Borussia Mönchengladbach and Werder Bremen shared the points in Saturday evening’s game at Borussia-Park.
Substitute Peniel Mlapa headed the home side into a 72nd minute lead. Aleksandar Ignjovski’s equalised 5 minutes later for Werder Bremen before Mlapa missed a one-on-one in the final minute.
There was little to show for after the first 45 minutes in which neither side had created many opportunities nor left the fans with much to talk about at half-time.
Except for one incident in the first half. Patrick Hermann raced through one-on-one with Sebastian Mielitz and although the Bremen goalkeeper got to the ball first, he sliced as he slipped over leaving the Gladbach midfielder to roll the ball into an empty net on 15 minutes. However, after discussions with his assistant, referee Wolfgang Stark disallowed the goal for offside. Replays showed this was the correct call.
The game was beginning to become a little more opening heading into the final 30 minutes. Although it was an Oscar Wendt corner that created the first close attempt, with Juan Arango having his header palmed away by Mielitz.
Midway through the second half, both Luuk de Jong and Patrick Hermann had attempts blocked in quick succession as an opening goal looked likely.
Kevin De Bruyne was denied a minute later by Marc-André ter Stegen as the ever-lively Belgian midfielder on loan from English Premier League side Chelsea created the opportunity himself by going past a defender into the penalty area.
Lucien Favre’s decision to bring on Peniel Mlapa in the final 20 minutes appeared to be a master stroke. The 6’5” youngster met Oscar Wednt’s corner with little attempt of a challenge from the defence to head the home side in front less than 2 minutes after his appearance.
This was Mlapa’s first Bundesliga goal for Gladbach in his 14th appearance since his transfer from 1899 Hoffenheim. He has yet to start a single game in the league for the Foals.
Peniel Mlapa seemed to be in on goal again 3 minutes later from a clever through ball by Mike Hanke. He smashed his attempt over the bar, but to spare his blushes the offside flag was raised.
From the resulting free kick, Werder Bremen went up the other end and equalised. Aleksandar Ignjovski’s attempt from the left, assisted by Kevin De Bruyne crossed the line despite ter Stegen’s best attempts to keep it out after scrambling across goal.
For Ignjovski, this was his first-ever goal in German football in what was his 97th appearance in all competitions (39 Bundesliga, 53 2. Bundesliga, 5 DFB Cup). The defensive minded player played a more attacking role in midfield than his usual full-back position.
In the last 5 minutes, Martin Stranzl saw a headed attempt blocked, Lukas Rupp and De Bruyne both saw efforts saved. Kevin De Bruyne then lashed a long range attempt wide when the better option appeared to be playing Marko Arnautovic in to the right.
The best chance was saved until the end. As the clock struck 90:00, Granit Xhaka put Peniel Mlapa in one-on-one. He was met by Mielitz at the edge of the penalty area, but the striker managed slowly to go around his diving effort. By the time
Mlapa had composed his self and gently struck an effort across the ground, Mateo Pavlovic had got back to clear off the line.
Mlapa was distraught as cameras picked up his reaction after the full-time whistle.
This point leaves Borussia Mönchengladbach in 8th position after Saturday’s games, whilst Werder Bremen are now 8 points above the relegation playoff.