Karim Benzema, an acrobatic return in the area (87th), and Casimiro in the third minute of added time responded to a double from the young French hopeful Marcus Thuram, and saved the White House from further humiliation in the queen competition .
After the 0-0 draw between Schakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan, however, this draw leaves Real in last position of the group with only one point. Donetsk leads with 4 pts, M’Gladbach and Inter follow at two lengths.
The days to come may therefore be difficult for Zinédine Zidane, whose three consecutive titles in the Champions League (2016, 2017, 2018) now seem far away.
Because after a mixed start to the season, Real and his coach had a great need to raise the bar.
“We know the importance of this match after the defeat against Donetsk,” warned the experienced German international midfielder Toni Kroos (30 years, 100 caps): “We are already under pressure. This match is nothing more than a final “.
– Boxer without punch –
But which Real were we going to see behind closed doors at Mönchengladbach? The confused and apathetic team, orphan of its captain Sergio Ramos, defeated 3-2 at home in the Champions League by Shakhtar Donetsk a week earlier? Where the conquering block winner 3-1 of the clasico in Barcelona on Saturday, this time with Ramos?
In search of certainty, Zidane had returned the winning team of the clasico, with the exception of Nacho, injured, who gave way to Lucas Vasquez on the right of the four-way defense. Rodrygo and former Golden Ball Lucas Modric, who entered the second half at Barcelona, found the bench.
Real were not listless, but rather like a boxer without a punch. The team circled their opponent for a very long time, harassed him with brilliant combinations often initiated by Benzéma, obtained in the first half five corners where Ramos and Varane tried to put the lead, but they finally showed themselves unable to deal the blows that hurt.
Results at the break: seven shots on goal for Real, against only one for Mönchengladbach. But 1-0 for the Germans!
In the 33rd minute, Marcus Thuram, the son of Lilian Thuram, scored at 23 his first goal in the Champions League, with a powerful shot after a good serve from his compatriot Alassane Pléa.
– Zidane reacts late –
Upon returning from the locker room, Real tried to move up a gear, and dangerous actions multiplied on Yann Sommer’s goal. But the Merengue were fishing constantly at the time of the last pass.
In the 58th minute, Thuram in the area did it again (2-0), taking advantage of a poor placement of the defense. And two minutes later, Courtois avoided the sinking by saving in extremis in front of Pléa.
At 2-0, Zidane reacted late, bringing in Luka Modric and Eden Hazard in the 70th minute. The Belgian, star rookie of the summer of 2019 at 115 million euros, was back in the squad, after coming to the end of a long muscle injury to the thigh.
But he had not played again in competition since the round of 16 second leg of the Champions League lost by the Merengues on the ground of Manchester City (1-2, 2-1) in August.
Hazard, on a center of Benzema, placed a ball in the small net (73rd) which made Borussia tremble.
The fate of the match was finally decided in the last minutes. Real avoided a defeat, but Zidane has certainly not secured his future on the bench yet.