Monchengladbach (Germany), Dec 6 (IANS)
Front-runners Bayern Munich suffered their first loss of the season as Borussia Monchengladbach turned up after the break to secure a stunning 3-1 victory while second-placed Borussia Dortmund close in after edging third-placed Wolfsburg 2-1 at the 15th round of the Bundesliga football tournament. Monchengladbach stopped Bayern’s relentless winning run, extending their unbeaten streak to 10 games under head coach Andre Schubert on Saturday, reports Xinhua. Bayern dominated the first half, but clinical Monchengladbach scored three second-half goals to flabbergast Josep Guardiola’s men. Bayern took the reins from the kick-off, but they either lacked in ideas, to overcome Monchengladbach’s industriousness or remained sloppy at the finish. Robert Lewandowski and Mehdi Benatia came close from promising positions but Monchengladbach custodian Yann Sommer was on guard to deny the visitors in the opening period. Bayern failed to make use of their first-half chances, Monchengladbach turned up at the second half to shock the visitors with the opener at the 54th minute. Oskar Wendt capitalised on Raffael’s assist to curl the ball past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer into the far post corner. The hosts gained momentum whereas Bayern looked shocked. As a consequence, Monchengladbach doubled their advantage through Lars Stindl, who volleyed home a flicked on cross by Nico Elvedi from inside the box at the 66th minute. Surprisingly Guardiola’s men were unable to put up resistance, allowing the hosts to triple the lead as Fabian Johnson finished a fast break to make it 3-0 on the scoreboards.
The front-runners were at least able to score their consolation in the 81st minute through Franck Ribery, who was fielded in the 75th minute after a nine-month injury break. With the result, Bayern’s advantage atop the standings melted from eight to five points whereas Monchengladbach jumped on the 3rd place. Dortmund benefited on Bayern’s surprising defeat to Monchengladbach as they overpowered Wolfsburg in a dramatic closing period to seal three points on the road thanks to a 2-1 win. Thomas Tuchel’s men controlled the proceedings but had yet to wait until 32nd minute after Henrikh Mkhitaryan forced a turnover against Joshua Guilavogui to set up for Marco Reus, who rounded onrushing Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio for the opener. After the restart, Wolfsburg pressed frenetically for the equaliser but neither Bas Dost nor Julian Draxler were able to slot home their clear-cut opportunities. However, it had to come the 90th minute when Dortmund defender Lukasz Piszczek floored Andre Schuerrle inside the box, allowing Ricardo Rodriguez to restore parity from the spot moments later. Dortmund remained unimpressed and bounced back just one minute later as Shinji Kagawa poked home Henrikh Mkihitaryan’s assist from close range in the dying seconds of the game. With the 11th victory of the season, runner-up Dortmund reduced the arrears to leaders Bayern to five points. Meanwhile, Wolfsburg slumped from the third to the fifth place. Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin wrapped an important 2-1 win over 10-men Bayer Leverkusen in the race for an international berth for next season. Hertha recaptured their fourth place thanks to the goals by Vladimir Darida and John Anthony Brooks. Jairo’s brace helped Mainz to cruise 3-1 past Hamburg while Raul Bobadilla’s free-kick winner snatched Augsburg a narrow 1-0 win over Cologne. And, newly promoted Ingolstadt were held to a 1-1 draw by last placed Hoffenheim in the closing period.