Borussia Dortmund are hoping to maintain pressure on league leaders Bayern Munich as they take on Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

Marco Rose is set for a hostile return to Borussia Park as his former club Borussia Monchengladbach play hosts to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

It is going to be a feisty encounter with Gladbach fan groups already declaring their contempt over Rose’s decision to abruptly announce his deal with Dortmund mid-season, eventually derailing the team’s progress. The Foals ended up finishing eighth in the league table, missing out on European football and the fans have promised a cold welcome at Borussia Park, for the German tactician this week.

The Gladbach fans have had a frustrating year, in general, as things have not improved under new coach Adi Hutter. In fact, the Foals, usually expected to compete for European places, are dawdling in the relegation zone with just one win in five matches.

The former Eintracht Frankfurt head coach has actually registered the worst start for a new Gladbach trainer since Dick Advocaat in 2004. In the club’s footballing history, only Holger Fach, during the 2002/03 campaign, had picked up fewer points in his first five games.

On the opposite end, things are looking up for Rose with his new Dortmund side that has made a positive impression, securing four wins in five matches. The Black and Yellows are also coming on the back of a four-game winning streak in all competitions, which sees them trailing only VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich in the league table.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this enticing matchup that is often referred to as the “Borussia Derby”.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Monchengladbach

Adi Hutter will continue to deal with the injury problems of his two premier full-backs in Ramy Bensebaini and Stefan Lainer, joined by Marcus Thuram in Gladbach’s list of absentees. The Austrian would thus have to continue with the young full-back combination of Joe Scally and Luca Netz. It would have been exciting to see Scally come up against Giovanni Reyna of Dortmund, but the latter is injured.

Speaking of Dortmund, former BVB defender Matthias Ginter will spearhead the Gladbach defence alongside Nico Elvedi. The German international is also a threat from set-pieces, which happens to be one of the prime weaknesses of Rose’s team, who had almost given up a 3-0 lead to Union Berlin last weekend.

In midfield, the talented Denis Zakaria should continue in the double-pivot alongside Florian Neuhaus. The two provide good variety and balance in the middle of the park, with the latter likely to play a crucial role in finding runners using his ability to thread through passes in behind the backline.

That leads us to the attacking department of Gladbach, which may rely on the young Hannes Wolf on the left flank. The former Leipzig starlet has the pace to cause problems for the Dortmund defence, while the likes of Lars Stindl and Jonas Hofmann could also be a handful, as they look to operate just in behind the main striker in Alassane Plea.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Scally, Ginter, Elvedi, Netz; Zakaria, Neuhaus; Hofmann, Stindl, Wolf; Plea

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Borussia Dortmund

Marco Rose has been boosted by the return of Dan-Axel Zagadou and Nico Schulz this week, with both the defenders returning to training. Giovanni Reyna, Emre Can and Julian Brandt are also recovering quickly, though Saturday’s game may come a bit too soon for them.

Nevertheless, none of these players are expected to start against Gladbach, as Rose looks to persist with a similar lineup that secured a 4-2 victory over Union Berlin last weekend. But the German tactician will also have one eye on the important Champions League affair with Sporting CP in midweek.

Dortmund, though, are likely to prioritise the league, with Mats Hummels likely to start once again, alongside Manuel Akanji at the heart of the four-man backline. Thomas Meunier and Raphael Guerreiro operate as full-backs as usual, but the four must find a way to provide new goalkeeper Gregor Kobel with his first clean sheet for Dortmund.

Not many changes are expected elsewhere as Axel Witsel continues to fill in for the injured Brandt. He will operate in holding midfield, allowing Mahmoud Dahoud and Jude Bellingham to play a slightly wider role in a diamond-shaped midfield that ends with Marco Reus in the number ten slot.

The formula has worked out well for Dortmund this season, especially after the full-backs started delivering the goods out wide while the offensive combo of Erling Haaland and Donyell Malen is also starting to hit the ground running.

Probable Lineup (4-1-3-2): Kobel; Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Witsel; Bellingham, Reus, Dahoud; Haaland, Malen

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Key Stats

  • Gladbach top scorer Lars Stindl has lost 20 of his 23 career meetings with Borussia Dortmund, scoring just five times.
  • Matthias Ginter made 102 competitive appearances for Dortmund between 2014 and 2017 (78 starts). He’s started all 153 of his appearances for the Foals and sits second league-wide this term for challenges won (72 percent).
  • Gladbach have only fared worse after five matches of a Bundesliga season once in the last 10 years (2015/16 – five successive defeats).
  • Erling Haaland has scored 47 goals in 48 Bundesliga appearances, three in four against Gladbach among them.
  • Borussia Dortmund have won four of their opening five games for the 12th time. On 10 out of the last 11 such occasions, they have gone on to finish at least fourth in the final standings.

Player To Watch

Thomas Meunier

While the spotlight will certainly be on Erling Haaland and whether he can overtake Robert Lewandowski in the race for the Torjagerkanone, Thomas Meunier is arguably the most important player for Dortmund heading into this game.

After struggling in his debut campaign in Germany, the Belgian is finally starting to make his presence felt. Since returning to full fitness, the former PSG right-back has registered three assists in four competitive matches, including one in the win over Union Berlin.

Meunier has got forward well, making clever use of space and more importantly, driving in excellent crosses into the box. The vast improvement in Haaland’s heading game under Rose has only made Dortmund much more effective going forward., thus making Meunier the player worth keeping an eye on this weekend.

Prediction

Borussia Monchengladbach 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Monchengladbach do not have the best of records against Borussia Dortmund and their win earlier this year was the Foals’ only victory over BVB after a run of 11 consecutive defeats. Added to the historical deficit, the hosts aren’t in great form either, lacking sharpness, identity and cohesion.

It could lead to another defeat for Hutter’s men, but given their extensive knowledge of Rose’s tactics and the home support, this game may go down to the wire, with Haaland likely to bail Dortmund out once again.

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