Berlin, Dec 21 (IANS) Ten-man Borussia Monchengladbach came from behind to beat Darmstadt 3-2 at home, while Hertha Berlin consolidated their third place with a 2-0 win over Mainz to round off the 17th round and first half of the Bundesliga season. The “Foals” and newly promoted Darmstadt staged a thrilling encounter with five goals and one straight red card on Sunday, reports Xinhua. Both sides started highly motivated and offensively, creating opportunities at both ends of the pitch. Yet, the visitors from Darmstadt caught the better start into the game as Marcel Heller slotted home a flicked-on throw-in by Sandro Wagner to mark the opener from close range in the 28th minute. Things went from bad to worse for the hosts as Granit Xhaka saw a straight red card for a violent conduct 10 minutes later.
Despite the setbacks, Monchengladbach were able to restore parity through Lars Stindl, who unleashed a well-placed shot from 18 metres, with one minute remaining in the first half. The hosts caught a bright start into the second half after Havard Nordtveit curled a 19-metre free kick over the wall to put his side 2-1 up front in the 51st minute. Newly promoted Darmstadt remained unimpressed and responded thanks to Sandro Wagner, who headed home Marcel Heller’ s pinpoint cross with 67 minutes played.
However, 10-man Monchengladbach had the last laugh as Oscar Wendt capitalised on Lars Stindl’s perfectly timed through-ball to beat onrushing Darmstadt goalkeeper Christian Mathenia for the 3-2 final score in the dying minutes of the match. With the result, Monchengladbach recaptured the fourth place in the standings whereas Darmstadt slipped to the 13th position. Elsewhere, Berlin staged a faultless and dominant performance against hapless visitors from Mainz to cruise to a 2-0 victory. Vladimir Darida broke the deadlock at the first half before Salomon Kalou made the game safe after the break. Berlin stays on the third place and approach runner-up Dortmund, who sit six points adrift. Meanwhile, Mainz dropped from the seventh to the eighth position. The Bundesliga heads into the winter break and will resume with the 18th round on January 22.