Munich - The first half of the 2013/14 campaign could hardly have gone much better for Borussia Mönchengladbach.

After finishing eighth last term, the Foals have enjoyed their best start to a league season since 1976. With ten wins from their opening 17 matches, Lucien Favre’s team have propelled themselves to the dizzying heights of third place in the Bundesliga, whilst reaffirming their credentials as genuine contenders for a UEFA Champions League spot.

Such was Gladbach's form in the weeks leading up to the winter break, it's hard to believe they had to wait until the beginning of November for their first away victory. The Foals had struggled to replicate their home form on the road, but since their 1-0 defeat at Hertha on Matchday 9, they are unbeaten in their last three away matches (2W, 1D), while Wolfsburg are the only team to have left Borussia Park with a share of the spoils this season after earning a 2-2 draw draw on Matchday 17.

, Juan Arango and Patrick Herrmann all deserve a mention, but Brazilian forward has been in sparkling form in 2013/14. The 28-year-old has scored nine goals so far this term - including four in his last five games - and has also provided four assists. Along with the three other members of Gladbach's 'fantastic four', Raffael has been integral to the Foals' push for European football this season.

Gladbach very nearly finished the 2013/14 Hinrunde with a 100 per cent home record in the Bundesliga. After winning their first eight matches on home soil, Arango's spectacular free-kick against Wolfsburg looked to have secured a ninth consecutive home victory. However, Bas Dost's late equaliser meant Favre's charges had to settle for a point, which nonetheless lifted them into third place in the league table going into the new year.

Die Fohlen's formidable home record will be put to the test on Matchday 18, when Pep Guardiola's Bayern visit the Borussia Park. Not that is particularly worried by the impending visit of the 2012/13 quadruple winners: "It seems like Bayern have won 100 games in a row. Everybody expects us to lose," said the full-back. "It's the first game of the second half of the season and the whole world will be watching. What more can you want?"

Favre has a plethora of outstanding young talent at his disposal, but Swiss international midfielder is arguably the best of the lot. The 21-year-old, who has only missed one game for Gladbach this term, has had more touches of the ball (1,399) than any other Bundesliga player this season, highlighting his potential as one of the most influential midfielders in Germany's top flight.