Bayern Munich have big opportunity against Borussia Monchengladbach

MUNICH, GERMANY - MARCH 01: Niko Kovac, head coach of Bayern and assistent coach Robert Kovac (R) talk to her players during a FC Bayern Muenchen training session at Saebener Strasse training ground on March 01, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by A. Hassenstein/Getty Images for FC Bayern )
MUNICH, GERMANY - MARCH 01: Niko Kovac, head coach of Bayern and assistent coach Robert Kovac (R) talk to her players during a FC Bayern Muenchen training session at Saebener Strasse training ground on March 01, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by A. Hassenstein/Getty Images for FC Bayern ) /
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Bayern Munich play a tough away game against Borussia Monchengladbach tomorrow with a chance to catch up with Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.

There are only 11 games left in the 2018-19 Bundesliga season, and things are getting interesting at the top of the table. The title race looks like it will go down to the wire, as Bayern Munich are gaining momentum at the right point of the season. Die Roten have a big game coming up this weekend, when they travel away to Borussia Monchengladbach.

Borussia Dortmund suffered defeat against Augsburg earlier today, giving Bayern a chance to go level with them on points at the top of the table. The defending champions have been in decent form in the league since their defeat against Bayer Leverkusen at the start of February. Niko Kovac will be desperately looking to maintain this form throughout the next two months in order to defend their league title.

On the other hand, Borussia Monchengladbach have been the most improved Bundesliga team this season. They are currently sitting third in the league, trailing Borussia Dortmund by 11 points. It will take a huge effort from them to get back in the title race, but they have a chance to play in the Champions League next season and they won’t be keen on losing that opportunity. The Foals have endured a slight dip in their league form right now, so a win over Bayern would provide a much-needed boost to their season.

Team News

Bayern will be without several players for the game on Saturday. Kingsley Coman has started working on the pitch, but he still needs at least one more week to recover completely from a hamstring injury. Franck Ribery will also miss this game due to the stomach flu. Mats Hummels, however, has recovered from illness and is fit to play this game.

Leon Goretzka and David Alaba have failed to shake off their minor knocks to be fit for this game. Arjen Robben, meanwhile, has returned to training on the pitch, but this game will be too soon for the Dutchman. Corentin Tolisso is also getting closer to his return and is expected to be back on the field for Die Roten in the coming weeks.

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Predicted XI

Niko Kovac will be forced to make numerous changes to his starting lineup against Gladbach. Manuel Neuer will keep his place in goal, while Mats Hummels should make his return after missing the game against Hertha Berlin. He will be partnered by fellow German international Niklas Sule. Rafinha will come in place of David Alaba, while Joshua Kimmich will play the right-back position.

The midfield selection for this game is pretty straightforward due to the team’s injuries. Javi Martinez will continue to play in the holding midfield position after delivering two quality performances last week. Thiago Alcantara will partner his fellow countryman in the center of the park.

James Rodriguez has been underwhelming in the last few matches, but he will play in the attacking midfield role on Saturday. Serge Gnabry will move out to the left-wing, while Thomas Muller will come back into the lineup to play on the right flank. Robert Lewandowski will lead the line for the Bavarians.

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Opposition Focus

Gladbach absolutely tore Bayern into pieces when they met at the Allianz Arena earlier this season. They started that game pressing high in the final third, forcing mistakes from Bayern’s defense and midfield. The hosts eventually capitulated and conceded a two-goal lead within the first 20 minutes of the match. Dieter Hecking’s team then defended resiliently for the whole game, before rounding off a brilliant performance with a third goal.

Hecking will be looking to emulate a similar gameplan on Saturday. The home side will play in a deep block and try to pick Bayern apart on turnovers. Thorgan Hazard is the most lethal attacking player for the home side. The Belgian is enjoying his most prolific campaign in Germany and has played a part in 17 league goals this season. Alassane Plea is another player the visitors must be wary of tomorrow. The Frenchman will be the chief goalscoring threat of the home side.

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Prediction

Borussia Monchengladbach 0-2 Bayern Munich

Bayern showed great resilience in their last two games, so I expect them to keep a clean sheet against Monchengladbach and catch up with Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga table. It will be a cagey affair, but the Bavarians will come back home with an all-important three points.