Sunday's clash between Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach has the potential to be a thriller with both sides right in the mix for the European places.
Wolfsburg have been the definition of consistency under Oliver Glasner this season, only losing two games which were against Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Both these matches were also away, so this weekend they'll be putting their unbeaten record at the Volkswagen Arena on the line. Currently on a four game winning streak, Wolfsburg have improved more and more as the campaign has gone on This has been somewhat down to a strong backbone through the middle, with John Brooks, Max Arnold, and Wout Weghorst all having exceptional seasons.
As for Borussia Monchengladbach, up until last weekend it had been an extremely positive start to 2021. However, a 2-1 defeat in the Rheinland Derby to Koln annoyed supporters, especially after Marco Rose started a significantly weaker line-up than usual. It was just strange to see Rose prioritise a round of 16 DFB-Pokal tie with Stuttgart over a local derby, especially with the Foals being right in the mix for Champions League places.
Wolfsburg - Oliver Glasner has a fully fit squad to pick from.
Borussia Monchengladbach - The only absentee for Marco Rose will be Denis Zakaria, who picked up a slight knee injury against Koln. He should be back in training next week, though.
Wolfsburg - Koen Casteels; Kevin Mbabu, John Brooks, Maxence Lacroix, Paulo Otavio; Xaver Schlager, Maximilian Arnold; Ridle Baku, Yannick Gerhardt, Renato Steffen; Wout Weghorst
Borussia Monchengladbach - Yann Sommer; Stefan Lainer, Nico Elvedi, Matthias Ginter, Ramy Bensebaini; Florian Neuhaus, Christoph Kramer; Jonas Hofmann, Lars Stindl, Marcus Thuram; Alassane Plea
Wolfsburg - WWWWW - last game - 2-0 (W) vs Augsburg
Borussia Monchengladbach - WWDWL - last game - 2-1 (L) vs Koln
Ones to watch
Wolfsburg - Wout Weghorst has grabbed most of the headlines this season for Wolfsburg, but they would be a lot worse off if Maximilian Arnold had not been playing. The central midfielder has been at the club his entire career, but now 26, he is arguably having the season of his life. Playing in a midfield pivot with Xaver Schlager has worked really well since Schlager does a lot of the defensive work, allowing Arnold to dictate play and move forward. He has also been the main set piece man with multiple goals coming from his corners this season, which can be quite a weapon with giants like Weghorst and John Brooks in the team.
Borussia Monchengladbach - From one number eight to another in Florian Neuhaus. Every season he seems to develop even further with rumours brewing about a potential transfer to Bayern Munich once again, and his wonder goal against the Bavarians in January would only have tempted them even further. The 23 year old is so gracious in possession that he has arguably been the most fun player to watch in the Bundesliga this season. A place in the Germany squad for the Euros as well as a potential move to the Champions League holders could be on the cards in the summer. Now, however, his focus is on Gladbach and getting them into the top four.
Over the past four seasons this fixture has been very even, which is no surprise when you consider where each usually ends the year in the standings. The most recent game resulted in a 1-1 draw earlier in the campaign with Wout Weghorst scoring a late equaliser to rule out Jonas Hofmann's opener.
Where to watch on TV
The game will be broadcast live on BT Sport 2 at 17:00 BWT in the UK, while those in the United States can watch the contest on ESPN+ at noon EST.
What have the managers said ?
Borussia Mönchengladbach, Marco Rose - "Along with the top sides, Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt are the calibre of club that we are competing with this season."
Borussia Mönchengladbach, Max Eberl - "We lost the derby, but we were on a good run before it. Now we go to a Wolfsburg side in great form, but we still travel there with the aim of winning. We're still well placed and want to pick up more points to improve our position."