League leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach go into their Matchday 14 clash with Bayern Munich with plenty of good reasons to be confident of cutting the record champions down to size.
The Foals have topped the Bundesliga since Matchday 7 and a further win in Saturday's big match would see them pull seven points clear of Hansi Flick's defending champions. That would be some advantage, but don't be surprised if they establish it, as bundesliga.com presents five reasons why Gladbach will beat Bayern this weekend.
1) Gladbach's fearsome forward line
Only two teams – Bayern included – have scored more than Gladbach in the Bundesliga this season, yet their 28 goals have come from 10 different players, with 20 of them spread quite evenly across the shoulders of four forwards. Bayern, by comparison, have been heavily reliant on Robert Lewandowski, who has supplied 16 – or 47 per cent – of their 34 goals.
Take Lewandowski out of Bayern's team and you practically halve their goalscoring potential. Remove one of Breel Embolo, Patrick Herrmann, Alassane Plea or Marcus Thuram from the Foals' starting XI, on the other hand, and you still have plenty of ammunition waiting in the wings. Indeed, this spread of goals has been one of Gladbach's biggest strengths this season, with newcomer Thuram twice winning the Bundesliga's Rookie of the Month award for his show-stopping performances.
Throw in the fact Bayern are being forced to play with a makeshift defensive line, due to injuries to Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez, and all four of Gladbach's forwards will be licking their lips in anticipation of being picked to face Bayern this weekend.
2) Built on solid foundations
Complementing Gladbach's fearsome attack is a defence which is the envy of the Bundesliga. Only Wolfsburg have conceded fewer than Gladbach (and RB Leipzig) so far this season, with Yann Sommer forced to fish the ball out of his own net just 15 times. Consistency could be behind that impressive statistic, with coach Marco Rose fortunate to be able to name largely an unchanged side week in, week out.
Watch: Marco Rose's Gladbach under the tactical microscope
Nico Elvedi, Matthias Ginter, Stefan Lainer, Oscar Wendt and Tony Jantschke have all provided phenomenal protection to Sommer's goal, while also supplying four of the Foals' goals this season. How might they cope with Lewandowski, you might ask?
Well, the prolific Pole appears to lose that adjective when he heads to Mönchengladbach. He has scored just four in 15 games against Gladbach, ending up on the losing side seven times and winning only six – the only Bundesliga team he has a negative record against.
The Gladbach defence therefore has no justifiable reason to fear one of the world's greatest strikers of all time.
3) Sommer, all year long
Summer may be a distant memory, but standing between the Gladbach posts is arguably the league's most consistent performer and a man who is forecast to shine in all seasons: Yann Sommer. The Swiss custodian is second only to Union Berlin's Rafal Gikiewicz in terms of shots saved this season, with 49 efforts on goal nullified by the Swiss stopper.
At the other end of the field is a man Sommer – like many modern goalkeepers – aspires to, and it appears Manuel Neuer's sweeper-keeper antics have been refined by the last line of the Gladbach defence, who boasts an impressive 81.3 per cent pass success rate from a whopping 412 attempted passes from open play. Neuer, by comparison, has played the ball out from the back just 385 times.
This underlines how strong Sommer is not only in making saves – a goalkeeper's bread and butter – but how heavily involved in his team's build-up play he has become.
4) Borussia go barmy against Bayern
When Bayern's bus rolls up at Borussia-Park, you can imagine there being a little more trepidation than usual in the record champions’ minds. While the Bavarians boast broad-shoulder-boosting records against most of their Bundesliga rivals, Gladbach are something of an exception; something of a bogey team.
Since 2014, no other club have taken as many points off Bayern as Gladbach. In 10 meetings, they have picked up 14 points, while they have a remarkable 20 home wins against the defending champions, who have an average of just 1.1 points from all of their trips to Mönchengladbach. Since 2011, Bayern have lost six out of 16 meetings – more than against any other Bundesliga club.
Herrmann has played in five of those wins, and scored four times. He has scored more only against Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim, and will fancy his chances of boosting his own goals and wins record this weekend.
Watch: Gladbach storm Munich for a 3-0 win in 2018
5) Counterattacking kings
Herrmann is at home in a brand of football which, over the years, Borussia have constantly refined to a level that coach Rose has raised even higher this term. Six of the Foals' goals this season have come from counter-attacks, with only Leipzig leading them in that particular ranking with seven.
Quick interchanging passes, wingers cantering full-throttle down the wing and men in the middle to supply the finish – Gladbach have got the perfect ingredients for deadly breaks, and with Bayern likely to attack them more than many opponents they face, this is sure to provide them with plenty of opportunities to show what they can do on the counter.
Consider also that Bayern have conceded five of their 18 goals this season on the counter-attack, at a league-high 28 per cent of all their goals conceded, and there you have another strong argument as to why Borussia will be celebrating another major victory on Saturday, and cementing their place at the top of the Bundesliga.