Despite being 11 points better off in the table ahead of Matchday 31, Borussia Mönchengladbach should have their work cut out against a resurgent TSG 1899 Hoffenheim when the teams collide at BORUSSIA-PARK on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 15:30CEST/13:30GMT).
Gladbach are now four points outside of the UEFA Champions League places, with last Friday's 2-0 upset loss at bottom club Hannover 96 their second consecutive defeat. Having picked up 28 points in Andre Schubert's first ten games in charge, the Foals have struggled to keep their pace up in the Rückrunde and a return to Europe's top table is looking increasingly unlikely with league leaders FC Bayern München and third-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen still to play.
Although Hoffenheim are 13th, three points above the relegation places, the Sinsheim club have been in stellar form under the Bundesliga's youngest-ever coach, Julian Nagelsmann. Hoffenheim's 2-1 win over high-flying Hertha Berlin last Saturday was their fourth win in five games, with only FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund picking up more points since the 28-year-old was appointed in February.
Matchday 14 rewind: Hoffenheim 3-3 Gladbach
Matchday 31 - match stats
- Gladbach have only picked up 16 points from 13 games in 2016, which means they are only 11th in the Rückrunde table.Hoffenheim have taken 20 points from ten games under Julian Nagelsmann. Only FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund have a better record over that time.Huub Stevens had only taken eight points in his ten games as Hoffenheim coach before illness cut his reign short in February.Gladbach have won eight of the last nine games at their BORUSSIA-PARK.Hoffenheim have won their last two away games. Die Kraichgauer have never won three consecutive away games in the Bundesliga.Hoffenheim have only won one of their last seven games against Gladbach - a 2-1 victory at their WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar Arena in September 2013.Hoffenheim midfielder Tobias Strobl will move from Hoffenheim to Gladbach in the summer. Hoffenheim's Eugen Polanski made his Bundesliga debut for Gladbach in 2004, going on to play 44 Bundesliga matches with the Foals, scoring one goal in that time. The Poland international has scored nine times for Hoffenheim.Gladbach's USMNT utility man Fabian Johnson played 87 Bundesliga games in three years at Hoffenheim before joining the Foals in the summer of 2014.
Gladbach: Sommer - Elvedi, Christensen, Nordtveit - Dahoud, Xhaka - Johnson, Stindl, Wendt - Raffael
Absentees: Dominguez (back), Jantschke (hernia), Stranzl (pubis), Schulz (knee)
Coach: Andre Schubert
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Kaderabek, Süle, Strobl, Toljan - Amiri, Schwegler, Rudy, Volland - Uth, Kramaric
Absentees: Kim (light training), Herdling (knee)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann