Gladbach's Alvaro Dominguez hopes to secure an automatic spot in the 2015/16 Champions League
Gladbach's Alvaro Dominguez hopes to secure an automatic spot in the 2015/16 Champions League

Dominguez: 'We can control our own destiny'

Cologne - When a team attacks with such cut-throat pace and precision as Borussia Mönchengladbach, it's easy to forget about defensive grafters like .

Top three the priority

The Spanish centre-back won more tackles than any other player on the pitch in last Sunday's 1-0 win over second-placed VfL Wolfsburg, a result that not only handed FC Bayern München their 24th Bundesliga crown, but also guaranteed Gladbach a place in next season's UEFA Champions League play-offs as a minimum.

"It’s great to have wrapped it with four games to go," Dominguez told club website "We put in a great performance against Wolfsburg and came out on top. We’ve had a great season, but we still have goals. We want to finish third and qualify for [the Champions League] automatically."

To do that, Gladbach will have to stave off the challenge of Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The two sides have amassed more points (13) than any of their Bundesliga contemporaries over the course of the last five games, but it's the Foals who have their noses in front heading into the final straight, thanks to a Rückrunde tally only marginally bettered by champions Bayern.

Pole position

"We can control our own destiny, which is a fantastic situation to be in," Dominguez continued, alluding to the two-point advantage Lucien Favre's men currently hold over fourth-in-the-table Bayer 04. "It won’t be easy; Leverkusen are a good side. We need to give it absolutely everything in every game."

Gladbach, who finish their campaign with games against SV Werder Bremen and Hannover 96, travel to mid-table Hertha Berlin on Sunday afternoon, but it's next weekend's clash with Leverkusen that could have a major bearing on which of the two Rhineland rivals enters the Champions League via the play-offs and who qualifies directly.

Runners-up berth up for grabs?

There is also the possibility of Gladbach overhauling Wolfsburg in second. Only four points separate the two clubs going into Bundesliga Matchday 31, with the Wolves still having to face four teams - Hannover 96, SC Paderborn 07, Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln - all with something tangible to play for.

"It’s not something we should really be thinking about," Dominguez admitted. "We need to be fully focussed on the game in Berlin. I'm optimistic we can go there and win. If we give it our all and play to our strengths we should come out on top against Leverkusen, but it’s too early to be looking that far ahead."