Bayern Munich travel to Borussia-Park on Saturday to face Borussia Monchengladbach in a massive encounter, pitting second against third in the Bundesliga table.
Bayern’s inconsistent first season under Niko Kovac saw the German giants falter during the first half of the season, allowing Borussia Dortmund to claim top spot in the Bundesliga. However, recent good form from the Bavarians, combined with the stuttering form of their arch-rivals, has seen Bayern move within three points of Dortmund.
Before Bayern can even contemplate catching Dortmund, there is the small matter of a trip to Monchengladbach to face the Bundesliga's surprise package of the season. After a disappointing 2017/2018 campaign, Die Fohlen have taken Germany by storm. Led by the scintillating form of Thorgan Hazard, 'Gladbach sits in third place, firmly in contention for a Champions League berth.
Check out 90min's preview for a match with titanic implications on both the title race and top four battle.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 2 March|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||17:30 (BST)|
|Where Is it Being Played?||Borussia-Park|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 2|
Borussia Monchengladbach manager Dieter Hecking will have a relatively full squad at his disposal with the only likely absences being Ibrahima Traore, who continues to face an extended spell on the sidelines following groin surgery, and youngster Michael Cuisance.
Niko Kovac will be without long term absentee Corentin Tolisso, who continues to rehab a season ending knee injury. Kingsley Coman will join his French compatriot in the treatment room with a thigh injury, while Saturday will likely come too soon for Arjen Robben as he continues to fight muscular ailments.
|Borussia Monchengladbach||Sommer; Johnson, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt; Zakaria, Kramer, Hofmann; Hazard, Stindl (c), Plea.|
||Neuer (c); Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba; Martinez, Thiago; Gnabry, James, Ribery; Lewandowski.|
Head to Head Record
Saturday's match will mark the 102nd occasion that these famous German clubs face off in the Bundesliga. Bayern has a clear historical advantage winning 48, drawing 29, and losing just 24 of those clashes.
However, the previous eight Bundesliga meetings have been much more even with Gladbach winning three, Bayern three, and two matches ending in draws. The reverse fixture in November saw Gladbach claim a historic 3-0 victory at the Allianz Arena, despite having just 28% of the ball.
After a terrific first half of the season, Gladbach have found things significantly more difficult after the winter break, scoring just six goals since the turn of the year. Gladbach's struggles in front of goal have seen them win just three of their last seven Bundesliga matches.
Bayern Munich, on the other hand, have gone in the exact opposite direction to their weekend foes. After a slow start, the reigning Champions have been in dazzling form over the last few months, winning ten out of 12 Bundesliga matches since losing 3-2 to Dortmund in November.
Here's how each team has fared over their last five matches in all competitions:
|Borussia Monchengladbach||Bayern Munich|
|Gladbach 0-3 Wolfsburg (23/02)||Bayern 1-0 Hertha Berlin (23/02)|
|Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Gladbach (17/02)||Liverpool 0-0 Bayern (19/02)|
|Gladbach 0-3 Hertha Berlin (09/02)||Augsburg 2-3 Bayern (15/02)|
|Schalke 0-2 Gladbach (02/02)||Bayern 3-1 Schalke (09/02)|
|Gladbach 2-0 Augsburg (26/01)||Hertha Berlin 2-3 Bayern (06/02)|
Bayern Munich have been steadily building confidence over the recent weeks and will go to Monchengladbach desperate to make a statement of intent in the title race.
Gladbach will be hoping that a strong performance can kick-start their floundering form, but it will take a similarly resolute and clinical display as their victory in November if they are to get anything from the match.
The ultimate performers under pressure, Bayern Munich will take one big step forward in the title race.
Borussia Monchengladbach 0-3 Bayern Munich