Second plays fourth respectively in the Bundesliga this week as Borussia Monchengladbach prepare to host Mainz 05. Both sides remain unbeaten thus far in the 2014/15 campaign and are very evenly matched coming into the tie. With the teams evenly matched, expect a competitive, lively affair at Borussia-Park, as Gladbach aim to keep the pressure on league leaders Bayern Munich.
'Mental and physical regeneration is important... it is not possible to train normally'
- Lucien Favre
Gladbach manager Lucien Favre knows that his side must keep their focus and try to minimise fatigue after having their last game as near as Thursday night. There is barely time to catch breath, never mind dwell on the 1-1 draw with FC Zurich in the Europa League, before they host Mainz 05 on Sunday. Favre as spoken on the difficulty of remaining energised with unusual training sessions: "Mental and physical regeneration is important for us. We don’t have long before out next match. It’s hard to switch our minds and we can’t simply go on holiday for a couple of days. It’s not possible to train like normal at present, only small sessions at the moment," he said after the midweek game. With a tough fixture on their hands on Sunday, Gladbach fans will hope that fatigue does not become an issue.
Mainz 05, on the other hand, will be looking to continue a positive start to the Bundesliga campaign, as they sit just four points from the summit, unbeaten in the opening six fixtures. Last week, a solid point against Hoffenheim was earned with a 0-0 draw, but manager Kasper Hjulmand has talked about the importance of kicking forward and setting targets: “It’s important to talk about expectations. It’s important for everyone to understand who we are,” said the Dane. It is a upbeat mentality that will excite fans, and with a win away to Gladbach this weekend they might just start to believe they can achieve something special this season.
Favre will be relieved that he has a full squad available with rotation a neccessity at this time. With no injury concerns, Álvaro Domínguez and Oscar Wendt will compete in defence for the spot at left back in the starting line up, whereas Ibrahima Traoré could once more get a chance on the left wing, with Thorgan Hazard dropping to the bench.
On the other hand, Mainz 05 have a few absentees from their squad. Nikolce Noveski, Ja-Cheol Koo and Philipp Wollscheid are all certain to be out through injury, whereas Shinji Okazaki faces a race against time to recover for the game. If he is unable to play, Sam Allagui will take his place, while Niko Bungert and Gonzalo Jara will compete for a spot at left back. In midfield, one of either Christoph Moritz or Jairo will make the cut on the right wing.