Two of Germany’s biggest clubs meet in the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday night, even if one of them has fallen on hard times.
Nevertheless it is still one of the most mouth-watering ties in the Second Round, but how much potential is there for an upset?
Home form key for Gladbach
Some indifferent results recently have left Gladbach down in tenth in the Bundesliga. Their 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich at the weekend left them without a league win in three games, although they did beat Celtic in the UEFA Champions League last week.
Their home form though is something to be lauded, with five wins, a draw and a solitary defeat in all competitions this season. And in mitigation, that defeat was against the might of FC Barcelona. Borussia Dortmund are the only other team to beat them at home in the calendar year.
Stuttgart have made a decent enough start to life in the 2. Bundesliga, but they are already on their second manager of the season following the departure of Jos Luhukay after just five games in charge. Former Dortmund youth coach Hannes Wolf has since taken over.
They are in fourth spot, only a point off the top two, but six behind current leaders Eintracht Braunschweig. They have won six matches, but amongst the three defeats is the 5-0 trouncing at the hands of Dynamo Dresden. They recovered from that with a 2-1 victory over 1860 Munich on Friday. Their inconsistency though doesn’t point to much upset potential though against the higher-league opposition.
They beat FC 08 Homburg 3-0 in the First Round of the Pokal, whilst a much-rotated Gladbach side toiled against SV Drochtersen/Assel in a 1-0 win.
Two out for two in Pokal meetings for Gladbach
As well as current circumstances, history appears to be on Gladbach’s side. They are unbeaten against Stuttgart since die Roten did the double over them in the league in 2012-13.
Last season saw two convincing wins for Gladbach, winning 3-1 away and then 4-0 at home. Overall though, Stuttgart have the better record, with 38 wins to 30 against Gladbach, although Gladbach have a marginally better record at home.
There have been just two previous meetings between these clubs, and again both have been won by die Fohlen. They won 2-0 in December 1981, with the most recent game in December 2003, a 4-2 win for Gladbach.
Schubert wary of Stuttgart’s confidence
André Schubert has urged his side to remain concentrated on the do-or-die nature of the competition. “The most important thing in the cup is to get through - if you don’t win, you’re out,” he said. “So we’ll have to be fully focused tomorrow, stay patient, and not take too many risks.”
Despite their inconsistent form, he believes Stuttgart are “high on confidence” and that “overall they’ve been playing well over the last few weeks.” He also believes they will be a challenge to overcome. “No doubt they will try to keep things tight and make it difficult for us to break them down,” he said.
As for Wolf, he is under no illusion as to how good Gladbach are. "They are represented in the Champions League and have developed very positively over the past year," he said. "We are the challenger. We will absolutely give our all and hold our own."
Injured trio still out for Gladbach
Schubert confirmed that Thorgan Hazard, Ibrahima Traoré and Raffael will not make the game as they step up their recoveries from recent injuries. Those still out with long-term injuries include Andreas Christensen, Álvaro Domínguez and Josip Drmic.
Schubert also teased the possible debut of 19-year-old Djibril Sow, who has been an unused substitute in the last two games. “Once I feel he is ready, whether or not he plays won’t depend on who the opposition is,” he said. “Djibril is developing very well and he needs a bit more time, but if he weren’t already a good alternative, he wouldn’t be on the bench.”
Despite their relegation Stuttgart still have plenty of experience in their side, most notably Kevin Großkreutz, one of Germany's 2014 World Cup winners. Florian Klein, Christian Gentner and Alexandru Maxim are also amongst the players that have stayed with the club.
Stuttgart will though be without the injured pair of Hajime Hosogai and Tobias Werner, whilst Daniel Ginczek has also missed the trip, despite making his comeback after 13 months out on Friday. "In his current situation, he really needs more training to increase his substance and improve his consistency," said Wolf.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: (3-5-2) Sommer; Vestergaard, Elvedi, Jantschke; Herrmann, Kramer, Stindl, Dahoud, Wendt; Johnson, Hahn.
VfB Stuttgart: (4-2-3-1) Langerak; Klein, Sunjic, Baumgartl, Insúa; Gentner, Zimmermann; Großkreutz, Özcan, Maxim; Terodde.
Elsewhere: Hamburg and Leverkusen looking to avoid banana skins
Two other Bundesliga sides will come up against sides from the second tier in Tuesday’s DFB-Pokal games. In-form Hertha BSC will be firm favourites at FC St. Pauli, who are rock bottom of the 2. Bundesliga, albeit determined to prove a point. Meanwhile SC Freiburg host SV Sandhausen.
There is one all-Bundesliga clash, with Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Ingolstadt 04 locking horns, whilst eyes will be on a potential upset when Hamburger SV play at Hallescher FC, and Sportfreunde Lotte attempt to take a second Bundesliga scalp this season against Bayer Leverkusen.
Rounding off the action on Tuesday is the Bavarian derby between Würzburger Kickers and 1860 Munich, whilst Dynamo Dresden play Arminia Bielefeld.
Quotes via Borussia Mönchengladbach and VfB Stuttgart.