Mönchengladbach - If you're a Borussia Mönchengladbach fan these days, there's really no place like home. Lucien Favre's men have a 100 per cent record on their own patch this season, and will be looking to maintain that when FC Schalke 04 roll into town on Saturday (kick-off 15.30 CET).
"Schalke are Schalke"
The Foals' record at the Borussia Park in 2013/14 reads played seven, won seven, with 21 goals scored and just four conceded. An eight straight success would not only extend their best start to a league campaign at home since 1986/87, but would also keep their top-four chasing rivals Schalke, whom they lead by four points in the table, further out of sight and mind.
"It's possible that there has been a record like it, but I can't say when or who it was," Favre answered, when quizzed about his side's rip-roaring form on their own patch. In fact, opponents Schalke hold the record for the most consecutive wins at home at the start of any season: they managed eight back in 1971/72, a record shared with FC Bayern München (three times). However, the Swiss tactician was philosophical about Gladbach's chances of achieving a repeat. "We're not going to win every single game," he said.
"Schalke are Schalke and they will always be Schalke. It's not a coincidence that they're in the Champions League every single year. They can play at a fast pace and have several players who can make the difference", he continued. , , and the up-and-coming stars Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka all indeed belong in such a category and Favre's challenge is to find a way of keeping them all quiet.
High strike rate
"It's impossible to restrict them to having no chances whatsoever because they're so good," said the 56-year-old, a generous compliment and one his counterpart Jen Keller returned, picking out four players his side are going to have to keep a particular eye on. ", , and are in top form right now. But we'll be ready for them."
A to 1899 Hoffenheim in the DFB Cup this week has set the Royal Blues back, but they are keen to show the correct response. "We've analysed the cup game and pin-pointed what we did wrong," Keller said. "We can't be happy with how up and down things have been." He can, on the other hand, be satisfied with his side's recent league form, and particularly their coolness in front of goal. With 22 goals in their last eight Bundesliga matches, they are blazing a trail with an astonishing average of 2.75 goals per game.
Die Knappen are also unbeaten in four in the league for the first time this season, and they underlined their strength last weekend with a 3-0 win over VfB Stuttgart. "I'm hoping for a similar performance against Mönchengladbach," said Keller. "I'm absolutely convinced that we'll show the same face we showed in the Stuttgart game."
A repeat display like in the mauling of Stuttgart will be the minimum that Schalke require if they are to keep in touch with Gladbach and that coveted final UEFA Champions League spot. Lose and they have seven points to make up, with the winter break looming large; win and they are breathing down the Foals' necks again. The race for fourth is already fascinatingly poised.
Gladbach: ter Stegen - Korb, Jantschke, Stranzl, Wendt - Kramer, Xhaka - Herrmann, Arango - Raffael - Kruse
Schalke: Fährmann - Uchida, Höwedes, Matip, Kolasinac - Jones, Neustädter - Farfan, Boateng, Draxler - Szalai
To see more of Juan Arango's goalscoring prowess, check out five of his best Bundesliga, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: