The 5-1 defeat to Werder at the Weserstadion on matchday 8 was undoubtedly Mönchengladbach’s lowest point in the season and revenge for that aberration will most certainly be on the cards when the two sides meet on Friday evening to kick-off the matchday 25 action.
Since beating Bayern Munich on matchday 21, the Fohlen have taken just one point from three games and suffered a chastening 3-0 loss last weekend at RB Leipzig. Gladbach currently sit 10th in the table level on points with Werder Bremen in 11th and if they want to achieve a healthier top half finish this season they are going to need to win games like this one.
Home form has been good under Daniel Farke with seven wins from their twelve matches at the Borussia Park. Their Achilles heel has been on their travels (one win) as their trouncing at the Weserstadion testifies. As the season draw to it’s conclusion, the continuing speculation as to the futures of key players cannot be allowed to distract the team from the goal of finishing the campaign strongly.
Yann Sommer has left and Ramy Bensebaini and Marcus Thuram are going follow suit in the summer. The futures of Florian Neuhaus and Manu Koné will also be of concern to the fans.
Werder find themselves level on points with Gladbach and relatively safe from the relegation zone. A top half finish would equate to a very successful first season back in the topflight, but if the Grün-Weißen are to achieve that, they are going to have to return to the form they showed in the first half of the season. They have lost six of their nine games since the winter break although they can consider themselves somewhat unfortunate to have lost at home last week to Bayer Leverkusen. They will take confidence from the game earlier in the season against Mönchengladbach but know that they will face a different animal (a wounded one) on Friday.
Daniel Farke should be able to call upon first-choice keeper Jonas Omlin after injury forced him to sit out the last three matches. Ramy Bensebaini is suspended meaning that Luca Netz will cover for him at left-back. Julian Weigl remains on the sidelines meaning a central midfield combination of Christoph Kramer and Manu Koné.
Possible line-up: Omlin – Scally, Itakura, Elvedi, Netz – Kramer, Koné – Hofmann, Stindl, Plea – Thuram
Bremen saw five players ruled out last week as a virus spread through the club and the recovery of the affected players will determine what Ole Werner has select from. Jens Stage should be able to replace Romano Schmid, but whether Leonardo Bittencourt, Marco Friedl and Christian Groß are available remains to be seen.
Possible line-up: Pavlenka – Pieper, Stark, A. Jung – Weiser, Gruev, Buchanan – N. Schmidt, Schmid – Füllkrug, Ducksch
What they’re saying
Daniel Farke: “We did well for the most part in Leipzig but weren’t clinical enough in the box. We didn’t make the most of our clear-cut chances. That’s an area we definitely need to improve in. We also need to stop making mistakes when we build up play from the back. We’re making sure to continue to focus on these things in training.
“Werder are having a good season so far, as a promoted side. Their formation is solid, and they complete a lot of intensive runs, both on and off the ball, while they have two dangerous strikers up top. We need to be able to play our game in order to make sure it goes our way. We want to be dominant and set the tone on Friday night, in order to make it clear that we intend to keep all three points in Mönchengladbach.
“A couple points could be the difference in moving two or three places in the table by the end of the season. That’s why we will continue to fight for every point. Our final position in the table is important in order for us to be able to build on it in the future. Prior to this season, we said that we wanted to stop the decline we’ve witnessed in recent years and turn things around. That’s why we’re not happy to end the season with the way things are now. We want to pick up as many points as possible and will then see where we are in the end.”
Ole Werner: “We want to show courage in our game against the challenges our opponents create for us. That’s what I always want to see from the team, and we’ve managed to do that for the most part.
“Gladbach have a lot of individual quality and experience. They are a team that plays good football and have picked up a lot of points at home recently in particular.”
11.03.23 RB Leipzig (a) 3-0 L (Bundesliga)
04.03.23 Freiburg (h) 0-0 D (Bundesliga)
24.02.23 Mainz (a) 4-0 L (Bundesliga)
18.02.23 Bayern Munich (h) 3-2 W (Bundesliga)
12.02.23 Hertha Berlin (a) 4-1 L (Bundesliga)
12.03.23 Bayer Leverkusen (h) 2-3 L (Bundesliga)
04.03.23 FC Augsburg (a) 2-1 L (Bundesliga)
25.02.23 VfL Bochum (h) 3-0 W (Bundesliga)
18.02.23 Eintracht Frankfurt (a) 2-0 L (Bundesliga)
11.02.23 Borussia Dortmund (h) 0-2 L Bundesliga)
The corresponding fixture in the Hinrunde saw Werder absolutely demolish Gladbach at the Weserstadion in the late Saturday game on matchday 8. The home side raced into an incredible 3-0 lead inside the opening 13 minutes aided more than a little by some shambolic defending from the visitors. Niklas Füllkrug helped himself to a brace with Marvin Ducksch adding the third. An own goal from Ramy Bensebaini capped a dreadful first 45 minutes for the Foals.
Marcus Thuram did pull one back in the 63rd minute, but Mitchell Weiser piled on more misery with a fifth goal ten minutes later.
Players to watch
Borussia Mönchengladbach: The fact that he is leaving at the end of the season is certain, but the form of Marcus Thuram going into these final games will go a long way in determining his next destination. A lack of goals of late has seen some of the bigger clubs distancing themselves from speculation about signing him. A return to his top form will no doubt see an increase in his pulling power.
Werder Bremen: As the season enters the final stretch Niklas Füllkrug still finds himself in pole position to claim the Torschutzenkanone that Robert Lewandowski has had sole possession of in recent years. The Werder striker has 15 goals this season with Vincenzo Grifo and Christopher Nkunku on 12. ‘Lucke’ will be looking to add to his tally and also earn a place in the upcoming German international squad.