Borussia Monchengladbach will end their 37-year absence from Europe’s top club competition on Tuesday and they face a tough return in the form of a trip to Sevilla.
The German side were a genuine force in Europe during the 1970s, reaching the European Cup Final in 1977 and also lifting the UEFA Cup twice in 1975 and 1979.
Last year’s third-place Bundesliga finish finally secured a UEFA Champions League berth, evoking fond memories of those glory years.
But the reward for Lucien Favre’s men was a tough draw in a group containing last season’s beaten finalists Juventus, Europa League holders Sevilla and big-spending Manchester City.
Gladbach will not need any reminding of Sevilla’s pedigree having lost out to them in the Europa League round of 32 last season and their current domestic form suggests that they are unlikely to avenge that defeat on Tuesday night.
Favre’s side have lost each of their first four Bundesliga games this season, conceding 11 goals in the process and they will be without the services of Granit Xhaka for the Sevilla clash as the Swiss midfielder serves a suspension for seeing red when the two sides met in Germany last term.
Skipper Martin Stranzl could also miss the game after fracturing a cheekbone in Friday’s 3-0 defeat against Hamburg and respective back and calf injuries are set to rule out defensive duo Alvaro Dominguez and Fabian Johnson.
Sevilla, meanwhile, have also made a poor start to their domestic campaign, picking up just two points from their opening three games – including a disappointing 1-1 draw with Levante in their most recent outing.
Unai Emery’s men, however, have been a formidable force in European competition in recent years, securing back-to-back Europa League triumphs in the last two seasons and winning all seven of their home European ties last term.
They also boast an unbeaten home record against German sides having won six and drawn four of 10 previous meetings.
In terms of injury news, Emery will be unable to call upon defenders Daniel Carrico and Adil Rami who have both been ruled out by thigh injuries and first-choice goalkeeper Beto faces up to two months on the sidelines after damaging knee ligaments.
The Andalusian side have also endured attacking problems this season, with their only league goal thus far coming from former Stoke City midfielder Steven N’Zonzi.