Borussia Moenchengladbach completed a memorable comeback to stay in the Bundesliga next season, edging past second division VfL Bochum with a 2-1 aggregate relegation playoff win after a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.
Striker Marco Reus, who had been doubtful after picking up a muscle injury in the first leg, scored the equalizer in the 72nd minute for ’Gladbach, who twice hit the woodwork and had won the first leg 1-0 last week.
The five-times Bundesliga champions had won three and drawn one in their last four games of the season under Swiss coach Lucien Favre, climbing out of bottom place to clinch the playoff spot on the last match day.
“This is fantastic,” said Favre, who took over in February and quickly turned the fate of the club around. “This team showed a lot of character. We always believed we can do it.”
VfL Bochum had booked their playoff spot by finishing third in the second division.
The hosts were determined to return to top flight soccer a year after going down and canceled out ’Gladbach’s first leg advantage when Christoph Dabrowski cut a pass back into the box and Gladbach’s Havard Nordtveit tapped it into his own net after 24 minutes.
Bochum weathered a Gladbach storm late in the first half and were lucky when Mohamadou Idrissou powered his header against the crossbar three minutes before the break.
The visitors kept at it with Idrissou coming close again with another header, but it was his substitute, Igor de Camargo, who fed Reus a perfect pass to slot in from 10m four minutes after coming on.