Bayern Munich host Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday as the Bavarians look to potentially wrap up the 2015-16 Bundesliga title. The Bavarians hold a seven-point lead atop the German league table with three matches left to be played, and a win on Saturday would confirm a record fourth consecutive German championship for the perennial favorites.
Gladbach are one of two teams to beat Bayern this season, however, their 3-1 victory at the Borussia-Park in December absolutely stunning Pep Guardiola and company. Bayern will be wary of their opponents this time, but it could be a tricky fixture especially as Guardiola aims to balance domestic responsibilities with the Champions League; Bayern played 90 tough minutes against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and have the second leg of their semi-finals tie to look forward to on Tuesday.
Gladbach have everything to play for, with Hertha BSC having faltered as of late. The Berlin side are still in fourth place, but Gladbach are just one point behind a spot that would put them in a playoff for participation in the 2016-17 Champions League.
The Foals shocked Bayern once before this season and will aim for a similar result to propel them back into Europe's most elite club competition. But Guardiola's side still have it all to play for and will be a tough nut to crack at the Allianz Arena.
Date: Saturday, 30 April
Time: 2:30 p.m. BST/9:30 a.m. ET/3:30 p.m. local time
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich
TV Info: FS2 (U.S. only), BT Sport Europe (UK only, on time delay beginning at 11:45 p.m.)
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go (U.S. only), BT Sport Player (UK only)
|Atletico Madrid:||Hoffenheim: Win|
|Hertha BSC: Win||Hannover: Loss|
|Werder Bremen: Win||Ingolstadt: Loss|
|Schalke: Win||Hertha BSC: Win|
|Benfica: Draw||Schalke: Loss|
Jerome Boateng could make his long-awaited return to the Bayern starting lineup on Saturday, in a match that will be a good measure of how ready he is for the Atleti match. Otherwise, Guardiola will likely use a rotation to keep his stars fresh for the return leg against the Madrid side. Holger Badstuber and Arjen Robben will miss out on the action, though, due to injuries.
Possible Bayern starting XI: Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng, Benatia, Bernat; Rode, Kimmich; Coman, Gotze, Costa; Muller
The visitors will enter Saturday's match with a depleted defense, as Alvaro Dominguez, Tony Jantschke, Martin Stranzl and Nico Schulz miss out due to injuries. They otherwise will have a full squad available.
Possible Gladbach starting XI: Sommer; Elvedi, Christensen, Nordtveit; Traore, Dahoud, Xhaka, Wendt; Hahn, Hazard, Raffael
Players to Watch
Bayern's fringe players will have to step up on Saturday if the Bavarians are to claim three points. Joshua Kimmich will be one to watch in his natural position, and Boateng in his return will be interesting to watch. As well, Thomas Muller will have a point to prove after being left out of the starting lineup on Wednesday.
Mahmoud Dahoud and Granit Xhaka will be critical for Gladbach's hopes as they look to take on Bayern's strength in midfield. Up front, Raffael is always a danger, while Andre Hahn is in fine form after his match-winning performance against Hoffenheim.
Joshua Kimmich vs. Mahmoud Dahoud
Kimmich and Dahoud are two of Germany's brightest talents in central midfield, and they'll face off on Saturday. The Bayern man has typically played in defense this season and is a ferocious ball-winner, but he has shown that he is a formidable opponent in the passing game. The Gladbach starlet is one of Europe's most coveted young midfielders, his complete skill set making him extremely desirable.
Mario Gotze vs. Granit Xhaka
Gotze was benched for all 90 minutes of the Atleti tie and will be desperate to make the most of his appeal for more playing time. His talent is undeniable, but the former Dortmund man hasn't been the player he was meant to be since joining Bayern.
Xhaka will be similarly motivated on Saturday, knowing that scouts around Europe will be watching him against elite opposition in Bayern. The Switzerland international has an excellent range of skills with and without the ball and has been likened to Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Odds (courtesy of Odds Shark)