NORWICH City were defeated 2-0 by German side Borussia Monchengladbach at Carrow Road in their final pre-season friendly as focus now turns to the opening Barclays Premier League game against Fulham on August 18.
Goals in each half from Igor de Camargo and substitute Branimir Hrgota were enough to secure victory for the Champions League qualifiers, who gave City yet another tough test in a competitive game.
Manager Chris Hughton’s side created chances themselves, but Grant Holt, Robert Snodgrass, and Jonny Howson were all denied as the Canaries’ pre-season came to an end in front of an impressive 13,324 fans.
Hughton made no changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Hull City in midweek for his final pre-season friendly, with Snodgrass playing just behind Holt in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Bradley Johnson and Howson were flanked by Elliott Bennett, and Anthony Pilkington in midfield, whilst a defence of Russ Martin, Michael Turner, Marc Tierney, and Ryan Bennett started in front of John Ruddy
After a good start from City, Borussia were given an opportunity in the 11th minute, as Tierney brought down Herrmann on the edge of the area. Juan Arango took the free kick left footed, but fortunately Ruddy was able to watch the ball curl wide of his goal.
Monchengladbach’s summer signing Luuk de Jong then rattled the crossbar after connecting with a low cross, which should have served as a warning sign for City, because a few minutes later the visitors took the lead.
A break down the left resulted in a dangerous ball across the box that Ryan Bennett got a touch on, only to see it fall kindly for de Camargo to volley past Ruddy for 1-0.
After Johnson and Snodgrass had created openings, City’s best chance finally came in the 27th minute following a slick passing move from right to left. Snodgrass picked out Pilkington with a cross-field ball, then Johnson hit a first-time cross that found Holt, but the striker couldn’t beat Ter Stegen with his bullet header.
Goal scorer de Camergo then made a swift exit from the field of play in the 36th minute, as he was replaced by right winger Mike Hanke.
At the other end City pressed hard for an equaliser, this time from the left with Pilkington. He put an out swinging cross into the box that was nicked off the head of Snodgrass and fell to Elliott Bennett, but his powerful volley was blocked well.
As the half drew to a close it was the away side who had the best chance, with de Jong’s low cross turned agonisingly wide by Herrmann – the last effort of an entertaining opening 45 minutes.
- Norwich City 0, Borussia Monchengladbach
City came out unchanged for the second period, but it was the visitors who had the first meaningful chance in the 54th minute, when de Jong fired a monstrous right-footed effort just over Ruddy’s crossbar – a sign of intent from the dangerous 21-year-old.
Norwich really should have been level just minutes later though as an error from Havard Nordtveit allowed Snodgrass in one-on-one with Ter Stegen.
The former Leeds-man tried to take the ball around the ‘keeper, who recovered well, and by the time he played it across goal for Howson to have a shot, cover was on hand and it was deflected wide.
The Canaries then made a double change, with Elliott Bennett and Pilkington making way for Andrew Surman and Steve Morison in the 65th minute.
City were seeing more of the ball in dangerous areas, and despite some good approach play, were unable to test Ter Stegen, as Russ Martin’s 20-yard effort was closed down and blocked.
Monchengladbach danger man de Jong then left the field of play, but his replacement, Hrgota, ran clear of the back-line in the 80th minute, only to drag his effort wide.
Simeon Jackson and Leon Barnett both entered the fray for City, but as the game looked to be drifting towards its conclusion, the away side added a second through substitute Hrgota.
He broke free of the City defence, and confidently rounded Ruddy before slotting the ball into an empty net to seal a 2-0 defeat for City as attention now turns to the opening day clash away to Fulham.
- Norwich City 0, Borussia Monchengladbach 2