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Unbeaten Mönchengladbach see off Apollon

Apollon Limassol FC 0-2 VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach
The German side did just enough on what proved a rare off-day for them this season to move top of Group A.

Raffael celebrates his opener for Mönchengladbach
Raffael celebrates his opener for Mönchengladbach ©AFP/Getty Images

Raffael puts the visitors in front; Patrick Herrmann also on target 
Mönchengladbach stretch unbeaten start to the season to 17 matches
Gladbach won reverse fixture 5-0, equalling Apollon's worst away European loss
Next games: Zürich v Apollon, Villarreal v Mönchengladbach (27 November)

VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach closed in on a UEFA Europa League round of 32 spot with victory at Apollon Limassol FC.

The attacking verve that underpinned the German outfit's 5-0 win when these sides met a fortnight ago was absent, but, even on an off-day, the visitors had enough. Thorgan Hazard was their inspiration, setting up Raffael 11 minutes after half-time and also hitting the bar before Patrick Herrmann wrapped things up on the break in the 95th minute. Mönchengladbach moved top of Group A as a result, while Apollon slipped to fourth.

Going into the game, there certainly seemed only one likely winner. Apollon may have been on a four-match winning run at home, but Gladbach's 17-match unbeaten run eclipsed that achievement, especially as it included the recent 5-0 trouncing. The visitors never looked entirely at ease, though, as they struggled to find their rhythm.

Hazard blazed over and Bruno Vale made a fine save to deny Branimir Hrgota, but Apollon were giving as good as they got, Guie Gneki Abraham and Camel Meriem both going close. The lively Hazard helped end their resolve, switching to the left and swinging in a mouth-watering right-footed cross for Raffael to glance into the far corner.

Hazard went close to another soon after and though Thuram briefly threatened when he sent a free header just over, the job was done, Herrmann making doubly sure in the last few seconds.