Mönchengladbach With their advantage game against Ukraine’s national team, Borussia not only sent an important signal, but were also good test opponents in the 1-2 defeat. What did Lars Stindl and Yann Sommer say about the impressive evening.
The match between Borussia and the Ukrainian national team had not yet started when thunderous applause sounded for the first time in Borussia Park on Wednesday night. A video message was displayed on the screen and it did not come from anyone but from Wladimir Klitschko.
“Hello Borussia-Park, I’m talking to you from Kiev,” Klitschko began the message, which lasted about a minute. As soon as he said these words, he had the full attention of the whole audience, which included many of Klitschko’s countrymen. “We will not give up defending our lives in freedom. Thank you all for your great help. I am actually a very ambitious person and I love competition, but today I can not take sides because both teams play for us, Said the former boxing world champion.
Fans were also moved by the words of Ukrainian and ex-Borussian Andriy Voronin, active in Gladbach from 1995 to 2000, who reported on his flight from Russia, where he worked as Dynamo Moscow coach until early March. With comforting applause, Ukrainian flags were waved in the stands, exceptionally blue and yellow dominated instead of black, white and green. Several spectators had the national colors painted on their cheeks around the stadium before kick-off.
The national anthem, which was performed live, moved some fans to tears, generally it was an emotional hour that was about community. There was suitably a common team picture after both teams had arrived. “Stop war” was written on the banner that Borussia and the Ukrainians stood behind. “There was a very special atmosphere before the match started, we felt the emotions of all players, coaches and support staff in Ukraine,” reported Gladbach captain Lars Stindl.
There was no doubt for the team to play this match against Hoffenheim three days before the season finale. “We were able to put a small mark in sporting, political, but above all human terms. And if we were able to give people two hours of distraction, it was definitely worth it,” Stindl said. Yann Sommer also stressed : “This is a very important event. We were able to help the people of Ukraine and also the national team a little bit, “said the goalkeeper, who like Stindl was used in the first half.
Gladbach’s coach Adi Hütter sent a starter into the race, where the spectators were especially enthusiastic about Rocco Reitz, who after his loan can only be used in competitive matches again next season, and Conor Noss. Noss must have experienced one of his best moments so far in the 13th minute. The 21-year-old first captured the ball in the penalty area and then finished it with a flick to make it 1-1. Mykhaylo Mudryk, who has been at Shakhtar Donetsk since 2021, had previously taken the lead after beating Matthias Ginter in a running duel and corner goalkeeper Yann Sommer. The cheers that rose from the throats of the 20,223 spectators could be heard, there were still applause from almost everyone present.
A goal was scored before the break, but Alassane Plea was dismissed for being offside. On the Ukrainian side, the 21-year-old goal scorer Mudryk, who is said to be the target of Gladbach’s league rivals Bayer 04 Leverkusen, attracted attention with some successful offensive actions. Hütter picked up eight new players in the second half. And the referee was also changed: Daniel Siebert took over command of his Ukrainian colleague Denys Shurman as planned.
Sippel was beaten for the first time in the 52nd minute, Elvedi saved an attempt by Mudryk – who else – on the line. The Gladbachers appeared less often in front of the Ukrainian goal, the best chance was missed by Keanan Bennetts, who shot past the goal free-standing in the 72nd minute. The Ukrainians did better and scored the winning goal after a nice combination by Oleksandr Pikhalionok. However, it did not bother any Gladbacher on this emotionally charged evening.
Here is the picture gallery: Borussia and Ukraine send message of peace