To the older generation this is still ‘the’ Klassiker of German football with the two rivals from the halcyon days of the 1970’s stirring the emotions as the Foals host the Rekordmeister. Gone are the days when Gladbach were the team to push/ usurp Bayern for the Meisterschale, but the game still attracts plenty of attention.
Borussia Mönchengladbach are a side in transition and looking for a new start (yes another one) under coach Gerardo Seoane after the disappointing lack of progress last season under Daniel Farke. The turnover of players has been unlike anything seen at the club in a while meaning there will have to be a bedding in period.
Pre-season was good and big Pokal win started the season off with a bang, but after opening with a somewhat fortunate 4-4 draw away at FC Augsburg on the opening weekend, Gladbach went down to a 3-0 home defeat last weekend to Rhine rival Bayer Leverkusen, which would have hurt.
The fans will be understanding up to a point, but in the tough results-driven world of the Bundesliga, time is not something you get a lot of. This is something coach Gerardo Seoane discovered first hand last season. It was a mauling by Bayern Munich that spelt the end of his tenure as Leverkusen trainer, so the arrival of the Bavarians this weekend will bring bad memories back to the fore.
Bayern mean business this season and that could spell bad news for Borussia Mönchengladbach this weekend. The signing of Harry Kane for 100 million has sent out a clear message of intent and with the transfer window about to shut, there looks like there could well be some further quality arrivals before the weekend is over.
Bayern found out their Champions League group this week, but their focus ahs to be on the Bundesliga on Saturday as they know from painful recent experience that the Foals are more than capable of upsetting them at the Borussia Park.
An impressive 4-0 win kicked the season off at Weder Bremen and a 3-1 home win followed last week against Augsburg. Harry Kane has hit the ground running while Leroy Sané has also made a great start. The defence looks strong (even without Mathijs de Ligt) and it seems like Bayern are just getting started this season.
Jonas Omlin’s shoulder injury will keep him out of the big game meaning Seoane has to choose between Jan Olschowsky, Moritz Nicolas and Tobias Sippel to deputise in goal. The game has also come to early for Luca Netz to make a full recovery from his muscle problem.
Maximilian Wöber and Joe Scally have both suffered colds this week, but are expected to be ready to play on Saturday.
Possible line-up: Nicolas – Friedrich, Itakura, Wöber – Honorat, Weigl, Neuhaus, Scally – Ngoumou, Plea – Cvancara
Thomas Tuchel is still without Jamal Musiala so could very well go with the same side that beat Augsburg last weekend. Kim Min-jae should recover from a slight calf concern. The option of handing Thomas Müller his first start of the season is there for the Bayern coach should he want.
Possible line-up: Ulreich – Mazraoui, Upamecano, M.-J. Kim, Davies – Goretzka, Kimmich – Sané, Gnabry, Coman – Kane
What they’re saying:
Gerardo Seoane: “We were too open defensively against Leverkusen. We must be more compact and can’t offer too much room between the lines. Additionally, we have to be brave enough to defend forwards so the gaps are smaller. If we can manage to make the pitch smaller, we’ll have the chance to win more physical battles than we did against Leverkusen. We have to improve in this area. It’s the same with preventing counterattacks. If we press and are outplayed, we have to get behind the ball quicker as not to offer the opponent depth.
“FC Bayern have players of huge quality in every position. There’s a lot of talk about Harry Kane of course because of his transfer saga. He is an extremely reliable striker. He doesn’t need many chances to score – that doesn’t make him any easier to defend against. This type of player fits perfectly into Bayern’s system and is something they were previously missing.”
Thomas Tuchel: “We don’t believe in series when they go against us. It can happen that an atmosphere doesn’t suit us. We’re going to Gladbach as favourites and want to win there. We want to build on our game against Bremen and the second half against Augsburg. We have to do our thing and continue to create lots of chances. We have to play through our principles. You always need a bit of luck, we have it in our own hands.
“Matthijs de Ligt and Thomas Müller are getting closer and closer. Your fitness increases, you could start. There will always be hardship cases. When you sign for Bayern you always have to be ready. Not everyone sitting on the bench deserves to be there.
“But you have to put your ego aside sometimes. You should push your teammates. The two are absolutely ready for the starting eleven. The squad is very small at the moment. We’re going to need everyone. We will decide after the final training who will play.”
26/08/23 Bayer Leverkusen (h) 0-3 L (Bundesliga)
19/08/23 Augsburg (a) 4-4 D (Bundesliga)
11/08/23 Tus Bersenbrück (a) 0-7 W (DFB Pokal)
05/08/23 Montpellier (h) 2-2 D (Friendly)
29/07/23 VfB Stuttgart (a) 1-5 W (Friendly)
27/08/23 Augsburg (h) 3-1 W (Bundesliga)
18/08/23 Werder Bremen (a) 0-4 W (Bundesliga)
12/08/23 RB Leipzig (h) 0-3 L (Supercup)
07/08/23 Monaco (h) 4-2 W (Friendly)
02/08/23 Liverpool (n) 3-4 W (Friendly)
The last meeting at the Borussia Park on matchday 21 last season certainly lived up the pre-match expectations with Gladbach winning 3-2 in an eventful match. An early eighth minute red card for Dayot Upamecano for a professional foul saw Bayern reduced to ten men for the majority of the game, but they gave the Foals a real game of it.
The home side took the lead in the 13th minute through Lars Stindl, only for Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting to equalise before half time. Julian Weigl and Marcus Thuram goals gave the home side a 3-1 lead before a late consolation from Mathys Tel in the 93rd minute made the scoreline closer.
Players to watch:
Bayern have very fond memories of French wingers called Franck, but it will Gladbach who are relying on that name to inspire them to victory this weekend. Franck Honorat has already shown glimpses of the creativity the club can expect from him this season and he scored in the 4-4 draw with Augsburg. A Ribéry-esque performance this Saturday would go down extremely well at the Borussia Park amongst the home fans.
It is obvious that Leon Goretzka would have been very disappointed to not be included in the latest national team squad for the upcoming friendlies against Japan and France. The best response he could give would be to put in a top display against Mönchengladbach to show Hansi Flick that he is still a player with a lot to offer. He has been keeping Konrad Laimer out of the side at the start of the season, and with Joao Palhinha possibly arriving imminently, he’ll need to maintain his current performance levels.
© BundesligaFanatic (2023)