Bayern Munich will look to maintain pressure on league leaders Borussia Dortmund as they travel to Borussia Park to face Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.
Bayern Munich have been in sensational form since the turn of the year, securing four wins out of five league games, that helped them reduce the gap from Borussia Dortmund to just three points.
However, the Bavarians will have to deal with another Borussia outfit as they travel to Gladbach on Saturday. The German champions have lacked the bite in attack, in recent weeks, having scored just one goal in the last two matches in all competitions.
Speaking of goals, Gladbach are coming on the back of a disastrous form, notably slumping to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat over VfL Wolfsburg in the last game. In fact, the Foals are winless in their last three league matches, during which they have conceded seven goals whilst scoring just once.
As a result, Dieter Hecking’s men are now running the risk of being overtaken by RB Leipzig in the third spot. Thus, the hosts will be looking to collect all three points but it will certainly prove to be difficult against a Bayern Munich side, who have enjoyed a rich vein of form in the Ruckrunde so far.
And here at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over these two sides ahead of their mouthwatering fixture on Saturday evening.
Team News & Tactics
Gladbach will have to deal with a couple of injury-related absentees this weekend, with Michael Cuisance and Ibrahima Traore facing a spell on the sidelines while Raffael is doubtful to feature against Bayern.
Coach Hecking could make a few alterations from the side that was completely outclassed by the Wolves last weekend. Michael Lang, for one, could return to the starting lineup, replacing Fabian Johnson in the right-back slot while Oscar Wendt, who has recently signed a contract extension, will retain his place on the opposite flank.
Gladbach are likely to stick with their trusted defensive duo of Matthias Ginter and Nico Elvedi, though both of them have looked quite shaky, of late. It will be interesting to see how they fare against the mighty Bayern attack this weekend.
In midfield, Florian Neuhaus could return to the starting eleven, replacing Denis Zakaria and the young playmaker will be partnered by Jonas Hofmann and Christoph Kramer, who will, no doubt, play a crucial in the holding midfield position.
The Gladbach attack will be led by Lars Stindl, whose work ethic will be vital in dealing with the technically astute Bayern Munich defenders. Stindl will be supported by the wide-duo of Patrick Herrmann and Thorgan Hazard, though Alassane Plea, who scored in the reverse fixture back in October, is also an option.
Probable Lineup (4-1-2-3): Sommer; Lang, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt; Kramer; Hofmann, Neuhaus; Herrmann, Stindl, Hazard.
Niko Kovac will be missing out on the services of Arjen Robben and Corentin Tolisso due to injury while Kingsley Coman and Franck Ribery were also ruled out against Gladbach due to lack of fitness.
Thus, the Croatian mastermind will be pretty much restricted in rotating his attacking unit. That means Thomas Muller could once again feature as the right-winger, with Serge Gnabry occupying the opposite flank. James Rodriguez, meanwhile, will retain his place as the lone attacking midfielder.
In midfield, Thiago Alcantara will return to the starting lineup and will partner Javi Martinez’s at the base of Bayern’s 4-2-3-1, with Leon Goretzka ruled out of the game with an ankle injury. Thiago started on the bench against Berlin last weekend but his presence in midfield will be a huge boon for the Bavarians as they aim to breach the Gladbach defence.
And finally, in defence, Mats Hummels could return to the heart of the Bayern Munich backline, replacing Jerome Boateng. The former Dortmund captain will be partnered by Niklas Sule.
Elsewhere, Joshua Kimmich and Rafinha are expected to occupy the fullback slots, with David Alaba ruled out, while Manuel Neuer is also expected to overcome his illness to feature in between the sticks for the visitors this weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Rafinha; Martinez, Alcantara; Muller, Rodriguez, Gnabry; Lewandowski.
- Bayern Munich have scored at least 2 goals in 8 of their last 9 away matches.
- Borussia Monchengladbach have lost both of their last two home matches 3-0, having previously recorded 12 consecutive Bundesliga home wins.
- Gladbach have conceded more goals in their last two home matches than they had in their previous 12 games at the Borussia Park combined (5).
- Bayern have lost six of their 15 Bundesliga matches against Gladbach since 2011-12 – more defeats than they’ve suffered against any other team during that time frame.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 13 of Gladbach‘s last 16 home game.
Player to Watch
With the Gladbach attack struggling to perform in recent weeks, the onus will be on Thorgan Hazard to provide the spark going forward for Dieter Hecking’s men this weekend.
Indeed, the Belgian international will remain the focal point of the Foals attack as they look to catch Bayern on the counter. His clever movements in and around the box coupled with his quick-feet could cause problems for the likes of Hummels and Sule, who are not known for their agility.
Thus, the Belgian could turn out to be quite difficult for the visitors this weekend – making him one of the players to watch out for in this enticing fixture.
Borussia Monchengladbach 0-1 Bayern Munich
Things haven’t been going well for Gladbach this year and considering their insipid performances in the past few weeks, it’s very unlikely they will able to do a double against Bayern. The Bavarians have individual quality in their ranks, but most importantly, they have fared well as a collective unit, making them the favourites to snatch all three points at Borussia Park on Saturday.