After such an impressive first half to the season, Lucien Favre's charges are now without a win since early December, and were dramatically denied victory lowly SV Werder Bremen last weekend. Now the remit is to finally get back to winning ways.
Herrmann: 'Need to do better - and believe'
"It's about time we won," admitted Gladbach winger Patrick Herrmann to Rheinische Post. "We haven't been clinical enough in front of goal recently and we would have won if we'd taken our chances against Bremen. Now it's time to do better. We need to believe."
Having looked a serious contender for UEFA Champions League qualification after finishing the Hinrunde in third place, the Foals have suffered a severe dip in form lately, slipping into sixth. At his pre-match press conference, head coach Favre left little doubt as to how keen they are to kick-start 2014 by beating Hoffenheim, though he warned it would be far from easy.
Arango likely to be fit
"Hoffenheim are a very, very quick side, really strong on the break. They’re a quality team, especially going forward," said the Swiss tactician, who hinted that Gladbach, who have only managed a paltry two wins against the Kraichgauer in 14 previous meetings, may well take an adventurous approach to the game. "We'll have to play high up the pitch and try and press them back."
Left-back Oscar Wendt misses out with injury, although Herrmann and his wing companion Juan Arango should be able to play having both returned to team training on Thursday. Hoffenheim, meanwhile, will have to do without the services of suspended midfielder Eugen Polanski as well as long-term absentee Boris Vukcevic .
Abraham: Grown in confidence
Markus Gisdol’s increased their seven-point margin to the relegation zone following their Matchday 21 victory at home to Baden-Württemberg rivals VfB Stuttgart last week, and their objective will be to continue to put more distance between themselves and the relegation mire. "That victory gave us a bit of breathing space," said centre-back David Abraham, "but we still need every point."
The 27-year-old is well aware that, despite Mönchengladbach's current struggle, the five-time Bundesliga champions - whose 25 points from 11 matches is also the second-best home record in the division at present - are a side to be reckoned with. "It will be a difficult game because Gladbach have a great squad. Raffael and Max Kruse great players, but they're clearly not their only ones."
Abraham, an Under-20 FIFA World Champion with Argentina, also believes, however, that Hoffenheim have become a side who are difficult to beat, following their recent performances. "We’ve played well as a team over the last few weeks and have been very compact, which has given us confidence. A win is possible in Mönchengladbach if we’re smart in the way we play."
Mönchengladbach: ter Stegen - Korb, Jantschke, Stranzl, Daems - Kramer, G. Xhaka - Herrmann, Hrgota - Raffael - M. Kruse
Hoffenheim: Casteels - Beck, Abraham, Süle, F. Johnson - Salihovic, Rudy - Volland, Roberto Firmino, Herdling - Schipplock