Union Berlin's pursuit of Champions League football continues as they travel to Mönchengladbach in one of Saturday's mid-afternoon kickoffs.
Two sides having contrasting campaigns face off at Borussia Park this weekend. Mönchengladbach's season took another downturn on Wednesday night as they were hammered 3-0 by 2.Bundesliga's Hannover in the DFB Pokal. Ironically, they had knocked Bayern Munich out in the previous round, surprisingly the only team they seem capable of beating at the moment. This is in line with their league form, one win in seven and that came against the Bavarians as well.
As for Union Berlin, they currently sit on the cusp of the Champions League places. Last weekend, they were victorious in a European six pointer against Hoffenheim, the side who occupy fourth place going into Matchweek 20. Union fell behind to a Timo Baumgartl own goal but strikes from Andreas Voglsammer and Grischa Prömel turned the result in their favour. A win in Gladbach could see Urs Fischer's team move up to 3rd in the table.
The main news from the Gladbach camp is that Ramy Bensebaini could play after Algeria crashed out of the African Cup of Nations. Matthias Ginter is unlikely to be involved after announcing his intention to leave the club at the end of his contract in the Summer. While, Jonas Hofmann is almost ready to return after a knee operation.
Union are still without top scorer Taiwo Awoniyi as unlike Algeria, Nigeria made it through to the knockout stages at AFCON. As for COVID related absences, Rick van Drongelen will miss out but Rani Khedira and Sheraldo Becker are fit again after their isolation periods.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - LDWLL - last game - 3-0 (L) vs Hannover 96
Ones to watch
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Not often do players face off against their former employees merely weeks after departing. However, this is the task that faces Marvin Friedrich. The former Union Berlin centre-back was a key cog in Urs Fischer's 3-5-2 set up developing a partnership with a number of different centre-backs. In recent seasons it has been mainly alongside Robin Knoche and one other. But it will be interesting to see who has the last laugh come Saturday evening.
Union Berlin - Another man to have played for both clubs is Max Kruse. He left Gladbach almost seven years ago so the two have played against each other numerous times since. But in the absence of Awoniyi, the limelight will be shining on the veteran Kruse. He has not been as prolific this campaign as he has been in the previous but as ever Kruse can produce a moment of magic in an instance and is more than likely to be Union's best hope of a result.
Since Union's promotion to the Bundesliga in 2019, neither side has won in the away fixture. Monchengladbach were unable to buck the trend earlier this season when they travelled to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei and were beaten 2-1. The onus now turn to Urs Fischer's team to put an end to this streak.
How to watch on TV
This game will not be broadcast live in the UK.
What have the managers said ?
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Adi Hutter: "We're lacking consistency at the moment. We're finding it difficult for us all to do the same thing. The communication's not where it should be."
"Union are very tight and tactically disciplined. The team have good running numbers, are compact in defence and are ambitious going forward. Their style of play is simple, but very good."
Union Berlin - Urs Fischer: "Its firstly about us, our game, the compact and organisation on the park. We did it well at Hertha. Similar game as v Gladbach. They try to play, also in pressure situations which sometimes they can solve, they have pace and can take advantage."