Manuel Veth –
Mönchengladbach vs Roma – Thursday, November 7, 20:00GMT/21:00CET – Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany
How much priority will Borussia Mönchengladbach put on the Europa League? “They are first in the Bundesliga and have a good chance to qualify for the Champions League this season,” Per Mertesacker said to DAZN on Tuesday.
Mertesacker might have a point. One week ago Gladbach traveled to Dortmund with 11 injured players. “We are at our limit,” head coach Marco Rose said ahead of the DFB Pokal game that the Foals lost 2-1 to Dortmund. Nonetheless, Gladbach bounced back with a 2-1 victory in the Rheinderby against Bayer Leverkusen.
As a result, Gladbach are first, three points clear of Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga standings. But the victory had its price. Marcus Thuram, Gladbach’s best player in recent weeks, has struggled with a knee problem. “A result of over-exhaustion,” Rose said. “We are positive to get him ready for the Thursday game.”
Alassane Plea could make his comeback. The striker trained again this week. “He looked good,” Rose said. “Let’s see what he will look like on Thursday’s practice.”
Contrary to Mertesacker’s statement, Marco Rose would like to start the best XI against a Roma side that has had a positive weekend. The Giallorossi beat Napoli 2-1 in what was the third Serie A win in a row.
In other words, the Italians are in perfect form to take revenge for what was a disappointing draw against Gladbach on matchday 3. Roma led the game until the very last second but Gladbach were handed a penalty after Chris Smalling was deemed to have played the ball with his arm. Replays showed that Smalling was hit in the face. Without VAR the call stood and Rome were robbed of two points.
That leaves Group J wide open. Roma are first with five points and Gladbach are last with just two points. A win for Gladbach, however, would open up Group J and make the last two matchdays very interesting.
Mönchengladbach vs Roma – Players to look out for:
Marcus Thuram #10 – Borussia Mönchengladbach
The son of famous Lilian Thuram, Marcus has had a great start to life in Germany. In the absence of the injured Alassane Plea, Thuram will be the key player for Gladbach. Tall but at the same time quick on his feet, the winger has scored seven goals and three assists in 15 games across all competitions.
Nicolò Zaniolo #22 – Roma
Nicolò Zaniolo is Roma’s most prominent talent and was the game-winner against Napoli on the weekend. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder burst on the scene last season but has been kept off the scoreboard this season in Serie A. But the attacking midfielder scored five goals and one assist in 14 games across all competitions
Mönchengladbach vs Roma – Match Stats
- Mönchengladbach have won more games than they have lost against Italian sides (W5 D8 L4), but five of those draws have come in the eight fixtures in Germany.
- This is Roma’s 28th fixture against German opposition, ten of their 13 matches in Germany having ended in defeat (W2 D1).
- The German club are without a win in six European home games (D3 L3), since a 6-1 victory against Young Boys in the second leg of their 2016/17 UEFA Champions League play-off.
- Frankfurt’s last home win in the UEFA Europa League was also against Swiss opposition – 3-0 versus FC Zürich in the 2014/15 group stage.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Mönchengladbach vs Roma – 2-1
Mönchengladbach vs Roma – Lineups
Sommer – Ginter, Elvedi, Jantschke – Wendt, Kramer, Neuhaus, Hofmann, Lainer – Plea, Thuram
Head Coach: Marco Rose
López – Kolarov, Juan Jesus, Smalling, Florenzi – Veretout, Pastore, Mancini – Kluivert, Džeko, Zaniolo
Head Coach: Paulo Fonseca
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.