bundesliga.com has the pre-game lowdown on the pivotal Group A encounter at the Letzigrundstadion…
Unbeaten in the Bundesliga, Borussia have been flying high on the domestic front. They will now be hoping their momentum carries over into Europe as they look to build on a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Villarreal CF when they take on a Zürich side beaten 3-2 at Apollon Limassol FC on Matchday 1.
Gladbach’s preparations haven't been ideal, with trio Fabian Johnson (Achilles), Raffael (thigh) and World Cup winner Christoph Kramer (calf) all missing the trip to Switzerland. However, Andre Hahn believes his side will be able to count on their 12th man: “Our fans are incredible. They’re always 100% behind the team.”
The hosts will have to make do without club captain Yassine Chikhaoui. Their star midfielder, who found the net in Zürich’s 2-1 loss to BSC Young Boys on the weekend, is set to complete the one-match ban he received for picking up two bookable offences in the loss to Apollon. Mario Gavranovic and Armando Sadiku miss out through injury.
From playing in the German third tier to featuring in Europe in the space of two years, Andre Hahn has enjoyed an meteoric rise to prominence, and the 24-year-old is as determined as ever to prove his pedigree. “It’s my first [group stage] away game,” said Hahn. “Obviously you go into a match like that with big intentions.”
In the absence of Gavranovic and Chikhaoui, the goalscoring onus will fall on the shoulders of 26-year-old striker Amine Chermiti. Boasting experience of playing German sides - the Tunisian was on Hertha Berlin’s books between 2008 and 2010 - and four goals in seven league outings this season, Chermiti poses the greatest threat.
Hahn: "We know that our opponents are a strong side. The gaffer will deploy us well. We want to keep it tight."
Favre: "Zurich are a dangerous side and have an abundance of creative players. They are Swiss title contenders."
Gladbach’s 2-1 win over SC Paderborn not only preserved their unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season, but also moved them into second place, the position Zürich occupy in the Swiss Super League. In their only previous Europa League group stage campaign two seasons ago, the Foals remained unbeaten on the road (1W 2D).
Zürich: da Costa - Koch, Kecojevic, Djimsiti, Yapi - Rikan, Chiumiento, Schönbächler, Kukeli - Chermiti, Etoundi
Gladbach: Sommer - Jantschke, Stranzl, Dominguez, Wendt - Nordtveit, Xhaka - Hahn, Hrgota, Hazard - Kruse