Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach: AWS match facts analysis
A game of historic importance is set to light up the Bundesliga this weekend when top-of-the-table Bayern host second-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bavarian capital; but just who holds the edge when it comes to the key numbers? bundesliga.com considers the big-match stats ahead of Saturday's colossal fixture.
It's almost as if Gladbach have been waiting for this one, within arms reach of Bayern as the Foals are right now. The defending champions have enjoyed a 100 per cent start to proceedings with three wins from three, while this weekend's visitors to the Allianz Arena are one of three other unbeaten sides on seven points. Should they win, Daniel Farke's high flyers could even hit the league summit, a possibility that should not be discounted when you consider Borussia have had a better record than any other team against Bayern since the summer of 2011.
Yet how have the teams, who once battled for every top-flight title during the 1970s, actually fared in the current campaign to date? In terms of attack, Bayern are once again out in front. Julian Nagelsmann's side have scored a Bundesliga-leading 15 goals, had most shots on goal (69) and are way outings front in terms of their xGoals value (8.5).
Watch: Bayern blew Bochum away on Matchday 3
xGoals: Bayern more efficient
With 15 goals scored already compared to their 8.5 xGoals, Bayern have far exceeded the amount of goals they would have been expected to score. With a finishing efficiency of +6.5, the reigning champions lead the league-wide statistics by some distance. Bayern's opponents on Saturday cannot keep pace with those numbers. With 6.6 xGoals compared to the six the team have actually scored, Farke's side have a negative finishing efficiency rate (-0.6) and are thus below the Bundesliga average (+0.6).
That said, Gladbach's players do get opportunities. In Jonas Hofmann (1.8 xGoals) and Alassane Plea (1.6 xGoals), Borussia have two players in the top 10 for the highest rate of xGoals in the Bundesliga this season. The downside for both is that they have each scored just once and have not been at their most prolific up top. A missed Hofmann penalty on Matchday 3 and several chances spurned by Plea in the league opener against Hoffenheim are the main reasons for their respective low tallies.
Watch: Plea penalty fires Gladbach past Hertha
Davies and Thuram: the 2022/23 speed kings
Bayern's forwards are doing better. Sadio Mane (2.1 xGoals) and Jamal Musiala (1.7 xGoals) are also among the top 10 players with the most xGoals. With three goals each this season, the pair have found the net more often than anticipated.
As well as efficiency in front of goal, one more key factor in Saturday's encounter could be speed. In Alphonso Davies (22.35 mph) and Marcus Thuram (22.19 mph) Bayern and Gladbach boast by far two of the fastest players in the Bundesliga this season. The good news for Bayern is that their speed demon Davies and goal-getter Musiala were back in training this week and appear ready for action at the Allianz Arena on Saturday after both missed out on the Matchday 3 win in Bochum.
However, the hosts will need to be wary of Gladbach's Thuram, with the French forward firing off a league-high 11 shots on goal so far this season.
Watch: Gladbach's renaissance under Daniel Farke
Set-pieces to make the difference?
In two of Gladbach's three games this season, Thuram was their most pressed player. On the Bayern side, it is perhaps not all that surprising to see that Musiala falls under that particular category, with the record champions' opponents keen to apply maximum pressure to the 19-year-old during the sides' opening two games.
Should both sides cancel each other out in open play on Saturday, dead-balls could prove the deciding factor. Gladbach are the only team to have scored twice from corners this season and, with a corner-kick danger 147 per cent above the league average, lead the way in the division.
Bayern, meanwhile, are a little more dangerous when it comes to free kicks. Nagelsmann's side lie in second place in the Bundesliga with a free-kick risk factor 111 per cent above the league average. Dead-ball specialist Joshua Kimmich became the first player this season to score direct from a free kick. Gladbach have yet to find the net from a free-kick, but they have had four attempts from set-pieces, twice as many as Bayern.
So will it be goalscoring efficiency, speed or dead ball situations that prove the deciding factor when Bayern host Gladbach on Saturday? You can find out by following all of the big-match action right here on bundesliga.com and across our social networks from 18:30 CEST.
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