Mönchengladbach - With just two points separating them from the European qualification spots, Borussia Mönchengladbach will be looking to capitalise on their impressive home form when they welcome SV Werder Bremen to Borussia Park on Saturday evening (kick-off 18:30 CET).
The Foals currently boast a five-game unbeaten streak in front of their own fans and, up against a Bremen side plagued by inconsistency, Luuk de Jong and Co. will be confident of staying within touching distance of their season’s target.
After putting an end to a run of four games without a win against Eintracht Frankfurt last Friday, the priority for Gladbach is to maintain their momentum as the business end of the season draws ever closer. “The victory was incredibly crucial for our state of mind,” explained head coach Lucien Favre. “Now we want to continue picking up points.”
However, when it came to squad selection the 55-year-old was keeping his cards close to his chest. “I’ll make my decision after the final training session,” said the Swiss coach, who has a full squad at his disposal with the exception of the suspended Thorben Marx. Star winger Juan Arango is back in contention after overcoming a recent ankle injury, which could shift youngster Amin Younes up front. “He’s played twice, but knows that he still has to take things step by step,” said Favre of the up-and-coming talent.
Banishing bad memories
A 4-0 loss to Bremen on Matchday 8, their second largest defeat this season, left Gladbach with a sour taste in the mouth the last time these two sides met. However, the Foals are keen to banish that result to the past. “We’re not thinking about that anymore. That game’s done and dusted,” said keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Werder may have dropped into the bottom third of the Bundesliga table for the first time this season after suffering a third straight defeat against Augsburg last weekend, but Gladbach are refusing to underestimate their opponents. “Bremen have some quality individual players, particularly up front. We need to be fully focused to take all three points,” continued ter Stegen. “It will be a tough ask, but the Borussia-Park is sold out and we’re really looking forward to the challenge.”
Indeed, only FC Bayern Munich (28) and Borussia Dortmund (27) have scored more often on foreign soil than Thomas Schaaf’s side (21) in the current campaign. A key member of Bremen’s attacking quintet this season has been Kevin de Bruyne, who has travelled with the side despite recently suffering from an issue with his patella tendon. “Whether he’ll play or not is still up in the air,” was Schaaf’s take on the situation.
However, the Belgian international isn’t the only concern the 54-year-old has to contend with this weekend. "We’ll have to wait and see how we put together the squad for this game," said Schaaf, who is without the suspended duo of Sokratis and Sebastian Prödl. "We’ve got to be fully focused in Gladbach and really have to produce a strong performance to return to winning ways."
Gladbach: ter Stegen - Jantschke, Stranzl, Alvaro Dominguez, Wendt, Nordtveit, Rupp - Herrmann, Arango - Younes, de Jong
Bremen: Mielitz - Gebre Selassie, Lukimya, Pavlovic, Ignjovski - Fritz - Junuzovic, Hunt, de Bruyne, Yildirim - Petersen