Bayern Munich will be hoping to secure their ninth consecutive Bundesliga title when they take on Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.
Following a week-long hiatus, the Bundesliga returns to action this weekend, with league leaders Bayern Munich hoping to clinch the title by securing points in Saturday’s topspiel against Borussia Monchengladbach at the Allianz Arena.
Currently leading the table by a margin of seven points, with three matches remaining, Bayern Munich must grab all three points in order to secure the title themselves. Alternatively, they could hope RB Leipzig to lose their clash against Borussia Dortmund, in what will be a rehearsal of next week’s DFB Pokal final.
The Bavarians are coming on the back of a 2-1 defeat to 1.FSV Mainz – a result that delayed their inevitable coronation. And while Gladbach may seem like a tougher nut to crack on paper, the Foals have had a mixed run of form, of late.
Gladbach did, however, secure a thumping 5-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld in their most recent game and had also recently beaten Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0. These results have had a massive impact in the relegation fight as well as the race for the top four places, but it has also enabled Marco Rose’s men to make a late push for the top six spots.
The Foals are currently trailing sixth-placed Bayer Leverkusen by four points, and the gap could potentially be reduced to just one, should they win against Bayern Munich. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at their chances of doing so, in this crucial match-up in the Bundesliga this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Despite the defeat in the previous game, Bayern Munich’s outing against Mainz saw the return of key players like Robert Lewandowski and Leon Goretzka, while Serge Gnabry also appeared from the bench. Head coach Hansi Flick is likely to retain most of the players he started with in the last game.
However, there could be a start for Gnabry, who will be desperate to end the campaign on a positive note after struggling with inconsistency for the most part this season. The German should form Bayern’s creative trifecta alongside Kingsley Coman and Thomas Muller as they look to supply Lewandowski upfront.
The additional push in midfield could be provided by Leon Goretzka, who has a tendency to make driving runs into the final third. He can also find himself in scoring positions and is even a threat from set-pieces. Goretzka’s return, therefore, will certainly be a boost, especially alongside Joshua Kimmich in the double pivot, although the duo were unable to do much against Mainz.
Defensively, Jerome Boateng is hugely favoured by Hansi Flick, along with David Alaba. And with the two players set to leave the club in the summer, they are expected to start each of Bayern’s last three matches, at the heart of the four-man backline.
Elsewhere, Flick is likely to persist with Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies, with the latter providing the width and the speed going forward. Pavard, though, will hope to remain deep, and perhaps even rehearse for the right-sided centre-back role he might play under new coach Julian Nagelsmann next season.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski
Borussia Monchengladbach ran riot against the Arminia Bielefeld defence in their last Bundesliga game, but things are going to get much tougher against a Bayern Munich side that is expected to dominate possession.
Marco Rose will, therefore, have to make some key adjustments in regards to his team selection on Saturday. One of the players likely to make the way is Breel Embolo despite his brace against Bielefeld, as Gladbach do indeed need the brains of captain Lars Stindl in order to thrive in this encounter.
The German international should spearhead the Foals’ attack alongside Marcus Thuram and Jonas Hofmann, with the latter having the license to drop deep if necessary and aid the three midfielders in the second line of press.
Denis Zakaria, in particular, plays a key role in this setup. The Swiss international can effortlessly interchange between a central and a wide midfield role that allows him to cover for Hofmann while also aiding Florian Neuhaus and Christoph Kramer, as Rose switches to a 4-3-3 against Bayern Munich.
The shift to a four-man backline should see Valentino Lazaro make way, with Ramy Bensebaini returning to his favoured left-back role while Matthias Ginter and Nico Elvedi are hoping to marshall the defence, protecting Yan Sommer in between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Zakaria, Kramer, Neuhaus; Hofmann, Stindl, Thuram
- Two of Hansi Flick’s seven defeats in his 83 competitive matches in charge of Bayern Munich have come against Borussia Monchengladbach.
- Bayern Munich have conceded their highest number of goals after 31 matches (40) in 25 years.
- Since the start of 2014/15, no team has taken more points off Bayern Munich than Gladbach (20 in 13 Bundesliga matches).
- The Foals’ joint-best marksman last term, Marcus Thuram has scored seven Bundesliga goals this season, albeit with only one coming away from home.
- Indeed, Gladbach have the worst away record of all teams in the current top seven (18 points from 15 games), winning only one of their last eight on the road.
Player to Watch
All eyes will be on Robert Lewandowski in this crucial tie as the Bayern Munich attacker eyes the ultimate record of Gerd Muller’s 40 goals in a single Bundesliga campaign. The Pole currently has 36 strikes against his name and needs to score five times in the remaining three matches.
He was quite unfortunate to have picked up an injury and things could be difficult against Gladbach as he has tallied just five in 17 league meetings with Gladbach. That is his lowest return of all current Bundesliga teams he has faced more than three times, not including Bayern. Lewandowski, therefore, has a point to prove and this is when he shines the most, making him the player to keep an eye on this weekend.
Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
This is a difficult game to predict as Borussia Monchengladbach are usually a difficult team to beat, as far as Bayern are concerned. However, the Foals have never been the same since the announcement of Marco Rose’s appointment as the new Borussia Dortmund boss.
The Bavarians, in contrast, are desperate to get back to winning ways, as they hope to secure the league title this weekend. We are, thus, expecting a narrow victory for the Rekordmeister, especially considering the game is at the Allianz Arena, as Gladbach do boast an awful away record. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Bayern Munich.