VfL Wolfsburg - Borussia Mönchengladbach Preview: Gladbach looking to remain in the European places

The Wolves are the hosts in a fixture that could prove pivotal in the race for Champions League football.

VfL Wolfsburg - Borussia Mönchengladbach Preview: Gladbach looking to remain in the European places
Image credit: VAVEL (Jonny Walsh)

Borussia Mönchengladbach travel to the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday to face a tricky VfL Wolfsburg side as they bid to remain in the top four by the end of the weekend.

Wolfsburg have a chance to pull within touching distance of fourth-placed Gladbach if they manage a win on Saturday. Meanwhile, a win for Mönchengladbach could see them climb into third but, as long as they get all three points, they will remain the Champions League places.

Team News

Andre Schubert's men dominated in midweek with a 4-0 win and looked exceptional in the process. This weekend they face a tougher test against Wolfsburg, but may be boosted by the comeback of Martin Stranzl from injury.

Andre Hahn is still not ready to return to action, while Oscar Wendt picked up a thigh problem in midweek and is expected to miss this fixture.

Defenders Alvaro Dominguez and Tony Jantschke are still a couple of weeks away from a return, as is Joel Mero, who is recovering from a broken leg.

Predicted XI: Sommer; Christensen, Nordtveit, Elvedi; Herrmann, Dahoud, Xhaka, Johnson; Hazard, Stindl, Raffael.

Dieter Hecking was also in charge of a 4-0 thumping during the week as his side swept aside Hannover 96 thanks to an Andre Schurrle hat-trick. Currently in ninth, Wolfsburg can climb within two points of Saturday's opponents with a win in this game.

Diego Benaglio is expected to miss another match with his rib problem, with Paul Seguin and Felipe Lopes are also doubts for Wolfsburg. Bas Dost is out for another couple weeks with his broken toe and Naldo was ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

Predicted XI: Casteels; Träsch, Dante, Knoche, Rodriguez; Kruse, Luis Gustavo, Arnold, Guilavogui; Draxler; Schürrle.

Background

The last ten meetings have been evenly split between these two, with both sides winning three each and the other two finishing in draws.

Gladbach ran out as 2-0 winners earlier this season after late goals from Havard Nordtveit and Ibrahima Traore secured the three points.

Nordtveit celebrates his goal in the reverse of this fixture, which Gladbach won 2-0. | Photo: Bild
Nordtveit celebrates his goal in the reverse of this fixture, which Gladbach won 2-0. | Photo: Bild

Wolfsburg can move within just two points of Mönchengladbach if they win on Saturday, throwing another twist and turn in the race for Champions League places.

Wolfsburg's top scorer this season is Dost with seven goals but the Dutchman is currently unavailable through injury. Raffael leads the way for Gladbach with 11 goals, adding one in the 4-0 win over VfB Stuttgart on Wednesday.

Players to Watch

Thorgan Hazard was untouchable on Wednesday night for Gladbach and is likely to be rewarded another start on Saturday. Scoring in the 4-0 win will undoubtedly give him confidence and he is a huge threat to defences every time he gets on the ball.

Similar to Hazard for Gladbach, Schürrle was exceptional in midweek and scored his first hat-trick for the club, including a thumping volley for his third. The German has taken on the false nine role for Wolfsburg since Dost's injury and Tuesday proved just how good he can be at that position. He'll be a big danger to the defence of Schubert's side.