24 October 2014 02:54
Borussia Monchengladbach’s failure to score a second goal in the first half against Apollon Limassol left their coach worried at half-time.
While Lucien Favre declared his team’s 5-0 thrashing of Limassol in the UEFA Europa League was “absolutely deserved”, the 56-year-old tactician admitted the Cyprus-based club remained “alive” until Branimir Hrgota struck Gladbach’s second in the 56th minute.
Hrgota set up Ibrahima Traore for the home side’s opening goal after just 10 minutes but Gladbach wasted a number of opportunities before the break, including a close-range header to Max Kruse, to lead just 1-0 at half-time.
But the hosts’ second goal ended Limassol’s resistance at Borussia Park with Traore completing his brace in the 66th minute – again from a Hrgota assist – before Patrick Herrmann and an Angelis Angeli own goal completed the scoring.
“That we won the game 5-0, is absolutely deserved in my opinion, even if it was not as easy as it might have looked like,” Favre told Monchengladbach’s website.
“In the first half we missed the second goal and thus kept the enemy alive. So it was extremely important that we have remained calm in the second half and we have created a lot of chances.
“The 2-0 was crucial, then we achieved some nice results. Now we need to recover well, because there is not much time to prepare for Bayern [Munich in the Bundesliga on Sunday].”
Thursday’s win took Gladbach into second in Group A with five points, two ahead of third-placed Limassol, while Villarreal (seven points) remain top after a 4-1 win over Zurich.
Gladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka was dismissive of Limassol’s performance and argued they should have been out of the game at half-time.
“It was a deserved victory for us, we should have led already 3-0 or even 4-0 in the first half,” Xhaka said.
“Limassol has played very defensively, so it was important that we took an early lead.
“In the second half we have our chances very well utilized and scored good goals. We are still undefeated at home and really strong with our fans.
“We look forward to Bayern Munich and can go confidently into the game.”
Sunday’s Bundesliga clash between Bayern and Gladbach pits one against two in the standings with Favre’s men looking to reduce the reigning champions’ four-point lead.