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Monchengladbach 4-1 Union Berlin: Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea terrorise Union in thumping win

Borussia Monchengladbach 4-1 Union Berlin: Gladbach keep Champions League dream alive as Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea terrorise relegation-threatened Union in thumping victory

  • Florian Neuhaus gave Monchengladbach the lead with a superb solo goal 
  • Marcus Thuram doubled the hosts lead after expert link-up with Alassane Plea
  • Sebastian Andersson halved the deficit with a header early in the second half 
  • Thuram scored Gladbach’s third goal to restore the two-goal deficit for the hosts
  • Alassane Plea claimed his goal to secure all three points for the home side

Borussia Monchengladbach kept their Champions League dream alive with a thumping 4-1 victory over relegation-threatened Union Berlin in the Bundesliga, as strike partnership Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea stole the show.

The first chance for Gladbach came from a moment of improvisation courtesy of Florian Neuhaus. The 23-year-old struck a long-range effort from his own half as Rafal Gikiewicz was left stretching to tip it out for a corner. 

The hosts continued to apply pressure as opportunities fell for attacking partnership Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea – who looked in the mood as the sun beamed down on the empty Borussia-Park, filled for the second time this season with thousands of cardboard cut-out fans. 

Midfielder Florian Neuhaus gave Gladbach the lead with a superb solo goal after a fast start

The Gladbach players celebrated with fist bumps after taking an early 1-0 lead

The Gladbach players celebrated with fist bumps after taking an early 1-0 lead

Their pressure paid dividends and early lead came from Neuhaus, just minutes after his half-pitch long shot. The midfielder battled his way into the box and poked the ball, off balance, onto the post and it trickled past the helpless Gikiwicz. 

It didn’t take much longer after for Plea and Thuram to link up for Gladbach’s second as they continued to showcase their formidable partnership on the Bundesliga stage. After a fast break from the hosts, Plea cut inside from the left-wing and floated in an inch-perfect cross for Thuram to guide home with his head. 

The Frenchman used the moment to take a knee and bow his head, in a nod to Black Lives Matter campaigning across the globe after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier in the week. 

Marcus Thuram doubled their lead and took a knee, in a nod to Black Lives Matter campaigning

Marcus Thuram doubled their lead and took a knee, in a nod to Black Lives Matter campaigning

Sebastian Andersson halved the deficit at the start of second half with a close-range header

Sebastian Andersson halved the deficit at the start of second half with a close-range header

The sun beamed down on an empty Borussia-Park, filled with thousands of cardboard fans

The sun beamed down on an empty Borussia-Park, filled with thousands of cardboard fans

Gladbach, still hurt from their disappointing performances against Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen, had seemingly outplayed Union and left them checking their shoulder in the relegation battle before the half-time whistle had been blown.  

However, as Union have illustrated numerous times this season, they will not go down without a fight and five minutes into the second half, they halved the deficit.

Top goalscorer Sebastian Andersson was on the end of a free-kick routine and suddenly – against the run of play – Gladbach found themselves sweating as Union’s bulldog-like approach had broken through their defences.

The hosts almost immediately re-installed the two-goal lead after Patrick Hermann rounded the goalkeeper but could only strike the ball into the side-netting. 

Normality was restored on the hour mark, as Thuram, who had already scored on the afternoon, netted his second as he just had to side-foot the ball from a well-placed Alassane Plea cross. 

The goal meant Thuram hit double figures for the season along with his eight assists, whilst Plea took his assist tally to ten for the campaign. Their partnership has been integral in Monchengladbach’s Champions League hopes for next season. 

Thuram restored Gladbach's 2-goal lead as he linked up with Plea once again for a tap-in

Thuram restored Gladbach’s 2-goal lead as he linked up with Plea once again for a tap-in

The Frenchman's double secured the hosts three points as his season tally hit double figures

The Frenchman’s double secured the hosts three points as his season tally hit double figures

Union – testament to their character – threw bodies forward and created chances as the clock ticked towards full-time. Substitute Joshua Mees gave goalkeeper Jan Sommer a moment to think about, as his effort powered just past the post with 15 minutes left to play.

However, their efforts were in vein as Alassane Plea claimed his much-deserved goal with a clever first-time finish from a Ramy Bensebaini cross.  

The three points could prove vital for Borussia Monchengladbach, who jumped up to third in the Bundesliga table. They find themselves in a tight back-and-forth with RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen for Champions League football next season.

Meanwhile, Union Berlin remain just four points above the relegation zone with vital matches against relegation-threatened sides Paderborn and Fortuna Dusseldorf to come in their final five matches.  

MATCH FACTS

Monchengladbach XI: Sommer, Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini (Wendt 90′), Hofmann (Traore 82′), Neuhaus (Doucoure 90′), Herrmann (Kramer 72′), Stindl (Benes 82′), Thuram, Plea.

Unused Subs: Kurt, Musel, Quizera, Sippel.

Goals: Neuhaus 17′, Thuram 41′ 59′, Plea 81′.

Union XI: Gikiewicz, Friedrich, Schlotterbeck, Subotić (Kroos 46′), Trimmel, Gentner, Prömel, Lenz (Ryerson 60′(Mees 65′)), Ingvartsen (Malli 80′), Bülter, Andersson.

Unused Subs: Adbullahi, Hubner, Nicolas, Schmiedebach, Ujah. 

Goals: Andersson 50′. 

Referee: Frank Willemborg.

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