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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Borussia Monchengladbach 2-2 Hamburg SV

Dominguez celebrates his stoppage time equalizer against Hamburg with teammate Xhaka

The young Spanish center back Alvaro Dominguez nodded home a stunning equalizer in stoppage time robbing the visiting Hamburg SV of all three points from their midweek meeting in the Bundesliga. 

The home side Borussia Monchengladbach were the first to concede in the 23rd minute when new signing Rafael van der Vaart netted a stunning strike from the wing. The curving shot beat the hands of Marc Andre ter Stegen by centimeters, hitting the side netting. Up until that point Gladbach had been prominent in the attack, getting off a few good chances from their front men Hanke and De Jong. It would be a member of Gladbach's defense who would grab them the equalizer in the 39th minute when Martin Stranzl scored a powerful header off of a Borussia corner kick. The level scoreline was a fair representation of the match, both sides were possessive and looked threatening in the attack. Gladbach favored the middle of the field to use their distributive and defensive minded midfielders Xhaka and Nordtveit while Hamburg favored their speedy wings and the experience and class of Rafa van der Vaart through the middle. As the halftime interval drew closer it looked like 1-1 would be the score heading into the locker room but just before the final whistle Hamburg's Artjoms Rudnevs found the back of the net. Hamburg had the 2-1 advantage at the break.
In the second half, both sides butted heads in the midfield again and each breakthrough from either side hit solid defensive lines. Although he had been the goal scoring hero in the first half, Stranzl was not so lucky in the second. In the 53rd minute, a Hamburg attacker went down in the box under his late tackle. Not only was a penalty awarded to the visitors, but Stranzl saw straight red, reducing his side to ten men and costing them a valuable defensive player. Video replay confirms that the tackle was late, but to Stranzl's defense Ivo Illicevic thought on his feet and left a trailing foot to catch the late tackle.
Rafael van der Vaart was not surprisingly the one to step up to the penalty spot to attempt to claim his second. It was all over in the minds of the crushed home fans in Borussia park, but as their luck would have it, van der Vaart's nonchalant effort kissed the post and he was denied another goal on the night. Had his effort been any closer to the inside of the goal, the young Marc Andre ter Stegen would have had it covered, guessing the right direction and extending at full stretch to ensure that the ball stayed out of his net.
The missed penalty fueled the Gladbach players and they began to throw it all on the line. To compensate for the missing defender manager Lucien Farve substituted out striker de Jong and attacking midfielder Hermann (although this change was brought about by an apparent injury). As stoppage time came closer and closer and the clock ticked on and on, even Farve had settled in his seat, attempting to swallow the defeat in the closely-matched game but in stoppage time, center back Alvaro Dominguez scored the dramatic equalizer with a stunning header from a set piece. Gladbach's aging Venezuelan midfielder Juan Arango sent the ball across the box, finding the head of his Spanish teammate and saving Gladbach from a costly defeat.

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