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Champions League recap: Mönchengladbach the surprise package

Mönchengladbach showed great quality to emerge from a group including Inter and Real Madrid.

Watch all of Gladbach's group stage goals
Watch all of Gladbach's group stage goals

Marco Rose's fearless Mönchengladbach side pulled off arguably the shock of the group stage by progressing from a section containing both Inter and Real Madrid.

UEFA.tv: group stage review


Campaign so far

Two-minute highlights: Mönchengladbach 4-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Two-minute highlights: Mönchengladbach 4-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

Group B runners-up: W2 D2 L2 F16 A9
Top scorer: Alassane Pléa (5)

21/10: Inter Milan 2-2 Mönchengladbach (Bensebaini 63pen, Hofmann 84)
27/10: Mönchengladbach 2-2 Real Madrid (Thuram 33 58)
03/11: Shakhtar 0-6 Mönchengladbach (Pléa 8 26 78, Bondar 17og, Bensebaini 44, Stindl 65)
25/11: Mönchengladbach 4-0 Shakhtar (Stindl 17pen, Elvedi 34, Embolo 45+1, Wendt 77)
01/12: Mönchengladbach 2-3 Inter Milan (Pléa 45+1 76)
09/12: Real Madrid 2-0 Mönchengladbach

Their campaign in ten words: Goals come easily for a side who play without fear.

UEFA.com reporter’s view

History was made in Madrid on Matchday 6 despite Gladbach’s loss. In their third UEFA Champions League campaign, the Foals’ courageous and captivating brand of football paid dividends.

l had written about their ambition of qualifying from such a challenging group. And if they needed help getting over the line, with the Inter-Shakhtar result favourable, Gladbach were nonetheless deserving recipients. Certainly, few wished to draw them in the next round.
James Thorogood, Mönchengladbach reporter

What we’ve learned

Highlights: Real Madrid 2-0 Mönchengladbach (2 mins)
Highlights: Real Madrid 2-0 Mönchengladbach (2 mins)

Advancing from such a tough pool was a fine achievement, but Marco Rose's skilful, collective-minded side almost suffered for a lack of experience at this level, conceding late equalisers in their first two games and then succumbing to nerves on Matchday 6.

Lessons will be learned, but they require no guidance going forward; with depth, balance and clear faith in Rose's vision, they play like they have nothing to lose. They should not be underestimated, even if this is their first UEFA Champions League knockout campaign.

Squad changes

In: Julio Villalba
Out: László Bénes

Key stats

• Mönchengladbach's 6-0 win at Shakhtar on Matchday 3 equalled their biggest away win in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League; their previous 6-0 success was at EPA Larnaca in their first game in the competition, in September 1970.

Highlights: Shakhtar 0-6 Mönchengladbach
Highlights: Shakhtar 0-6 Mönchengladbach

• Of the round of 16 contenders, only Porto (42.5%) had less group stage possession than Gladbach (44.7%).

• Everyone is involved in the attack; the Foals had eight different scorers and seven different assist providers during the group stage.

Who’s in charge?

A defender who plied his trade under Jürgen Klopp at Mainz, former Salzburg coach Rose has got his charges playing dynamic football. Fair to say he has made a real impression in his first season and a half at the helm.