Mönchengladbach - Fourth-place Borussia Mönchengladbach will be looking to continue their impressive home form when they host Bundesliga strugglers 1. FC Nürnberg on Saturday evening (kick-off 18:30).
The Foals, who boast a 100 per cent record at Borussia Park, recorded their first away victory of the season against Hamburger SV last weekend and will be confident of picking up a further three points against a Nürnberg side yet to win in 2013/14.
Despite the Franconians' precarious position near the foot of the table, their only away defeat so far this season came at the Allianz Arena against FC Bayern München. Gladbach coach Lucien Favre is aware der Club will be a tough nut to crack. "Their game against Bayern was pretty even for the most part," said the 56-year-old. “In my opinion, they are a very dangerous opponent. They have several international players in their squad and it's going to be hard work for us."
Favre admitted Gladbach's victory over HSV at the Imtech Arena on Matchday 11 has lifted a huge weight off his players' shoulders and feels it will allow them to play with less pressure. "That win was vital for us," he said. "We had put in some good performances away from home, but hadn’t been rewarded. The fact that we've finally got a victory gives us confidence for our upcoming games."
The Gladbach coach is likely to keep faith with the back four that started the game against Hamburg last weekend, as Alvaro Dominguez, Havard Nordtveit and Roel Brouwers all remain unavailable. There are also doubts over the fitness of captain Filip Daems, who has been nursing a back injury. "We’ll have to see what happens at the final training session, but he should be fit enough to be included in the squad," said Favre.
Nürnberg’s Niklas Stark and Berkay Dabanli both picked up knocks in training this week, but should be fit for the match at Borussia Park. Robert Mak, however, has been ruled out with a foot injury. "He’s been unable to train all week, so he can’t play," said head coach Gertjan Verbeek, who could call upon Alexander Esswein as a replacement, while Daniel Ginczek is expected to feature after recovering from a broken toe.
Verbeek: 'We need points'
Nürnberg’s Dutch coach was under no illusions as to the challenge facing his team in the coming weeks as they look to climb out of the Bundesliga doldrums. "It’s obvious we have to pick up points in the coming games," said the 51-year-old. "We have to move the ball quickly against Gladbach and try and exploit the space available."
Although the Franconians suffered a 3-0 defeat to SC Freiburg last time out, Verbeek is unlikely to make any drastic changes to his team. "We watched the video of the match and realised we did a lot of things well, but we still have to improve,” he explained. "Gladbach play good football and play with great flexibility in attack. We haven't been able to get the results we want recently, but we’re working on that."
Gladbach: ter Stegen - Korb, Jantschke, Stranzl, Wendt - Kramer, Xhaka - Herrmann, Arango - Raffael, Kruse
Nürnberg: Schäfer - Chandler, Nilsson, Pogatetz, Plattenhardt - Stark - Frantz, Hasebe, Kiyotake, Hlousek - Drmic
Find out what Makoto Hasebe thinks of Nürnberg's new Dutch coach, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: