It's 10th versus 8th in Saturday's late kick-off as Borussia Mönchengladbach hosts SC Freiburg. With Gladbach four points off of 6th place and their visitors one point better off, Saturday's showpiece could go a long way to finding out who will secure Europa League football come May.
Die Fohlen's long winless run came to an end two weeks ago, as a convincing 3-0 win away to Schalke was their first taste of success since the end of January. This result also ended a seven game run of consecutive defeats in all competitions. An assured performance throughout, Lars Stindl scored the opener in the first half before Stefan Lainer and Nico Elvedi added a second and a third after the break. Going forward, the showing should give Marco Rose and Gladbach some much needed confidence going forward.
As for Christian Streich's outfit, they were able to put a disappointing defeat to Mainz behind them with a victory over FC Augsburg. A 2-0 win was deserved based on the balance of play, with goals coming from Roland Sallai and Philipp Lienhart.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - There are two certain absentees for Gladbach this weekend, as Ramy Bensebaini is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card against Schalke, while Jonas Hofmann contracted COVID-19 while on international duty with Germany.
SC Freiburg - Nicolas Höfler is the only Freiburg player who will definitely miss Saturday's game, as the midfielder is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. A few other players remain doubts, such as Nils Petersen and Chang-Hoon Kwon, who are both close to a return after recovering from COVID-19 and a knee injury respectively.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Yann Sommer; Stefan Lainer, Nico Elvedi, Matthias Ginter, Oscar Wendt; Florian Neuhaus, Christoph Kramer; Valentino Lazaro, Lars Stindl, Marcus Thuram; Alassane Pléa
SC Freiburg - Florian Müller; Philipp Lienhart, Dominique Heintz, Keven Schlotterbeck; Jonathan Schmid, Baptiste Santamaria, Janik Haberer, Christian Günter; Vincenzo Grifo, Roland Sallai; Ermedin Demirović
Borussia Mönchengladbach - LLLLW , last game - 3-0 (W) vs Schalke
SC Freiburg - LWLLW, last game - 2-0 (W) vs FC Augsburg
Ones to watch
Borussia Monchengladbach - Over the international break, left-back Oscar Wendt confirmed that his 10th season at Gladbach will be his last, with a move to IFK Göteborg in his native Sweden lined up for the summer. The 35-year-old is likely to play against Freiburg due to Bensebaini's aforementioned suspension in what could be one Wendt's last games for Die Fohlen. He has been the ultimate professional since joining in 2011, and the Swede will certainly be motivated to help his team finish the season in a European spot to end his Gladbach career on a high.
SC Freiburg - One of the many qualities that Christian Streich possess is the manner in which he can develop players. Last season, it was Robin Koch, who played for Germany before moving to Premier League side Leeds United. This term, both Austrian Philipp Lienhart and Hungarian winger Roland Sallai have stood out. Having been at the Schwarzwald-Stadion for four and three years respectively, this season has really seen their breakthroughs. Sallai's improvement in particular has been impressive, which is showcased by his goals and assists output. His three goal contributions last campaign were a disappointing return, but Streich stuck by him due to his defensive work ethic. The manager's patience has paid off, with the Sallai already managing 10 goal contributions this season. In Steich's pre-match presser, he said, "Sallai has been able to understand the game much better, playing in many positions has allowed for him to score and set up goals more regularly."
This specific match-up has always had an interesting twist to it. With neither side able to win away, the last time the visitors won in this fixture was back in 2008 when both were in the 2. Bundesliga, with Freiburg beating their hosts in a 3-2 thriller.
Earlier in the season at the Schwarzwald-Stadion, the honours were even in a 2-2 draw. Breel Embolo put Gladbach ahead before goals from Philipp Lienhart and Vincenzo Grifo saw Freiburg take lead. Alassane Pléa pulled the visitors level moments after Grifo's goal, and both sides ultimately settled for a point.
Where to watch on TV
The game will be broadcast live on BT Sport 1 at 19:30 BST, while those in the United States can watch the action unfold on ESPN+.
Borussia Mönchengladbach manager Marco Rose - "Freiburg are a well organised unit and every player puts in hard yards. They have good individual quality too. They're narrowly ahead of us but we want to climb back above them."
"Looking at the table, its clear that this meeting with Freiburg is very important for us."
Borussia Mönchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl - "Christian Streich is a great coach and person. He is doing incredible things at Freiburg."
Freiburg manager Christian Streich - "We expect us to be ambitious against Borussia Mönchengladbach."
"Monchengladbach won at Schalke, then things got a little quieter. They'll try everything to get their second win in a row. Its not an easy game for us - but not for them either! It will be extremely exciting."
"I could imagine that it will be an offensive and good football game. The first match was already good - the first half was one of our best this season."