On the last day of the Bundesliga season all the action was down at the bottom as everything was settled at the top end of the table. The meeting between Darmstadt and Borussia Mönchengladbach was one in which both teams could relax and celebrate their achievements from the season.
Darmstadt have managed to survive in the Bundesliga despite many predicting that they would be relegated following their surprise promotion into the Bundesliga. As for Gladbach they will be celebrating a return to European action next season as they managed to secure fourth spot last weekend and that means a Champions League space.
Die Lilien pegged back after bright start
Darmstadt made a promising start to the game however it took them fourteen minutes to create the game’s first real chance. After a headed clearance by Gladbach Jérôme Gondorf managed to put the ball back into the area with a high looping ball, Mario Vrančić was left all alone at the back of the area, Tobias Sippel decided not to come for the ball and fortunately for Gladbach Andreas Christensen was able to rush across to make the all important block.
This seemed to wake up die fohlen and moments after the chance for Darmstadt the away side came close to breaking the deadlock. Andre Hahn was able to shrug off Peter Niemeyer and a half volley from range saw his effort denied by the post.
On the half hour mark Gladbach scored the opening goal, a ball into Jonas Hofmann from Granit Xhaka saw the former excellently leave the ball to allow Thorgan Hazard to be through on goal, the Belgian made no mistakes either as he rounded Lukasz Zaluska and calmly stroked the ball into the empty net.
Gladbach were firmly on top after taking the lead and they came close to scoring a second, a lovely timed reverse pass from Hahn slipped the ball into Hofmann who found space in the area and his effort across goal forced Zaluska into making a good save.
Despite their Darmstadt’s efforts they couldn’t keep out Gladbach
Hofmann was bright spark throughout the first half and he resumed his performance in the second half. Just a few minutes into the second half he came very close to doubling his sides lead, a low shot from the edge of the area went just wide of the post.
Darmstadt almost pounced on a mistake from Sippel, a cross saw the Gladbach keeper charge into no man’s land and this saw Niemeyer to meet the cross first ahead of Sippel, luckily for the keeper Christensen was alert to the danger and managed to head clear.
The home side pushed for an equaliser and they came agonisingly close twice in a matter of seconds, firstly Marco Heller produced an excellent ball across goal , the open Gondorf was waiting to pounce at the back post, however Nico Elvedi had other ideas as the young defender slide in to get just enough on the ball to poke the ball away from Gondorf. Darmstadt quickly tried their luck again and this time it was Felix Platte that was left open, a cross from the right picked him out and surprisingly he headed wide from a few yards out.
Those two missed opportunities were punished as just past the hour mark Gladbach doubled their lead to put them on a good course for their first away win of 2016. Patrick Herrmann was allowed to cross from the right side and his cross to the back post found Hahn and the in-form forward wonderfully headed across goal to beat Zaluska.
The game died down slightly after the second goal, however there was a heart-warming moment when Marco Sailer came off the bench to make his last ever appearance for Darmstadt after the club decided not to renew the forward’s contract.
Gladbach should’ve had a third goal a minute after Sailer’s introduction, Herrmann broke free down the left and his cross to the back post found an unmarked Hofmann, sadly for him he couldn’t direct the ball in from a difficult angle. The goal from Hofmann would’ve been thoroughly deserved.
Darmstadt were able to create another chance as the game entered the last ten minutes, Heller produced a high looping cross and Elvedi managed to beat Tobias Kempe to the cross but could only clear to Gondorf, the midfielder drilled his shot across goal, unfortunately for the home fans it flew wide.
That was the last of the action and after the final whistle both teams could begin to celebrate their season’s. For Darmstadt their fans provided a fantastic send off for one of their heroes Sailer.
The attention will soon turn to next season as Gladbach look to prepare for the Champions League and Darmstadt look to strengthen and survive once again. For now the curtains have been drawn on the Bundesliga season and there are plenty of memorable moments.