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Preview: Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Bayer Leverkusen - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Borussia Monchengladbach entertain Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with time running out for these two sides in terms of their Champions League qualification hopes.

Gladbach narrowly pipped Leverkusen to fourth spot last season, but on current form neither of these sides will be representing Germany in Europe's elite competition next season.


Match preview

Florian Neuhaus in action for Borussia Monchengladbach on February 6, 2021© Reuters

Gladbach certainly appear to be in a state of flux at present, with manager Marco Rose set to depart for Borussia Dortmund in the summer and results recently suffering, perhaps in part as a result of that announcement.

Die Fohlen looked back to their best in a lightning first-half performance at RB Leipzig last weekend, though, with Dayot Upamecano's needless challenge on Breel Embolo allowing Jonas Hofmann to squeeze the ball past Peter Gulacsi from the penalty spot. Thirteen minutes later, excellent wing play by Valentino Lazaro found Embolo at the back post, with the Swiss striker's header diverting off Marcus Thuram into the back of Leipzig's net.

However, familiar defensive nervousness and vulnerabilities remained in Gladbach's backline, with Leipzig creditably mounting serious pressure after the break. Christopher Nkunku and Yussuf Poulsen fired Julian Nagelsmann's side level either side of the hour mark, with Alexander Sorloth breaking Gladbach hearts with the last kick of the game to complete a phenomenal turn and keep his side's title hopes intact.

Rose's side suffered a further setback in midweek, with the 44-year-old's hopes of departing the club with a trophy ending after a 1-0 loss to his future club Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal quarter-final. With a nine point deficit to Eintracht Frankfurt in fourth place, Rose's remit is likely to have reduced to securing Europa League football as a parting gift to the club he has served so well, with forthcoming opponents Leverkusen likely to prove a rival in that sense once again.

Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz pictured on February 21, 2021© Reuters

Leverkusen, meanwhile, are still only five points adrift of Frankfurt, but look to be squandering their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League having been top of the table as recently as December 19.

Peter Bosz's side's 2-1 defeat at home to Freiburg last weekend was all too predictable, with Die Werkself dominating possession and the match's shot count, but falling foul to two clinical counter-attacks from the visitors.

Christian Streich had his goalkeeper Florian Muller to be thankful for the score remaining level at the half-time interval, with the 23-year-old making three excellent saves to deny Florian Wirtz, Leon Bailey and Demarai Gray in the early exchanges.

Lucas Holer and Ermedin Demirovic each combined for Freiburg's goals, with Bailey's fizzing finish in response not built on in terms of recovering a point from the game. However, Bosz may fancy his side's chances against a Gladbach side seemingly mired in even deeper implosion mode, with a win potentially resurrecting either side's season.

Borussia Monchengladbach Bundesliga form: WDLDLL
Borussia Monchengladbach form (all competitions): LDLLLL

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form: LLWDDL
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): WDLDLL


Team News

Bayer Leverkusen's Moussa Diaby pictured in March 2020© Reuters

Gladbach will be without Lars Stindl after their top goalscorer picked up his fifth caution of the season during the defeat to Leipzig.

Tony Jantschke continues to be sidelined by a muscle injury, but otherwise Rose has a clean bill of health to select from.

Bosz could only wish for such fortune, with Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Julian Baumgartlinger both out for the foreseeable future with ACL injuries. Jeremie Frimpong, Sven Bender, Santiago Arias and Paulinho could return this month but not in time for the visit of Gladbach, while first-choice goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky is out until April with an Achilles tendon issue.

Twenty-two-year-old Lennart Grill came in between the sticks to make his debut against Freiburg and should retain his place, with the returning Moussa Diaby likely to replace Bailey after the Jamaica winger picked up his fifth booking of the season and a subsequent suspension last time out.

Borussia Monchengladbach possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Kramer, Neuhaus, Zakaria; Plea, Embolo, Hofmann

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Grill; Dragovic, Tah, Tapsoba, Wendell; Demirbay, Aranguiz, Wirtz; Diaby, Schick, Gray


SM words green background

We say: Borussia Monchengladbach 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen

We can see an entertaining score draw between these two sides, both of whom it is fair to say are more comfortable attacking than they are defending.

In truth, a share of the spoils would probably do neither club any favour in terms of finishing in the top four, but those ambitions appear to be increasingly unlikely in any case.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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.Home/Away:data


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Germany and Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Jonas Hofmann pictured in October 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bayern MunichBayern28205380364465
2RB Leipzig28186452232960
3Wolfsburg28159449262354
4Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt281411359401953
5Borussia DortmundDortmund281441058411746
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen28128845321344
7Union BerlinUnion Berlin2891364234840
8Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach28101084843540
9Stuttgart2810995044639
10Freiburg28107114042-237
11Augsburg2895142942-1332
12Hoffenheim2887134147-631
13Werder Bremen2879123243-1130
14Mainz 052877143048-1828
15Hertha Berlin2868143448-1426
16Arminia Bielefeld2875162246-2426
17FC Koln2858152750-2323
18Schalke 04Schalke2827191871-5313

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