BERLIN (Reuters) - Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea combined to score three goals as Borussia Moenchengladbach crushed Union Berlin 4-1 on Sunday to reclaim third place in the Bundesliga with five matches left.
The 22-year-old Thuram headed in at the far post from fellow Frenchman Plea's cross in the 41st minute after Florian Neuhaus had put the hosts ahead in the 17th with a solo run.
Thuram went down on his knee in memory of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minnesota after a white police officer knelt on his neck, sparking widespread protests in the United States.
Sebastian Andersson briefly cut the deficit for the visitors five minutes after the restart.
But the hosts, playing fluid football in front of empty stands filled with cardboard cutouts of fans, were far superior, constantly finding space to attack.
Thuram, the son of 1998 World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, grabbed his second goal on the hour, tapping in at the far post after Plea threaded another pass through the Union defence.
Plea turned scorer himself with a well-timed left-footed shot to join Thuram on 10 goals this season and put Gladbach back in the mix for a Champions League spot with their first win in three games.
"We did what we set out to do," Gladbach coach Marco Rose said. "When we had possession we were dominant even though we made one or two mistakes more than we should. But we scored four good goals and I am obviously very satisfied with the performance and the result."
The Bundesliga became the first major sports league to restart two weeks ago after a break of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Foals, who next travel to Freiburg, are third in the standings on 56 points, ahead of Bayer Leverkusen on goal difference. RB Leipzig, fifth on 55, take on Cologne on Monday.
Promoted Union have now gone six games without a win to drop down to 14th, four points above the relegation playoff spot.
Bayern Munich lead the standings on 67 following their 5-0 demolition of Fortuna Duesseldorf on Saturday.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge)