Cologne - It's not only two of the Bundesliga's top sides facing off in the hunt for the UEFA Champions League spots when Bayer 04 Leverkusen host Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday, but it's also a meeting of two historic Rhineland neighbours (kick-off 15.30 CET/14.30 GMT).

bundesliga.com looks ahead to Matchday 15's penultimate encounter at the BayArena...

With the two sides boasting the same number of points, and Leverkusen only fourth by virtue of goals scored, this match could prove pivotal in the race for a Champions League place. League leaders FC Bayern München travel to third-placed FC Augsburg on Saturday, so this could be an opportunity for the winners to make up ground.

Despite a hard-fought 0-0 draw in Lisbon against SL Benfica in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night, Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt has few personnel worries. Lars Bender (pictured) is a doubt with muscular problems, but only Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Giulio Donati and Stefan Reinartz are unavailable.

Gladbach were also in action in Europe in midweek, booking their place in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 thanks to a 3-0 win over FC Zürich. The victory came at a cost however, as FIFA World Cup-winning midfielder, Christoph Kramer (pictured), took a knock to his right ankle, making him a doubt for the short trip to Leverkusen.

Even in defeat to Bayern last week, Leverkusen were their usual positive selves in attack. Key to Roger Schmidt's fast-paced system is playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu. One of the world's best free-kick takers, the Turkish international's clever link-up play and passing knit attacks together. Stopping him is key to stopping die Werkself.

With Kramer a doubt, Gladbach will turn to Max Kruse for inspiration. The 26-year-old has found the net five times this season and created a further two goals for his team-mates, but hasn't actually scored since Matchday 8. It's no surprise that his dip in form has coincided with his side's, and he'll be keen to end the drought.

Roger Schmidt (pictured, Leverkusen coach): "We're playing for nine points over the next seven days. It's an important week and we want to go into the winter break in good spirits."

Branimir Hrgota, Gladbach striker: "We know it's going to be a tough test but we're confident and are going there to take three points."

Hosts Leverkusen have had a tough week, losing in Munich on Matchday 14 before the 0-0 draw in the Champions League meant they finished second in Group C. However, Schmidt's side won 5-1 in their last game on home turf, another Rhineland derby against 1. FC Köln. After defeats on Matchdays 11, 12 and 13, Gladbach have since beaten Hertha and Zürich.

Leverkusen haven't tasted defeat against the Foals since March 2012. In the four encounters since, there have been two draws, while die Werkself did the double over Lucien Favre's men last season, with their 4-2 home win on Matchday 2 particularly memorable. Goals are usually a given at the BayArena - there have been 20 in their last four games.

Possible line-ups:

Bayer 04 Leverkusen
: Leno - Jedvaj, Toprak, Spahic, Wendell - L. Bender, Castro - Bellarabi, Calhanoglu, Son - Kießling

Borussia Mönchengladbach: Sommer - Korb, Stranzl, Jantschke, Alvaro Dominguez - Kramer, G. Xhaka - Hahn, Herrmann - Raffael, M. Kruse

Find out where you can watch Sunday's big game on our list of broadcasters

You can find all the build-up to this huge Matchday 15 clash on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: