FRANKFURT, Germany (Reuters) - Borussia Moenchengladbach boosted their hopes of winning a first Bundesliga title since 1977 after early goals from Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram helped them secure a 3-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Gladbach, who went 2-0 up in seven minutes before adding another through Ramy Bensebaini's penalty in the second half, moved up one place to third on 52 points from 26 games, three behind champions and leaders Bayern Munich who visit Union Berlin on Sunday.
Frankfurt, who have now lost four league games in a row, slipped one place to 13th on 28 points after getting a rude awakening as the league returned after a two-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plea fired the visitors ahead after 40 seconds when he slid in to steer the ball past goalkeeper Kevin Trapp into the far corner after exchanging a one-two with Jonas Hofmann.
Thuram added the second with a simple tap-in from two metres into an empty net after a low cross from the left by Bensebaini.
Plea then missed several chances as he was denied by Trapp three times and also hit the woodwork with a rasping shot before he won a penalty for the visitors when he was bundled over in the 73rd minute.
Bensebaini converted the spot kick before halftime substitute Andre Silva netted a late consolation for the home side with a fine shot from inside the penalty area.
Hofmann was guilty of an astonishing miss in the dying minutes when he rounded Trapp and had the goal at his mercy but dwelled on the ball and allowed Martin Hinteregger to clear his shot off the line.
Like the day's early fixtures, the match was played with no spectators present as the Bundesliga sprung back into action.
Gladbach are at home to Bayer Leverkusen in the next round of matches while Frankfurt visit Bayern.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis)