Erling Haaland, Lars Stindl, Jude Bellingham and a host of other stars will be on show when Borussia Mönchengladbach face Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. - © DFL
Erling Haaland, Lars Stindl, Jude Bellingham and a host of other stars will be on show when Borussia Mönchengladbach face Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. - © DFL
bundesliga

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Borussia Dortmund: key battles

Will Erling Haaland continue his red-hot scoring streak? Can Marco Rose win on his return to his former club? And how will Joe Scally fare against Raphael Guerreiro? There's a lot to keep an eye on in the standout fixture on Matchday 6 when Borussia Mönchengladbach host Borussia Dortmund.

Where will the game be won and lost? We put some of the key match-ups under the microscope…

Erling Haaland vs. Matthias Ginter

Haaland is now in the category of player where it's a surprise when he doesn't score and merely routine when he does. That elite bracket includes the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo… and nobody else. The Norwegian's brace against Union Berlin last weekend bloated his haul to 11 goals in eight competitive games this season, and 68 in 67 games for the club overall.

Against that backdrop it's difficult not to feel a pang of sympathy for Gladbach, especially as the 21-year-old has already plundered four goals in three Bundesliga meetings with them - including doubles in each of the last two.

That sensation is heightened further when taking into account Haaland's two headed goals this season, equalling his tally in that metric for the whole of 2020/21. Head coach Rose revealed that his team's talisman has been working on heading in training, saying: "If that becomes a new string to his bow, then good luck to all the other teams that we still have to play."

Watch: Haaland was August's Bundesliga Player of the Month

Yet if anyone can stop Haaland, it's Ginter. At 6'3" he has the physique to withstand 90 minutes of rough and tumble with the Norwegian, while memories of Gladbach's 4-2 victory in the teams' last meeting - in January this year - offer cause for optimism.

"He's very, very solid," said Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl of the team's defensive pillar recently. "He's learned how to defend with greater intensity and bite. He's become a lot more robust."

It's just as well. The Foals haven't enjoyed the best of starts to life under new coach Adi Hütter, with just four points to show from their five league outings so far. But if anything can sharpen the senses, then it's an encounter with Dortmund's unrelenting attacker.

Joe Scally vs. Raphael Guerreiro

A bright spot in a tough start for Gladbach has been the emergence of American defender Scally. The 18-year-old has seized his opportunity, starting all five games so far and voted his team's Player of the Month for August by the club's supporters.

His Bundelsiga debut came in a draw with champions Bayern Munich on the opening day, describing it as a "crazy" experience and "like a dream". He performed well that night, though, something he says he knew he had in him.

"Finally I was able to show what I can do, and it surprised a lot of people," he told bundesliga.com.

Scally has operated mostly as a left-back this season, although he played at right wing-back in the recent win over Arminia Bielefeld. His versatility is not surprising given that he says his main strength is his athleticism, and he sees himself as a "very fast, strong, physical player who likes to get up and down the field."

Those attributes will be needed if he comes up against Dortmund left-back Guerreiro. The Portugal international is definitely in the attack-is-the-best-form-of-defence camp, as evidenced by back-to-back goals in the 4-3 win over Leverkusen and against Union.

Watch: Check out Guerreiro's stunner against Union Berlin

The 27-year-old first whipped home a sensational free-kick to make it 3-3 in Leverkusen on Matchday 4, then followed up by smashing home the opening goal on the volley against Union on Matchday 5.

"It's kind of normal," American attacker Gio Reyna said of Geurreiro's most recent wonder goal. "You expect something like this from him with the technique and the quality he has. But [it was an] amazing goal - and I'm sure he'll score more beauties."

"I think the second one - the goal against Union Berlin," Guerreiro said when asked by BVB TV about which of this season's two strikes he would pick for a highlights reel. "It was a crazy goal. I think it's the most beautiful goal in my life."

Guerreiro will be planning for more of the same against Gladbach, although he also hopes it will be coupled with Dortmunds first clean sheet of the Bundesliga campaign.

Lars Stindl vs. Marco Reus

Haaland's attacking feats may overshadow most of the rest of the football world currently, but there will be plenty more attacking talent on display at Borussia-Park on Saturday - Stindl and Reus chief among them.

Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus (l.) and Borussia Mönchengladbach skipper Lars Stindl (r.) have been battling it out in the Bundesliga for many years. - imago sportfotodienst/imago/DeFodi

Similar in age (33 and 32), position (as playmaking No.10s) and both captains of their respective sides, there is very little to choose between them. Stindl has a habit of rising to the big occasion, such as providing the assist in the 1-1 draw with Bayern on Matchday 1. He also scored twice in the 3-1 victory over Bielefeld, paving the way for the team's only league win in 2021/22.

"That's just one of his characteristics - he's there when you need him," said Hütter of his skipper earlier this term. Intelligent, elusive in his movement and with a knack of timing runs into the box to perfection, Stindl will be relishing the prospect of picking holes in a Dortmund defence that has already leaked 11 goals this season.

Reus himself lamented that fact after BVB's win over Union last Sunday. He said the team had made life "unnecessarily difficult" for themselves after allowing their opponents to pull back to 3-2 after going 3-0 up.

The good news for the Germany international is that he has been influential in making sure Die Schwarzgelben keep scoring more than they let in, with a goal and an assist under his belt already.

Watch: Dortmund's last away game was a seven-goal thriller

Reus also tends to really come alive against his former club. He has posted nine goals and seven assists in 15 games since returning to Dortmund from Gladbach in 2012. "Another tough game awaits us on Saturday," he said. "But three or four wins in a row now has given us confidence for it."

Gregor Kobel vs. Yann Sommer

Dortmund's ultra-attacking approach has undoubtedly led to some gaps at the back.

But their defensive record is likely to improve once the team is fully up to speed with new head coach Rose's demands, and also when summer signing Kobel is fully settled in.

The 23-year-old impressed at VfB Stuttgart before moving to Dortmund, and he has already made some very big saves for his new club - most notably in the 2-1 win victory over Besiktas in the UEFA Champions League.

Gregor Kobel has been a safe pair of hands since joining Borussia Dortmund this summer. - Sascha Meiser via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Jan Huebner

Kobel earned his first cap for Switzerland earlier this month, but he is likely to have to wait a little longer before he becomes the first-choice keeper for his country.

That's because Swiss UEFA Euro 2020 hero Sommer stands in his way.

"Yann is one of the best goalkeepers in Europe," Sommer's former coach Rose previously said. "Yann works hard every day to stay at the same level or even push further forward in some areas. He's an absolute role model."

The Gladbach custodian has been brilliant at club level for many years, but he has come to wider attention of late with some huge performances on international duty.

There was a hint of things to come when Sommer saved not one but two penalties from Spain legend Sergio Ramos in a UEFA Nations League game in November 2020, before he produced a series of stunning displays at the European Championship.

Most famously of all he made an incredible top-hand save to deny France's Kylian Mbappe in a penalty shootout to send Switzerland through to the quarter-finals, but he also made a string of brilliant stops against Spain in the last eight. There were 10 in total during the game itself, and another from Rodri in a shootout that Switzerland eventually lost.

If Ginter can't keep out Haaland, then maybe Sommer can.

Jude Bellingham vs. Denis Zakaria

Another big reason Dortmund have reeled off four successive wins in all competitions is the form of teenage central midfielder Bellingham. The England international has been exceptional this season, registering a goal and an assist from his five league starts so far.

Watch: Learn more about Bellingham's impact at Dortmund

The former Birmingham City player has also imposed himself in Europe, producing a goal and a matchwinning performance to lead Dortmund to victory against Besiktas in Turkey.

"Jude is the most mature 18-year-old player I've ever seen," Dortmund defender Mats Hummels said recently. "He's already a leader and also one of the most vocal in the team."

While Hummels says Bellingham is "on his way to the very top", Gladbach midfielder Zakaria will  hope to check his momentum.

The 24-year-old is certainly capable of doing that this weekend, having recovered his fitness in recent weeks to dislodge 2014 FIFA World Cup winner Christoph Kramer from the starting XI.

Watch: After Stindl's double, Zakaria scored against Bielefeld

The Switzerland international netted in Gladbach's last home game too, and another star turn this weekend could be just what's needed to kickstart the Foals' climb up the table.