Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Bundesliga clash between Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund, including team news and predicted lineups.
Borussia Dortmund will face Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday afternoon knowing that they need to win at Borussia-Park and hope that Bayern Munich lose against Eintracht Frankfurt in order to win the Bundesliga title.
Indeed, Bayern lead second-placed Dortmund by two points heading into the final weekend, while the reigning champions also have a significantly better goal difference.
Sixteen wins, seven draws and 10 defeats – that is how Gladbach have performed in the Bundesliga this season. A total of 55 points from their 33 matches has left them in fourth position, but they could technically still finish as low as seventh when all is said and done in terms of the 2018-19 campaign.
Indeed, Bayer Leverkusen in fifth are level on points with Gladbach, while sixth-placed Frankfurt are just a point behind. Seventh-placed Wolfsburg sit three points off fourth, meanwhile, and the battle to secure the position behind Bayern, Dortmund and RB Leipzig will go into the final weekend.
Gladbach have actually only won once in the league since the middle of April, but that was a 4-0 thrashing against Nurnberg last weekend. Thorgan Hazard – brother of Eden Hazard – was on the scoresheet once again, meaning that the attacker has 13 goals to his name in all competitions this season.
Gladbach’s home form has been pretty good this season – winning nine of their 16 matches and suffering just four defeats. Incredibly, though, they are without a victory in front of their own supporters since the end of January, with Bayern amongst those to record all three points at Borussia-Park.
The fact that Dieter Hecking‘s side finished ninth in the Bundesliga last season is an indication of their improvement. They only actually won 13 of their 34 league matches last term, and despite 10 losses this season, are certainly heading in the right direction.
This weekend will signal Hecking’s final game in charge of the German giants, though. Indeed, the 54-year-old will be moving on this summer, but an announcement on his replacement is yet to be made.
The omens are not exactly terrific for the home side heading into this match when considering that Dortmund have won each of their last seven Bundesliga meetings – including a 1-0 victory in the corresponding match during the 2017-18 campaign.
Bayern will certainly be hoping from a favour from Gladbach to make their own position more secure. Dortmund, though, are the favourites heading into what is shaping up to be a very interesting contest in Germany’s top flight.
Recent form: DWLLDW
Dortmund ensured that the title race would go into the final weekend when they recorded a 3-2 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf last weekend. It was not exactly a vintage performance, but a 92nd-minute strike from Mario Gotze secured a huge three points for the title hopefuls.
Die Borussen have won 22, drawn seven and lost four of their 33 Bundesliga matches this season. A total of 73 points has left them in second spot, just two points off leaders Bayern heading into the final weekend.
Dortmund must beat Gladbach on Saturday afternoon and hope that Bayern lose against sixth-placed Frankfurt. Indeed, a draw would be good enough for the current leaders due to their superior goal difference, which will not be overcome unless something extraordinary happens at Borussia-Park.
It seems incredible to say that Dortmund have not won the Bundesliga since 2012. They actually finished fourth last season, meanwhile, and have not managed a runners-up spot since 2016.
Lucien Favre‘s side will, obviously, be desperate to land the title, but there is no question that there have been signs of huge improvement this season. Whether the club can keep the likes of Jadon Sancho on a long-term basis, though, remains to be seen.
Sancho, who continues to be linked with Manchester United, has scored 11 times and contributed 17 assists in the Bundesliga this term. The 19-year-old will be key to his team’s chances of success on Saturday afternoon, but the supporting cast have not been half-bad either.
Indeed, Paco Alcacer has 18 Bundesliga goals to his name this term, while Marco Reus has managed 16. That said, Favre’s team have been far from perfect on their travels this season, dropping points in eight of their 16 away Bundesliga fixtures.
Dortmund must beat Gladbach and then hope that something favourable happens at the Commerzbank-Arena, which is certainly a possibility when considering that Frankfurt caused Chelsea plenty of problems in both legs of their Europa League semi-final before ultimately losing on penalties.
Recent form: LWWLDW
Gladbach will be without the services of midfielder Florian Neuhaus through suspension, while Lars Stindl is out with a shin problem. Raffael is also again expected to miss out with a calf injury, meaning that Josip Drmic should continue in the final third of the field.
Guinean winger Ibrahima Traore should keep his spot after impressing against Nurnberg last weekend, while Hazard will feature in attack once again.
Alassane Plea is still Gladbach’s leading scorer in the league this season with 12, but only three have come in 2019 and the attacker is expected to start on the bench.
As for Dortmund, Christian Pulisic, who will join Chelsea this summer, has two goals in his last two appearances and could be named in the starting XI, leaving leading scorer Alcacer on the bench.
The visitors will also be unable to call upon winger Marius Wolf, who misses out through suspension.
Borussia Monchengladbach possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Beyer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt; Hofmann, Kramer, Zakaria; Traore, Drmic, Hazard
Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:
Burki; Piszczek, Weigl, Akani, Guerreiro; Witsel, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Pulisic; Gotze
Head To Head
Dortmund have won each of the last seven Bundesliga matches between the two teams.
Gladbach’s last home victory over the Black and Yellows in the Bundesliga came back in April 2015.
We say: Borussia Monchengladbach 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
We fancy Dortmund to just edge a close match on Saturday afternoon. Whether that is enough to take the title away from Bayern at the final moment, though, remains to be seen.