Germany: Bundesliga
1 - 3
(0 - 2)
FC Köln
E. Rexhbecaj (84)
A. Pléa (14), S. Lainer (16), L. Stindl (56)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Gladbach dominate Köln, take the Rheinderby Prize 3-1

Marco Rose's Borussia Mönchengladbach claimed their third consecutive victory in one of Germany's fiercely contested derbies. The foals have now beaten arch-rivals Köln in all three fixtures of Rose's short tenure.
Bragging rights in Germany's great Rhineland Derby remain with the foals following a 3-1 win on Saturday. The two teams have been forced to play their last two meetings without fans. The foals and the billy goats contested the German Bundesliga's first ever spectator free "Geisterpiel" back in the final week before lockdown last March. Marco Rose's men won 2-1 then in a midweek 21st round make-up match.

This time, hopes for fans were once again dashed when Köln were forced to call off plans to allow some 9,200 home supporters in on Friday. After negotiating with city officials, die Geißböcke were eventually permitted to admit 300 supporters for the match. Regrettably, what few home fans were let in didn't behold much of a show from their home team.

Rose's XI, unchanged since the last league encounter, got off to a furious start. Lars Stinfl, Jonas Hofmann, and Marcus Thuram all got chances in the opening five minutes. Stindl would have scored were it not for a spectacular clearance off the line by Sebastian Bournauw.

Köln's back-three were completely overwhelmed, with Gladbach able to get multiple balls in behind the overwhelmed defense. Hofmann laid off one such ball for Alassane Plea in the 14th and the Frenchman converted acrobatically. Ramy Bensebaini nearly doubled the advantage less than a minute later. Stefan Lainer wouldn't miss off a corner one minute later. Gladbach took a 2-0 lead in the 16th.

Köln gradually played their way into the game, but still failed to threaten offensively before the half. Stindl put the foals ahead ten minutes after the restart from the spot after Kingsley Ehizibue fouled Thuram in the box. The Cathedral City Club found themselves lucky to escape a debacle Gladbach maintained the offensive edge and even hit the bar twice.

Elvis Rexhbecaj pulled back a late consolation in the 84th long after the damage was done. The ranged effort was certainly very pretty, but it couldn't preclude the only recently re-promoted Köln from beginning their 2020/21 Bundesliga campaign with three straight losses.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga 15:30 kickoffs, Dortmund got back on track with a 4-0 thumping of Freiburg. Werder Bremen managed to string together a two-match win-streak after defeating Bielefeld 1-0. A late equalizer from Sasa Kalajdzic saw Stuttgart pull level with Leverkusen 1-1.

In a non-stop, pulsating encounter, Frankfurt got the better of Hoffenheim 2-1.

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