He's been at Gladbach for four years but constant injuries have prevented him making his debut until now. Well in sir.
Gladbach fancy a fifth, Thuram agaiin pulling to the by-line, driving across the face of the goal for no one to tap home.
France have so many good players it's ridiculous, and Plea is another. I'd like to see what he can do against a better defence, but his movement and awareness have been of a very high level this afternoon.
Malli finds space for a shot from distance, whacking straight at Sommer.
A double change for Gladbach, Benes and Traore replacing Hofman and Stindl.
GOAL! Borussia Monchengladbach 4-1 Union Berlin (Plea) This is a lovely finish! Thuram knocks down and Stindl spreads wide for Bensebaini, whose cross arrives at what looks a tricky height for Plea ... but he uses its momentum to turn it deftly, from behind him and on the volley, into the far corner. He's been superb today.
Apologies, my system crashed. Anyway, a double change for Union, who replace Ingvartsen and Gentner with Ujah and Mali.
Bremen have the best players of the sides fighting relegation, but Union look the best organised. Dusseldorf know what they're doing too, but lack class and goals, while Mainz are extremely unreliable.
Union look good enough to stay up and here they come again, Andersson taking the ball off Bulter and moving inside, curling a hard, low shot only just past the far post.
Nice from Union, who've kept at it, Gentner slinging over another cross which Mees is under ... but Ginter does really well to intercede, a backheader flicking the ball away.
Change for Gladbach, Kramer replacing Herrmann.
Now the game appears to have blown itself out, let's look back on Marcus Thuram taking the knee. His dad Lillian is a thoughtful, politically active man; what a tragedy that things haven't changed in the 12 or so years since he retired.
Gentner lofts over a cross from the right and Mees meets it on the run, but his thumping header is straight at Sommer.
But here's Thuram, bustling along the left by-line; he can't get to any of his mates, so flicks a shot at the keeper's knees, hoping for a kindly bounce. None is forthcoming.
Gladbach knock the ball about, teasing Union to try and win it back.
Plea has been really good today. I hope this is his song.
Yup, Ryerson is did. His team-mates schlep him over the nearest white line for treatment; Mees replaces him.
Ryerson looks in bad nick. As it goes, Neuhaus got the ball first and properly, then piled through with knees and feet - once upon a time, that wasn't even a foul. Ryerson is game to carry on, but I can't see him lasing much longer.
Neuhaus scythes through Ryerson and is booked. Welcome to the game, old mucker.
GOAL! Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1 Union Berlin (Thuram) Gladbach hustle Union as they try to clear, Plea winning the ball back and picking a pass - not a cross - that snakes between defenders to find Thuram, and he touches home from in front of goal. It's such a pleasure to watch a proper striking pair - we were so long without, but these two are bringing sexy back in a big way.
Yup, Gladbach are back, Plea, Stindl and Lainer combining in midfield.
Lainer, who's had a decent game, goes down the right and slings over a cross which Plea takes on the chest, swivelling into a shot that's blocked and which allows Union to bring the ball away.
...Bensebaini takes the free-kick, clipping over the wall and just over the bar.
Gladbach are back in the ascendancy, and Kroos hacks Herrmann down just outside the box, right-hand side...
But here come Gladbach, Stindl poking a ball through for Hoffman, who rounds the keeper ... but forces himself wide. The eventuating shot is deflected into the side-netting, and the resultant corner comes to nothing.
You've got to credit Urs Fischer fro replacing a defender with a midfielder and getting his men playing higher up the pitch. They could easily have opted to keep the score down, but instead went looking for something.
GOAL! Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 Union Berlin (Andersson) Hello! Union win a free-kick 40 yards out, which Lenz clips to the far side of the box; Lainer gets the first touch on it, but nothing definitive, so Ingvartsen nudges the ball across the Andersson heads a careful livener past Sommer!
Union are pushing more men forward now, which might help them get back into the game ... and might help them take a tousing.
Union start the half well and Lenz muscles down the left, curving a cross that catches Andersson just offside.
One change for Union: Kroos replaces Subotic, who's struggled to cope with Thuram and Plea.
Off we go again.
The players are back with us.
All of which is to say that I've not a clue where Union go from here ... but I thought that about Mainz at FC the other week.
Gladbach are a load better than Union - that is what's going on here. They took a while to get going, but the first goal was the result of some concerted pressure and the second was the result of some concerted football. Neuhaus has been excellent and so has Thuram.
Half-time: Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Union Berlin
This has been a very acceptable half's work from Gladbach, who'll be furious with their week's work until this point.
Bulter, who's looked lively, strolls down the left, so Lainer takes him out and is booked.
- GoalMarcus ThuramBorussia M’gladbach
GOAL! A LOVELY GOAL! Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Union Berlin (Thuram) Stindl moves the ball out wide to Plea, with the deftness and dexterity that allows his man an extra second to make sure his body position is right given the options he's assessed. Plea then has another look and clips to the back post, where Thuram guides a header inside what is the keeper's near, before taking a knee. Well played sir.
Gladbach play like a team with a plan. They know where the men will be and they know where the passing lanes will be.
Thuram is dangerous every time he gets the ball, though/and still looks very raw. I'm not sure if that means he's got a lot of improving to do, or if the kind of improvement he needs to make is outside the ambit of his skills.
Thuram eases through the middle before transferring wide to Plea. The pass doesn't have enough momentum, but Plea can't find anything to do with it either.
Union win a corner down the left which Gentaer takes ... and Ginter heads clear.
Hoffman gives the ball away, so when Bulter lanks past he brings him down. He's booked.
Gladbach have far too much for Union, but Union look capable of scoring. Can "the Foals" find a second?
Thuram turns Friedrich who yanks him back, and the ball eventually makes its way to Hofman, who slides Hermann in! But Subotic covers, after which the ref goes back and books Friedrich.
Union are coming back into this, Gentaer retrieving a loose ball and flipping a cross to the far post, where Freidrich heads over the top.
Out of nowhere, a ball in behind from Ingvartsen sees Andersson in a race with Ginter ... and race he looks like winning! But Ginter does really well to come back at him before Sommer charges out to hack the ball clear.
Bit of light pressure from Union, Gentaer putting a ball into the box and Elvedi clearing. Ok, very light pressure.
Choking up here.
Aw, don't be sad.
Gladbach are dominating now. It's been a while since Union did anything.
Herrmann drives through centrefield so Bulter yanks him back and is booked.
- GoalFlorian NeuhausBorussia M’gladbach
GOAL! Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0 Union Berlin (Neuhaus). This is very well taken. Herrmann spreads the play from right to centre, Neuhaus creating space by moving across the face of the defence, then driving into the box to slide a finish past Gikiewicz - who doesn't do much to stop him - and in off the inside of the near post! You can't say that wasn't coming - well you can but you'd be wrong.
Here they come again! Thuram has really come on a game the last few minutes, and he pulls right, diddling Friedrich outside then in, crossing low for Plea and forcing Gikiewicz into another stop.
Gladbach are coming! Hermann slides Thuram away at inside-left, but in pursuit, Friedrich does just enough, forcing him slightly wide such that he drags his shot and Gikiewicz saves.
The corner comes to nowt.
"Oh!" A loose Union pass is picked up by Hofman who lays back for Lainer who, from inside his own half, leans back to loft a fine effort that Gikiewicz has to palm behind! A replay shows the ball was going wide, but the keeper still did well because the shot caught him by surprise, unaware of his bearings.
Ingvartsen brings it away for Union.
Slick in midfield from Gladbach, Lainer and Neuhaus combining to send Thuram into the box, left side of it. He looks up, jockeys, checks, and wins a corner.
Subotic slides in on Lainer well late, but avoids a booking.
Gladbach have found their feet and are now enjoying better possession, higher up the pitch. But here comes Bulter, crossing low from the right ... that's dangerous, but Elvedi comes across to clear.
Hermmann spreads wide to Bensebaini, whose first touch is awful, but Gladbach keep up the pressure and Stindel crosses low from the left, Gikiewicz diving on the ball and doing well to hold.
Union are giving Gladbach grief here, setting about them in midfield and closing down passing lanes. Nothing of note has yet eventuated.
Promel looks to stride through midfield, but Hofman slides in to poke the ball back to Sommer.
Not much going on at the moment, but by the looks of things, Union aren't just going to sit there waiting to lose, as they did first game back against Bayern.
The cut-outs are kind of nice, I'd say. I wonder if they are of people sat in their seats - I once heard Lee Dixon say that, playing at Highbury for so long, he knew where he was on the pitch without having to check bearings because he knew the faces in the crowd.
Away we go!
The players are trotting out. I didn't think I could manage without the pomp and circumstance, and yet here we are.
I'm really looking forward to watching Marcus Thuram today. Here's why.
Tell you what, your Owen Hargreaveses of this world has been really good since the Bundesliga restarted. I'm hoping he's on duty this afternoon, and not just because the alternative is Steve McManaman.
You've gotta love partial commentary.
And here's what happened when the teams met earlier in the season.
Here are the teams playing in the cup semis, 19 years ago. The pitch is in absolutely perfect nick.
But were all the pubs closed?
I cannot get enough of this gear.
This, however, looks alright.
The Foals is not one of football's better nicknames.
Here it is.
I remember Arsenal's mural in 92-93 season (which they had to repaint after all the faces in it were painted white, though Ian Wright and Kevin Campbell were playing up front).
Union have never played at Borussia Park, and today they'll do so in front of cardboard cut-out spectators.
Er, payback for what?
Either way, Bayern are proper again. The defence still looks a bit dodgy - Jerome Boateng has a mistake in him - but the cohesion in attack is getting there, and two proper wingers either side of a goal-machine striker is problematic for any opponent.
Havertz looks a proper player, so presumably he'll be at Bayern for the start of next season. I'd love to watch him and Goretzka play together, as they will for the national side - and once you stick Kimmich and the reinvented Muller into the equation, the options are pretty tasty.
Gladbach getting Havertzed.
The light here is extremely odd.
Union, meanwhile, play a 3-4-3. In general, when teams play similar formations, the better one wins...
Gladbach plays a 3-4-1-2 (of course they do). Jantschke, Kramer and Wendt drop out from midweek.
Let's have some teams....
Union, meanwhile, are in no sort of form at all. Since the league started up again, they've drawn at home to Mainz and Bayern and been whacked by Hertha, leaving them right in the relegation mix. They're currently 13th, four points ahead of Dusseldorf in 16th with a game in hand, so should be ok. But they don't score many, and are probably in worse form than the teams below them.
Though they're "only" fifth in the table, Gladbach are the very model of a modern major football team: they press hard, run fast, and have a clever manager. But they've had a poor week, losing at home to Leverkusen and drawing away to Bremen - had they won both, they'd now be second - so need a win here to keep in the hunt for the Champions League.
Is this ... is this ... is this starting to feel ... normal?
Afternoon all, and welcome to Borussia Monchengladbach v Union Berlin!