Bayern Munich will look to bounce back from midweek disappointment in Europe by securing the Bundesliga title with victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.
Pep Guardiola’s side suffered a 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions league semi-final tie in Spain on Wednesday.
But victory back on home turf against Gladbach on Saturday would guarantee a fourth consecutive domestic crown, with Bayern seven points ahead of Borussia Dortmund with three games remaining.
Their rivals host Wolfsburg and realistically need a win to have any chance of capitalising on a Bayern slip-up.
“We need one more win,” Guardiola told ZDF. “I am convinced that Dortmund will win all their outstanding matches.”
All eyes will be on the outgoing coach’s team selection, with an expectation that a number of regular starters will be rested ahead of Tuesday’s return with Atletico.
The use of Thomas Muller will be under particular scrutiny after Guardiola made the surprise and subsequently much-criticised call to drop the Germany star to the bench at the Vicente Calderon, where he came on during the last 20 minutes to aid a fruitless push for an equaliser.
The decision to deploy wingers Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman in an attempt to stretch Atletico’s narrow defensive shape backfired as Bayern endured a torrid first half.
The German champions could welcome a defensive reinforcement against Gladbach, with Jerome Boateng back to fitness following a groin injury that has sidelined him since the 2-1 win over Hamburg in January.
Boateng travelled to Madrid without making the matchday squad and Guardiola is unlikely to throw the 27-year-old back into his starting XI this weekend.
“I don’t know [if Boateng will start in the return against Atletico]. He was injured for three, four months,” he said.
“I hope that he can play a few minutes against Gladbach. But he’s been injured for a long time and only trained with the squad four or five times.”
If Bayern have their eye on engagements elsewhere, Gladbach will be primed to capitalise.
Andre Schubert’s team were the first side to beat Bayern in the Bundesliga this season, as quickfire second-half goals from Oscar Wendt, Lars Stindl and Fabian Johnson earned a scintillating 3-1 win at Borussia Park in December.
Despite losing their first five games of the league season under Schubert’s predecessor Lucien Favre, Borussia are only a point behind Hertha Berlin in their quest for a top-four place and a return to the Champions League.
Schubert’s men failed to build on a 5-0 demolition of Hertha at the start of this month as they lost back-to-back match against Ingolstadt and Hannover, continuing woeful away form.
But an early Jeremy Toljan own goal got them back on track against Hoffenheim last time out before Mahmoud Dahoud and Andre Hann netted to close out a 3-1 victory.
Key Opta Stats:
– Bayern are on a run of three winless games against Borussia (D1, L2). Their 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture was their only loss in the first half of the season.
– Bayern will become the first side to lift four consecutive Bundesliga titles if Borussia Dortmund fail to better their result this weekend. It would also see them claim the championship at the Allianz Arena for the first time.
– The Bavarians have won all 10 of their Bundesliga games immediately following a Champions League fixture in 2015-16, scoring 29 goals and conceding just two in the process.
– Only two sides have collected fewer points on the road in the league this season than Borussia Monchengladbach (Eintracht Frankfurt and Wolfsburg). Frankfurt are the only club other than Borussia to lose 10 away games this term. The Foals have claimed just one
– Gladbach have one point on their travels in 2016 and their last away win was a 4-1 triumph ove Hertha Berlin last October.
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