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Preview: Arminia Bielefeld vs. Borussia Monchengladbach - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Arminia and Borussia Monchengladbach, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Borussia Monchengladbach will be aiming to end a four-game winless run in the Bundesliga when they travel to Arminia Bielefeld in the first weekend of the New Year.

The hosts have had a two-week break since their 1-0 win at Schalke 04 before Christmas, whereas Monchengladbach's most recent outing saw them cruise past SV Elversberg in the DFB-Pokal.


Match preview

Uwe Neuhaus, now in charge of Arminia Bielefeld, pictured in 2017© Reuters

Despite managing to prevail twice in their last four top-flight matches, Arminia are certainly regarded as one of the favourites for the drop heading into 2021.

The newly-promoted outfit have already lost nine times this season - an unwanted record that is also shared by bottom two sides Mainz 05 and Schalke - and only the latter have found the back of the net fewer times than Arminia this season.

However, Uwe Neuhaus's men did manage to pick up a vital victory over their relegation rivals in the final round of fixtures before Christmas, with Fabian Klos's second-half header enough to condemn Schalke to yet another defeat on December 19.

Arminia - who currently occupy 16th spot ahead of gameweek 14 - cannot drop into the automatic relegation places with defeat this weekend, although they could climb out of danger with a victory if Koln lose to Augsburg on Saturday.

While most teams in the top flight played their second-round DFB-Pokal matches before the festive period, Neuhaus's men fell at the first hurdle of the 2020-21 tournament and have had a full two weeks off before a daunting visit of Monchengladbach.

Borussia Monchengladbach manager Marco Rose pictured in November 2020© Reuters

With no Champions League football to contend with for another seven weeks, Borussia Monchengladbach can simply focus on improving their Bundesliga fortunes after struggling for results in the back end of 2020.

Marco Rose's men found it difficult to cope with the demands of domestic and continental football, but they are safely through to the knockout stages of Europe's elite competition - where they will meet Manchester City - and the first leg of that tie is set to take place on February 24.

That leaves Monchengladbach with ample time to break back into the top four of the Bundesliga table having slipped away from the European-chasing pack in recent weeks, and Rose witnessed his side triumph just once in the month of December - a 5-0 thrashing of fourth-tier side Elversberg in the DFB-Pokal.

In spite of their recent troubles, Monchengladbach have had no problems finding the back of the net on the road and have struck at least twice in eight of their last nine away matches, with Real Madrid the only team to keep Die Fohlen at bay during that run.

Arminia did actually come out on top in their most recent clash with Monchengladbach - a penalty shoot-out victory in the 2014-15 DFB-Pokal - but this weekend's hosts have not beaten their opponents in the Bundesliga since 2003.

Arminia Bielefeld Bundesliga form: LLWLLW

Borussia Monchengladbach Bundesliga form: DWDDDL
Borussia Monchengladbach form (all competitions): DLDDLW


Team News

Marcus Thuram in action for Gladbach on June 5, 2020© Reuters

Arminia Bielefeld still have a number of injury concerns despite their extended break, although Cedric Brunner is good to go after being forced off in the last 10 minutes against Schalke.

Andreas Voglsammer and Joakim Nilsson are being restricted to individual training as they work their way back from calf and thigh problems respectively, while Hertha Berlin loanee Arne Maier is struggling with an ankle problem.

As for Monchengladbach, Marcus Thuram serves the second of a six-game ban for spitting, so Patrick Herrmann will be eyeing a starting role after coming off the bench to net his side's fourth against Elversberg.

Left-back Ramy Bensebaini is yet to make his comeback from coronavirus five weeks after testing positive, but Rose has expressed optimism over his availability for this showdown.

Alassane Plea should return to lead the line for the visitors after recovering from a thigh problem, while Yann Sommer and Florian Neuhaus are also expected to come back into the first XI after being benched for the win over Elversberg.

Arminia Bielefeld possible starting lineup:
Moreno; Brunner, Van der Hoorn, Pieper, Lucoqui; Doan, Prietl, Hartel, Soukou; Cordova, Klos

Borussia Monchengladbach possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt; Zakaria, Neuhaus; Wolf, Stindl, Hofmann; Plea


SM words green background

We say: Arminia Bielefeld 0-2 Borussia Monchengladbach

Even without the highly-rated Thuram, Monchengladbach have an eye for goal in away matches and ought to be confident of returning to winning ways against a struggling Arminia outfit. The hosts will put up a fight but we cannot see their efforts counting for something against a Monchengladbach side with a point to prove, so the visitors should begin 2021 with a routine win this weekend.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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Friday's key events


HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women aim to secure their place on the podium as they face India in the bronze medal match (2.30am)
· Netherlands - silver medallists five years ago - and Argentina battle for the gold medal in the women's final (11am)

BEACH VOLLEYBALL
· The women's gold medal will be decided as Australia and USA go head to head (3.30am)

BOXING
· Lauren Price will be looking to add to Team GB's success in the ring when she takes on Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands in the women's middleweight semi-final (6am)

DIVING
· Tom Daley already has one Olympic gold to his name in Tokyo, and he begins his bid for second in the men's 10m platform. Teammate Noah Williams is also involved in the preliminary round (7am)

CYCLING
· Jason Kenny's reign as sprint king may be over, but Jack Carlin looked strong in his bid to succeed his compatriot. He takes on Harrie Lavreysen in his sprint semi-final (8.10am), with the final taking place later in the day (10.35am)
· The women's madison makes its Olympic debut at the velodrome as Team GB duo Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look to add another medal to their collections (9.15am)

FOOTBALL
· Hosts Japan will look to get themselves on the podium as they face Mexico in the men's bronze medal match (10am)
· The women's champions will be crowned as both Sweden and Canada aim to win Olympic gold for the very first time (1pm)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 5000m final includes Great Britain's Andrew Butchart, but most eyes will be on Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (1pm)
· Team GB's Jodie Williams will hope to get on the podium in the women's 400m final, but defending champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo is favourite for gold while Stephenie Ann McPherson should challenge and Allyson Felix is bidding to become the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time (1.35pm)
· Netherlands' Sifan Hassan takes on leg two of her ambitious attempt at a Tokyo treble in a women's 1500m final which also includes Great Britain's Laura Muir and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (1.50pm)
· A star-studded women's 4x100m relay final will see a Team GB quartet including Dina Asher-Smith look to upset defending champions USA and favourites Jamaica, who boast Elaine Thompson-Herah as she goes for her third gold of the Games (2.30pm)
· Great Britain and Jamaica will also be going for gold in the men's 4x100m relay final, and their medal hopes have been boosted by USA's failure to qualify (2.50pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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