Borussia Monchengladbach defender Havard Nordtveit is quietly confident that his in-form side can end Bayern Munich’s unbeaten run when the two meet in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Coach Andre Schubert has overseen a dramatic upturn in the club’s fortunes since succeeding Lucien Favre in late September, with the hosts having lost only one of their last 14 games in all competitions.
But champions Bayern have set a new Bundesliga record by remaining unbeaten since the start of the season and Nordtveit is aware that his side will have to be at their best to bring that astonishing run to an end at Borussia-Park.
“It is always an honour and an enjoyable experience playing against Bayern Munich,” he said.
“They are one of the best teams in Europe, if not in the world and particularly going forward, they are incredibly strong.
“If you want to pick up points against Bayern, then you have to defend intelligently.
“Many teams adopt a highly defensive setup, but this is often ineffective due to the fact that Bayern tend to eventually find a hole.
“We will not only concentrate on our defence, but will look to play forward.
“I hope that we are able to create chances and score goals, just like we have done in recent matches.”
Bayern will be wary of the threat posed by their opponents, against whom they dropped five points last season.
Indeed, the Bavarian giants have won on only two of their last nine league visits to Borussia-Park and will need to improve upon last weekend’s rather lacklustre display against Hertha Berlin if they are maintain their eight-point buffer at the top of the table.
Pep Guardiola’s men were boosted this week by the return to training of Franck Ribery, who has been sidelined since March with a chronic ankle injury.
The France international will not feature this weekend, but could be back in action before the mid-season break.
In further good news for the visitors, Thomas Muller has hinted that he is keen to sign a new contract with and teenage striker Kingsley Coman has insisted that he would prefer to stay at Bayern rather than return to parent club Juventus once his two-year loan deal expires.
Brazil forward Douglas Costa is a major doubt as he struggles to overcome a thigh problem, while Thiago Alcantara is facing at least a further fortnight on the sidelines after re-injuring his problematic right knee.
For the fourth-placed home side, a thigh injury is expected to rule out Austrian defender Martin Stranzl and, although he has returned to training, the game will come too early for midfielder Ibrahima Traore.
Monchengladbach’s main goal threat will be provided by Brazilian forward Raffael, who has scored six league goals this term, while defender Fabian Johnson will look to continue his unlikely hot streak in front of goal having scored three times in the last two games.
Key Opta stats:
– Borussia Monchengladbach claimed four points from Bayern Munich last term – more than any other Bundesliga side. They were also the only side not to concede a goal against Bayern in 2014-15.
– Bayern have conceded more goals away to Monchengladbach (76) than against any other Bundesliga side.
– Since Andre Schubert took job, only Bayern (25) have claimed more points than Monchengladbach (23).
– Monchengladbach have netted 26 Bundesliga goals under Schubert – only Bayern have netted more frequently in that time (27).
– Schubert’s men were bottom after matchday five, but are fourth nine games later – a feat which has never previously been managed.