Manuel Veth –
Gladbach vs Bayern Munich – Saturday, December 7, 14:30GMT/15:30CET – Borussia Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany
The true Klassiker is back. In the 1970s the clash between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayern Munich was the biggest game in German football. It was during that time that the term Klassiker was born, more than 30 years before the term was used to describe Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund.
In the 1970s the Foals won five German championships (70, 71, 75, 76 and 77) and the UEFA Cup in 1975 and 1979. The Foals also reached the final of the European Cup in 1977 where they lost to Liverpool in Rome. But in the 1980s Bayern, thanks to the riches of the Bavarian capital Munich, emerged as Germany’s only true superpower.
This season, however, there is a hint of the past. Gladbach have been fantastic under newly installed head coach Marco Rose and are four points clear of fourth-placed Bayern Munich on top of the table.
“It will be an absolute top game,” Breel Embolo told kicker this week. “Bayern are a world-class team. But we will get our chances.” It almost appears that Gladbach are somewhat surprised by the success they have experienced under Marco Rose this season.
The head coach was the most wanted man in German football until he signed for the Foals. Sporting director Max Eberl always seemed sure that the marriage between the Foals and Gladbach would be a successful one, but there were no expectations of a potential title challenge ahead of the season.
First place after 13 games, however, is no mistake. Gladbach are for real this season but are they good enough to challenge for the Meisterschaft? That question will be partly answered on Saturday in the Klassiker against Bayern Munich.
A win would answer that question with a resounding yes, a defeat would highlight that Bayern’s 2-1 defeat to Leverkusen was only a slipup. The Bavarians were dominant and had 76% possession last week against Leverkusen. But two defensive lapses meant that Bayer and not Bayern were celebrating.
Defensive lapses that could be costly against Gladbach’s variable front-tree attack. “The zero is the basis,” head coach Hansi Flick said about Bayern’s defense. The interims coach is aware that Bayern are always capable of producing goalscoring opportunities. The Bavarians have produced the most goalscoring opportunities (122) ahead of Gladbach (100).
“We cannot afford to lose, that much is certain,” Manuel Neuer said this week. “We are going there to win. We are not even considering the table, because right now it doesn’t matter—what matters is the table after matchday 34.”
The last time Bayern traveled to league leaders Gladbach was in 1977, Borussia won the match and would end up celebrating the title at the end of the season, their last one up to this point. On Saturday the Foals have a good chance to beat Bayern once again, but it would only be a small step towards a potential first championship in almost half a decade.
Gladbach vs Bayern Munich – Players to look out for:
Breel Embolo #36 – Borussia Mönchengladbach
Breel Embolo was fantastic against SC Freiburg a week ago. The striker scored two goals and one assist. His record could have been even better had he not missed a penalty. The 22-year-old Swiss striker has experienced a remarkable turnaround of his career since joining Gladbach for just €10 million last summer. A serious injury and Schalke’s revolving coaching door meant that Embolo is looking back at three missed years at the Royal Blues. Still only 22 the striker still has his best years ahead of him and on Saturday will be a crucial player for Gladbach against Bayern.
David Alaba #27 – Bayern Munich
The emergence of Alphonso Davies as a serious left-back option has meant that Hansi Flick has moved David Alaba more central to fill the gap left by the Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernández injuries. “Maybe I’m playing there because I interpret the position differently than a natural centre-back,” David Alaba told kicker this week. “If you watch our last games, you can see my presence on the pitch. And that I’m trying to take over responsibility.” Alaba has certainly taken a bigger role at Bayern in recent months. At the same time playing out of position has come with its very own problems and Alaba will have a serious test at hand against Gladbach’s attack.
Gladbach vs Bayern Munich – Match Stats
- Gladbach are the Bundesliga side that has scored the most goals against Bayern Munich (128).
- In turn Bayern are the side that have scored the most goals against Gladbach (195).
- Bayern (11) and Gladbach (8) are the two teams that have hit the woodwork the most this season.
- Gladbach’s home record against Bayern Munich: W20 D18 L13.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Gladbach vs Bayern Munich – 2-1
Gladbach vs Bayern Munich – Lineups
Sommer – Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt – Benes, Zakaria, Stindl – Herrmann, Embolo, Thuram
Head Coach: Marco Rose
Neuer – Davies, Alaba, Javi Martínez, Pavard – Goretzka, Kimmich, Müller – Coman, Lewandowski, Gnabry
Head Coach: Hansi Flick
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.