Borussia Monchengladbach take on Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga’s Friday night game.
The hosts are unbeaten after two matches having made a strong start to life under new manager Daniel Farke.
Indeed, the former Norwich City manager has made a positive impact after Gladbach’s worst Bundesliga finish for 11 years last season, with Die Fohlen looking like a side capable of challenging for the European qualification places once again.
A 9-1 drubbing of Oberachern in the DFB-Pokal was followed up by a comfortable 3-1 victory over Hoffenheim on the opening weekend of the Bundesliga, leaving Farke confident of escaping Schalke 04 with all three points last time out.
However, that looked in doubt after Rodrigo Zalazar’s driving run and strike from 25 yards provided the hosts with a half-time lead, but Marcus Thuram – who has made a brilliant start to life under his new manager – had other ideas with his delightful backheel finding Jonas Hofmann, who did what he does best by displaying composure to nutmeg a defender before prodding the ball into the bottom corner.
Thuram swiveled and fired into an empty net after another Alexander Schwolow fumble to help Gladbach take the lead with 12 minutes remaining, but they could not hold onto a precious three points as Patrick Hermann’s careless handball allowed Marius Bulter to rescue a point from the penalty spot.
While Farke will have been disappointed with his side dropping two points, the 45-year-old can be more than content with their performance levels as they dominated possession and the shots count yet again. If they play like that on Friday, they should win.
Hertha, meanwhile, had everything to prove when they took on Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend, having embarrassingly exited the DFB-Pokal exit to second-tier side Eintracht Braunschweig before losing 3-1 in the derby to Union Berlin last weekend.
After competing in the European Super Cup against Real Madrid in midweek, Frankfurt looked fatigued as they carelessly lost the ball on several occasions, with Suat Serdar punishing them with a fine header after Dodi Lukebakio’s right-wing cross.
Wilfried Kanga should have doubled the hosts’ lead from close range after Frankfurt turned over the ball yet again, with the striker’s profligacy punished just three minutes into the second half as Daichi Kamada displayed trademark composure in front of goal after an excellent counter-attack.
In the end, Hertha would have been happy to take a point after Santos Borre had a penalty decision overturned late on, with the referee deeming there was not enough contact from the onrushing Oliver Christensen to stick with his initial decision of awarding a penalty.
Head coach Sandro Schwarz will know his side must play much better in Monchengladbach on Friday if they are to avoid defeat once again.
Borussia Monchengladbach Bundesliga form:
Borussia Monchengladbach form (all competitions):
Hertha Berlin Bundesliga form:
Hertha Berlin form (all competitions):
We say: Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1 Hertha Berlin
We expect a comfortable victory for the hosts, who have been playing some excellent football in Farke’s early weeks in charge.
Hertha have consistently flirted with relegation in recent years and look set for a difficult season once again, with Gladbach likely to have too much firepower for them to deal with.