Bundesliga clubs return to action following their winter break this weekend and Borussia M’gladbach open their new year’s account with a clash against Borussia Dortmund.
M’gladbach looking to extend their run
Die Fohlen have lost just once in their last 12 Bundeliga matches and they will be keen on extending the formidable run when they welcome Thomas Tuchel’s side on Saturday. Gladbach’s impressive form has placed them high up to the fourth place in the Bundesliga standings and the fans are feeling quite optimistic regarding their team’s chances of securing the Champions League football by the end of the current season. Die Fohlen are only three points behind the third-placed Hertha Berlin and nine away from their Saturday’s rivals in second. Heading into a duel with their namesakes Gladbach will be relishing the opportunity to extend another positive run. Borussia Monchengladbach have not lost to Dortmund at Borussia Park since 2009, having won three of the past five matches. Dortmund did beat Gladbach 4-0 in August, but Andre Schubert’s men have recovered from their slow start to the season which saw them lose their first five Bundesliga matches. Die Fohlen have went on to lose only one in 12 and are preparing to welcome BVB in high spirits. The game against Dortmund will be the opportunity for Jonas Hofmann to have the debut against his former club, as the midfielder has completed his move from Dortmund in December.
Andre Schubert is faced with a lengthy injury list and will have a couple of players unavailable for this game. Nico Schulz and Patrick Hermann are struggling with their cruciate ligament rupture, Andre Hahn, Tony Jantschke, Alvaro Dominguez and Ibrahima Traore will join them in the recovery room. Wantaway midfielder Granit Xhaka is suspended for the occasion.
Nothing but wins and losses for BVB
With only one draw in their last 20 matches across all competitions, Borussia Dortmund have been in fine form which saw them lose just four of those twenty. BVB head coach Thomas Tuchel has done a magnificent job at the beginning of his stint and has successfully buffered the departure of the fans’ favourite Jurgen Klopp. Die Borussen are occupying the second spot in the table and find themselves eight points behind leaders Bayern Munich, who look set to win another Bundesliga title. BVB will not be giving up on the fight however and their trip to Gladbach will be the perfect opportunity to claim the morale boost that will ease the beginning of the new year 2016. Fans will of course be hoping that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will continue his impressive scoring exploits and help his team go forward. African Player of the Year 2015 has so far netted 18 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances, while he also added two Cup goals and seven more in the UEFA Champions League. What is more, BVB striker scored twice in his team’s 3-1 mid-season friendly win over Sparta Prague couple of days ago proving his form hasn’t left him during the break.
Marcel Schmelzer has picked a knock against Sparta Prague on Tuesday and will be forced to sit out through the first league game in 2016. Shinji Kagawa and Adrian Ramos have missed last practice and their fitness will be assessed before the Saturday’s game and Tuchel is hopeful he will have the pair available.
Hosts are on a good run of results against Dortmund and will be keen on extending their positive Bundesliga run on Saturday. Dortmund have lost three of their last five games on the road and they will need to be on top of their game if they are to make something out of their trip to Borussia Park.
Top pick: M’gladbach-Draw 2.25 (5/4) @888sport
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – Yes 1.5 (1/2) @Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 1.48 (12/25) @SportingBet