Two Bundesliga teams with fading European hopes face off on Saturday afternoon as Borussia Monchengladbach hosts Bayer Leverkusen at the Borussia-Park. Will one of the sides be able to keep them alive?
Since Marco Rose announced he was departing in the summer for Borussia Dortmund, it has been four defeats in four games for Die Fohlen. Growing discomfort from the fans has come after defeats against RB Leipzig and his future employers this past week. Many supporters now want Rose to depart immediately, with results and performances well below par following confirmation of his move away.
Gladbach currently sit in 9th place, nine points behind Eintracht Frankfurt in 4th. With their DFB-Pokal hopes now over, and Champions League qualification looking extremely difficult, their season has turned from promising to disastrous.
As for Leverkusen, the turmoil is not as bad, but their form is. Multiple defeats since the turn of the year has seen them drop from Bundesliga title contenders to five points off the Champions League qualifying places. One other issue Peter Bosz has had to contend with has been multiple injuries, with even more suffered in the defeat to Freiburg on Sunday.
The reverse fixture earlier this campaign is one of the contenders for game of the season, but don't expect Saturday's affair to come close to that.
Borussia Monchengladbach - The only confirmed absentee is captain Lars Stindl, who is suspended for Saturday's contest due to yellow card accumulation. Ramy Bensebaini and Christoph Kramer, meanwhile, are both doubts with slight fitness issues.
Bayer Leverkusen - Peter Bosz's team have all sorts of selection issues. Leon Bailey is suspended after picking up five yellow cards, and Florian Wirtz has tested positive for COVID-19, so both are out for this weekend. There there's the rest of the injury list, which is one of the largest in the league, including the likes of Julian Baumgartlinger, Santiago Arias, Lukas Hradecky, Lars Bender, Mitchell Weiser, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Daley Sinkgraven, and Paulinho.
Borussia Monchengladbach - Yann Sommer; Stefan Lainer, Nico Elvedi, Matthias Ginter, Ramy Bensebaini; Florian Neuhaus, Denis Zakaria; Hannes Wolf, Jonas Hofmann, Marcus Thuram; Alassane Plea
Bayer Leverkusen - Lennart Grill; Aleksandar Dragovic, Edmond Tapsoba, Jonathan Tah, Wendell; Nadiem Amiri, Kerem Demirbay, Charles Aranguiz; Moussa Diaby, Demarai Gray; Patrik Schick
Borussia Monchengladbach - DLLLL - last game - 1-0 (L) vs Borussia Dortmund
Bayer Leverkusen - DLDLL - last game - 2-1 (L) vs Freiburg
Ones to watch
Borussia Monchengladbach - If it wasn't for Yann Sommer, the scoreline in Leipzig last weekend could have looked a whole lot worse. The Swiss shot stopper has been a shining light in recent weeks with the rest of the group faltering. Against a Leverkusen attack that has the potential to turn it on, Sommer may have to be on top form once again.
Bayer Leverkusen - Creative midfielder Nadiem Amiri was one of the main reasons why Leverkusen were on fire before the turn of the year. It's not much of a coincidence that their results and performances started to drop as he missed a few matches with COVID-19. Amiri's now back after his spell on the sidelines, and he will hope to get Die Werkself back into the top four while also booking a spot for himself in Joachim Low's Germany squad for the upcoming European Championship.
Over recent seasons, this fixture has proven to be extremely even, with some absolute thrillers taking place during that time as well.
Earlier in the campaign, the 4-3 classic, which Leverkusen won, was a perfect game for the neutrals, while Gladbach's 3-2 win on the road in 2017 still stands out as a contest to remember. Leverkusen were 2-0 up at halftime before a Lars Stindl inspired Monchengladbach turned the game around to pull off a remarkable comeback.
Where to watch on TV
The game will be broadcast live on BT Sport ESPN at 14:30 BWT in the UK, while fans in the United States will be able to watch the contest on ESPN+.