City failed to replicate the intensity of their victory over Barcelona earlier this month, and both sides had a man sent off in a disjointed game, but David Silva’s equaliser ensured their progress from Group C.
Raffael gave City cause for concern with a superb strike midway through the first half at a lively Borussia-Park but Silva changed the complexion of the game just before the interval.
The dismissals of Lars Stindl and Fernandinho for second bookable offences early in the second half sucked life out of the game and City ended up playing for the final whistle.
Monchengladbach also faded as the game wore on and settled for a result which guaranteed them third place in the group and a tilt at the Europa League after Christmas.
City looked uncertain at the back and were punished when Stindl got the better of John Stones out wide and fed Raffael, who lashed home a fierce shot from the edge of the area.
Monchengladbach were reduced to 10 men after 52 minutes when Stindl, booked for a foul on De Bruyne in the first half, received a second yellow card following a clash with Otamendi.
Yet just as City might have sensed their opportunity, they also lost a man as Fernandinho was given his marching orders when he was deemed to have impeded Raffael and earned his second booking.
The double dismissal robbed the game of what fluency it had, and the game meandered to its conclusion.
Sommer, Elvedi, Christensen,Jantschke, Wendt, Traore (Hofmann 41), Dahoud (Vestergaard 60), Strobl, Johnson, Stindl, Raffael (Hahn 84).
Bravo, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Stones, Kolarov, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Silva, Jesus Navas, Aguero, Sterling (Sagna 68).
Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey).