Borussia M’gladbach kept their Champions League hopes alive with an impressive away triumph over Schalke, but they need to defeat Mainz as well in order to remain in contention for a top 4 finish. The Carnival club have all but secured the final Europa League berth, but they will attempt to improve on their poor away record.
Another good season for Gladbach
Following three very successful seasons, the fans have probably forgotten all about the 2010/2011 campaign when die Fohlen narrowly avoided relegation to the second division. Swiss coach Lucien Favre proved the saviour then and the club have been on a constant uptrend under his guidance. Borussia have already secured another European qualification, while they are still in the race for the final Champions League berth. The recent uptrend in fortunes saw die Fohlen win five of last eight league fixtures, with weekend’s away triumph over third-placed Schalke likely to serve as a major confidence boost. Borussia will need to win their two remaining matches if they are to stand any chance of finishing fourth, and home clash against Mainz seems like a good opportunity to edge one step closer to their goal. Die Fohlen have managed to rediscover their home form of late and with their next opponents losing comfortably in their last three away fixtures, Borussia will fancy their chances of extending the winning run.
Important midfielder Granit Xhaka returns from suspension, meaning Lucien Favre will have fully fit squad to choose from.
Mainz close in on Europa League berth
Similar to Borussia M’gladbach, Mainz have been exceeding expectations under talented coach Thomas Tuchel and they are on the verge of securing their third ever European qualification. A place in Bundesliga top 7 will prove enough to qualify for the Europa League this term and the Carnival club hold a four-point advantage over eighth-placed Augsburg with just two games to go. Thomas Tuchel’s charges will attempt to get the job done in the penultimate match of the season against Borussia, but that will be no easy task. While Mainz have won their last three home games, scoring eight goals and conceding none, the team have been pretty disappointing on the road, losing their last three away matches, conceding nine and scoring just three goals in the process. This is enough to suggest the Carnival club are not exactly playing to their potential on the travels and I fully expect the trend to continue against very good Borussia M’gladbach side, especially with the visitors missing several important players.
Julian Baumgartlinger, Nicolai Muller, Park Joo-Ho and Dani Schahin are all out injured, but Koo Ja-Cheol should be recalled.
Borussia have been showing a great deal of improvement of late and the impressive victory over Schalke will keep them in good stead for the Mainz clash. Thomas Tuchel’s side are doing pretty well on home soil, but having lost last three away fixtures, I cannot see them getting anything from this match.
Top pick: Home win 1.95 (19/20) @ 888sport
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score 1.62 (5/8) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 2: Home win + both teams to score 3.50 (5/2) @ William Hill