Fiorentina were as expected with Federico Bernardeschi returning, giving the viola a much needed creative boost, after his wonder goal in the 1-0 reverse fixture. It's the normal 3-4-2-1 system with a more familiar line-up than the previous game against Milan.
The Germans made one change from the first game at the Borussia Park with Jonas Hofman starting. They operate a 4-4-2 with Stindl and Hazard leading the line for the away side.
Both sides come off the back off league defeats to AC Milan and RB Leipzig, respectively.
It was Gladbach who started the brighter and almost gained an early lead as Hazard split the defense wide open. To the full-back Oscar Wendt. Who passed it across the 6-yard box. It could have been a goal if not from a vital interception from Milan Badelj.
Wendt was causing all sorts of problems down their left-hand side. The Swede whipped a ball into Vestergaard and Tatarasanu was beaten all ends up however, he was fortunate to see it crash off the bar and fall kindly in the Romanian’s gloves.
Against the run of play, it was Bernardeschi with a fantastic driving run to pick up the ball in his own half and power through the centre of the pitch, then slot it through to Nikola Kalinic who placed it in the far corner to perfection on 15 minutes. It was the Croats 5th goal in 7 home games and one of his most important.
Arguably the biggest cliche in football is that goals change games and that was certainly the case here. The emphasis of the game had completely swung in the home side's favor. The home side pushed for a secod as, Valero swung a cross in and the ball found its way to Chiesa who just couldn't scramble it home.
To make things even worse for "the German team,” Thorgan Hazard couldn't continue and had to be replaced by Josip Drmic on 26 minutes.
Just before the hour mark we got an absolute comedic error from Vestergaard, he completely missed his clearance and to add to his misery he fell to the ground to leave Borja Valero to pounce clean through on goal and finish brilliantly past Yann Sommer.
However, there was to be another twist in the fast and frantic half. Just before half time there was mass confusion in the box and it turned out Olivera had been adjudged to holding back Hermann and the extra official awarded a penalty. Captain Lars Stindl slotted home,to give Gladbach hope going into the second half.
Following on from a late first goal, Stindl gave Gladbach the perfect start. Following a corner, Drmic was denied by Tata and it fell for Stindl who couldn't miss. All of this only a minute into the second half and the worst possible start for Fiorentina.
Whatever Paolo Sousa said at half time it’s fair to say it didn't work.
It could have easily been 3-2 Fiorentina as Kalinic was put through through by Bernardeschi and he tried to round Sommer but just couldn’t find the space and neither could Chiesa who retrieved it.
Then, an incredible turn of events as Stindl got his Hat-rick. From a Hofman free kick, it was played across to the edge of the box and followed by a fantastic finish as the captain fired it low in the corner past Tatarasanu. Incredibly it was three goals in the space of 11 minutes for Gladbach captain.
It was a complete collapse as Andreas Christensen compounded the misery. Following a short corner, no one marked Hermann who crossed to the Dane, who got the run on the defence to nod home on 59 minutes.
64 minutes in, needing two goals, "logically" Sousa brought off Bernardeschi for Ilicic to the dismay of the supporters. Ilicic so almost justified Sousa's decision with a fantastic free kick. It was the Slovenian’s first touch and it was almost a golden one, denied only by an amazing save by Yann Sommer who somehow managed to get fingertips to Ilicic's shot, sending it crashing off the bar in the 67th minute.
With 10 minutes to play the away side, unsurprisingly shut up shop with la Viola needing two goals. Ilicic was the most likely to cut into the Gladbach lead with some long range efforts but neither anywhere near Sommer’s goal. Never really did Fiorentina look like they were going to get back into this one, and it subsequently ended in a crushing defeat.
Where does this leave Fiorentina? Season effectively over, boos all around the Artemio Franchi at full time. It's a sad time for the whole of Florence. Paulo Sousa's time must be at breaking point with fans firmly against him at the moment. This one really does leave a sour taste in the mouth. All hopes of a strong Europa League campaign to lift the fans after a struggling league season all lost.
Tātārusanu - 5: Couldn't really have done much for any of the goals in truth
Sanchez - 3: Isn't a Centre back. Plain and simple.
Gonzalo - 5: Wasn't his night, beaten too easily for the 4th goal.
Astori - 5: Left Drmic wide open for the third. Bad night for the defenders.
Olivera - 4: Might have been harsh but gave away a penalty.
Vecino - 5: Really not his finest night in a purple shirt. Stuggled to get a grasp on the game.
Badelj - 6: Was brought off for a more attacking approach, but not his fault for the loss.
Chiesa- 5: He tried and tried but nothing went his way. Good work rate as usual.
Bernardeschi - 6: Why oh why he was brought off? Everything good went through Berna. Bemusing decision by Sousa.
Valero - 6.5: He scored, worked hard, and put a lot more of a shift in that others.
Kalinic- 6.5: Scored a great goal, and should probably have scored a further goal to make it 2-2.
Ilicic- 5: So almost scored a beauty of a freekick. But in the end his shots were wild and never in danger of testing Sommer.
Babacar-3: Had next to no impact on the game.