Old foes meet at Borussia-Park on Friday as league leaders Bayern Munich face a title test against Borussia Mönchengladbach with fascinating match-ups across the pitch. - © /
Old foes meet at Borussia-Park on Friday as league leaders Bayern Munich face a title test against Borussia Mönchengladbach with fascinating match-ups across the pitch. - © /
bundesliga

How do Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayern Munich compare?

There is no break from the top-of-the-table tussles to test Bayern Munich's credentials for a ninth straight Bundesliga title, with Borussia Mönchengladbach – one of the few teams to beat Hansi Flick's men – next up for the treble winners.

Looking ahead to Friday night's battle at Borussia-Park, bundesliga.com assesses how the two sides compare.

Breel Embolo vs. Robert Lewandowski

Granted, comparisons with The Best FIFA Player in the world Robert Lewandowski are unfair on the person being mentioned in the same breath as a man who has made the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo look mortal over the past year, but on recent form, Embolo can give even the prolific Pole a run for his money.

With three goals in his past five outings, plus an assist, the Swiss forward has been the protagonist of an attack brimming with talent. With Marcus Thuram suspended, he will be leading the Foals' attack in more ways than one – and in ways not even Lewandowski contributes for the record champions.

Watch: Embolo was the hero for Gladbach as they beat Arminia Bielefeld last weekend

His 166 tackles won are 43 more than Lewandowski, while his top speed is also superior (34.16 to 33.45 km/h), coming from among his 240 sprints compared to Lewandowski's 231. For work rate, Embolo cannot be faulted, and his recent impact in front of goal is quite impressive. It could be even greater up against a Bayern defence that has conceded first for the last eight matches.

However, Lewandowski's return of 19 goals so far this season, in just 13 appearances, makes him untouchable. Gerd Müller's single-season record of 40 goals is under serious threat as the world's best striker delivers his best form ever.

With a goal every 57 minutes on average this season, Lewandowski has raised his own outstanding levels of prolificacy, and the man who topped the scoring charts in all three competitions he appeared in last term – the Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup – is showing absolutely no sign of abdicating. It goes without saying that Lewandowski would put any team at an advantage.

Watch: Lewandowski's first 251 Bundesliga goals

Lars Stindl vs. Thomas Müller

With such a supply as the one provided by Thomas Müller, scoring is always going to be that little bit easier, whether you're Lewandowski or not. Indeed, the German 'space-interpreter' has a league-leading eight assists to his name so far this season, and an insatiable hunger to raise his and Bayern's game further, in the permanent pursuit of success and silverware.

Müller's drive is matched by his vision to spot the killer pass, and unrivalled ability to execute it – no fewer than 163 times to create a Bundesliga goal.

Watch: Müller - Bayern's key man under Flick

The 31-year-old also has 124 goals to his name, including six so far this season, meaning he has been involved in, on average, a goal each time he has taken to the field for the record champions this term. Since Flick took over, the most decorated player in German footballing history has had a direct hand in 39 goals across only 37 appearances, scoring 14 and assisting 25.

Lars Stindl has contributed to 10 of Gladbach's goals this season, leading the Foals like a true captain with some of the best single-season statistics of his career, and with over half of the campaign still to come. Over a third of his eight goals this term came on Matchday 12, when his first Bundesliga hat-trick saw him single-handedly snatch the Foals a point against Eintracht Frankfurt.

After an injury-hit couple of years, the 11-time Germany international is once again fully fit and averages the most distance of any Gladbach player per game (12.2 km). Like Borussia, he also enjoys facing the record champions, in fact beating them more times (four) than he’s lost (three) as a Foals player, scoring three goals and bagging another two assists.

Watch: Stindl's hat-trick against Frankfurt

Florian Neuhaus vs. Joshua Kimmich

Florian Neuhaus and Joshua Kimmich could well form Germany’s central midfield for years to come, but they will be lining up against each other at club level, where both are nailed-on starters and their influence can’t be underestimated.

That is especially true of Kimmich, whose injury absence at the backend of 2020 saw Bayern’s form dip somewhat from the impeccable standard they had set over the year, drawing three of their five league fixtures without him. His importance to the team could be seen in the last two matches alone.

He made his comeback as a substitute away at Leverkusen and got the assist for Lewandowski's injury-time winner. Starting the subsequent turnaround against Mainz, he scored to bring it back to 2-1 and then teed up Leroy Sane for the equaliser. It was also his corner that was headed down for Niklas Süle to eventually put the champions ahead after trailing 2-0. He covers the most distance of any Bayern player per game, drives them forward in a way stats can’t measure and quite simply makes them a better side.

Born just outside of Munich and having come through the academy of city rivals 1860, clashes with Bayern are something to savour for Neuhaus. And now boasting three senior Germany caps (plus a debut goal), his performances are finally being recognised. Twelve goals and 16 assists in 92 Gladbach appearances - including two of each in 13 league games this season - is a strong return for a central midfielder, but also only the tip of the iceberg of what he does for the team.

Still only 23, he's Marco Rose's first choice at the heart of Gladbach's game, rotating the ball from deep with speed and accuracy, but getting forward when possible and having the fourth-most shots of any Borussia player. But again, his impact in the centre of the pitch is one stats can't truly show.

Matthias Ginter vs. David Alaba

Although still only 26 and 28 respectively, Matthias Ginter and David Alaba are two of the most experienced defenders in the Bundesliga with well over 200 appearances each. And while the Gladbach man has been plying his trade at the centre of defence all his career, it's a somewhat newer position for Bayern's Austrian after a shift from left-back last season. Nevertheless, he's taken to it like a duck to water and is now comfortably considered one of the best centre-backs in the Bundesliga, alongside Ginter.

Alaba has often stated his desire to be more involved in Bayern's game, and he got his wish when Flick - more out of necessity - moved him infield as cover in the centre of defence. And bar a couple of matches, that's where he's remained. His success rate in duels may be down this season compared to the last, but the demands of the position are different up against centre-forwards.

As with any Bayern player, though, how they play with the ball is just as important as what they do defending it. His 1,063 touches are the sixth most in the league, while a pass success rate of almost 88 per cent is second only to partner Jerome Boateng. Moreover, his wand of a left foot adds another threat at set pieces, as he showed in Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund.

David Alaba (l.) is the most decorated player in Bundesliga history with nine titles and is now first-choice centre-back at Bayern under Hansi Flick (r.). - Groothuis/Witters/Pool/imagoimages

However, when it comes to distribution at the back, it's hard to look past Ginter and Gladbach. The 2014 FIFA World Cup winner finds a teammate with 87 per cent of his passes, while centre-back partner Nico Elvedi is the most accurate distributor in the league with a rate touching 95 per cent.

Having started every game this season, Ginter is second in the league for touches (1,211), but the 6'2" former Dortmund and Freiburg man doesn't ignore his defensive duties either, winning close to 66 per cent of his duels - that is second only to Schalke's Salif Sane. You can expect him to be keeping a very close eye on Lewandowski, if Gladbach are to become the first team to beat Flick's Bayern twice.

Matthias Ginter (r.) has proven himself one of the Bundesliga and Europe’s most reliable defenders with Borussia Mönchengladbach. - imago

Yann Sommer vs. Manuel Neuer

The Gladbach and Bayern custodians have been two of the Bundesliga's best goalkeepers for a number of years now, proving their consistency at the back over the long term. And while Manuel Neuer has been named officially the best goalkeeper in the world, Yann Sommer's record is nothing to scoff at either.

The Switzerland No.1 topped the Bundesliga charts last season for the proportion of shots saved (75 per cent), made all the more impressive by the fact he also made the outright most stops in the league. The 32-year-old is almost always fit, having missed only a single Bundesliga game since February 2018. And while his save count is down this term, Sommer will note that he and Neuer have both conceded the same amount of goals (21).

Watch: Sommer and the Bundesliga's best goalkeepers under the tactical microscope

Should he also be called upon to face a penalty, he'll be confident having twice saved from Spain's Sergio Ramos in a UEFA Nations League match only in November. And as well as being the last line of defence, he's also Gladbach's first line of attack, being assured in possession as Rose’s side look to build from the back.

As for The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper, he spent most of 2020 hoisting trophies aloft as Bayern captain. He ended the 2019/20 campaign slightly behind Sommer in terms of his save percentage, which is also down again this season after keeping only two clean sheets in 14 games, but he has still been the saviour for the European champions on countless occasions recently. And some of his stops have been quite frankly outrageous, making saves that he really had no right to do.

Watch: Manuel Neuer: The best ever

Few goalkeepers strike fear into the hearts of opposition attackers like the Germany No.1. That can be seen in his record facing clear-cut chances this season, where he has denied opponents on nine out of 20 occasions (45 per cent). Only Lukas Hradecky has a greater success rate (46 per cent). You can only wonder where Bayern would be without their wall.