<
>
2014/15 UEFA Europa League, 2014 First Round
  • Patrick Herrmann (31')
  • Branimir Hrgota (58', 64')

Branimir Hrgota leads Gladbach past Zurich into knockout stage

Borussia Monchengladbach booked their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League with a 3-0 win over FC Zurich.

Starting the night as leaders of Group A, all possibilities were open to Lucien Favre's men, and they could have gone through with any result -- other outcomes permitting -- while they were also at risk of going out.

But a comprehensive drubbing, with Patrick Hermann (one) and Branimir Hrgota (two) scoring the goals, made sure they had nothing to worry about.

Defeat sent Zurich out, for they started the night third and needed at least a point to have a chance of progression.

It was a difficult situation for the home side to be in, knowing whether to stick or twist, but they chose to go for it from the off.

Ibrahima Traore had a shot go wide early on, and then Christoph Kramer headed off target from a corner.

Zurich responded with Davide Chiumiento drawing a save from Yann Sommer, but it was Gladbach who remained the more dangerous as Raffael and and Traore had further wayward efforts.

A goal was coming, though, and in the 31st minute Herrmann kept his composure to round the keeper and slot in after a Hrgota pass deflected into his path.

Then came the news that Villarreal had gone in front and almost in sync with that Borussia hit the post through Traore from the edge of the box.

There was certainly more attacking intent from Zurich after the break, as Franck Etoundi twice hit just off target.

But it mattered little as Gladback made it 2-0 just shy of the hour, Hrgota exchanging passes with Raffael and then following up to stab in the playmaker's cross.

Raffael went in search of a goal of his own but was denied by David Da Costa, but Hrgota did add a third on the hour when he ran clear off a long ball and scooped a delightful finish over the advancing keeper.

Zurich launched a couple of long-range arm-chancers in return but the game was well and truly up.