"I struck the ball perfectly," full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner said after scoring his maiden European goal in his first Juventus game since undergoing heart surgery in October.
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Of all the players who addressed the media in the catacombs of Borussia-Park following Mönchengladbach's 1-1 draw with Juventus, none sported a wider grin than Stephan Lichtsteiner, the Bianconeri full-back having scored the goal that earned the Italian side a valuable Group D point in his first appearance since undergoing heart surgery at the beginning of October.
Lichtsteiner was diagnosed with a benign cardiac arrhythmia after experiencing breathing difficulties during a league match against Frosinone on 23 September. Although he was always expected to make a full recovery, the 31-year-old was visibly delighted after making such a swift and successful return to first-team action.
"I'm feeling really good after the operation and thrilled that everything went so well today," he said. "Today's game was really important and I wanted to help the team. We had problems for the first 20 minutes, but we worked our way into the game and thoroughly deserved a point."
Held to a goalless draw by Gladbach three weeks ago, Juventus struggled initially to cope with their opponents' pace and movement, Fabian Johnson's 18th-minute opener just reward for the Foals. Massimiliano Allegri's men found their feet eventually, and Paul Pogba's exquisite lob over the Gladbach defence invited Lichtsteiner to volley the equaliser past his compatriot Yann Sommer.
"I struck the ball perfectly," said the Swiss international, who had failed to find the net in 52 European appearances prior to his 44th-minute strike. "We wanted to go on and win the game after that, but, under the circumstances, we can be satisfied with a share of the spoils."
The dismissal of Hernanes stifled Juventus's hopes of gaining the win they needed to secure a place in the knockout phase, but a combination of last-ditch defending and spectacular Gianluigi Buffon goalkeeping earned the 2015 runners-up a useful point.
"Most other teams would have lost here today," Pogba told UEFA.com. "Mönchengladbach played with a lot of passion and aggression against our ten men, which made it very difficult for us. We can be very happy with a point."
As for Gladbach, the draw was not enough to keep alive their hopes of qualifying from Group D, but coach André Schubert was eager to express his pride and admiration for his players. "I have to pay my team a huge compliment," he said. "For long periods we played very well against a very strong Juventus side. It bodes well for the future."