Borussia Monchengladbach take on Manchester City at Puskas Arena on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 knockout tie.
It is the first time that Gladbach have competed in the knockout stages of the Champions League, although they did reach the final of the old European Cup in 1977, while Man City are looking to win the competition for the first time in the club’s history.
After a promising start to the season, the wind has been taken from the sails of Gladbach’s campaign in recent weeks, with poor results exacerbated by the confirmation that their manager Marco Rose will depart the club for Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
Indeed, Saturday’s dismal 2-1 defeat at home to Mainz 05 leaves Gladbach languishing eighth in the Bundesliga and nine points adrift of the Champions League qualification positions.
Given the current form of Man City, then, Gladbach fans may wish to savour every moment of the 180 minutes against Pep Guardiola’s side, as it could be the last time they see their great club in Europe’s elite competition for at least a couple of seasons.
Die Fohlen still possess considerable quality within their ranks to potentially make life difficult for the English champions elect, though, with Alassane Plea particularly enjoying himself in the Champions League this season, having scored five goals in the group stages as Rose’s side impressively finished second ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan to progress.
Man City’s 1-0 win at Arsenal on Sunday extended their winning run to an astonishing 18 consecutive matches in all competitions, with Raheem Sterling’s second-minute header proving enough to keep Mikel Arteta’s side at arm’s length.
Ominously for the rest of England and Europe, Guardiola’s side rarely look like conceding at present, having kept eight clean sheets in their last 10 Premier League games. They only conceded once in six games along the way to comfortably topping Group C, too.
When you combine a formidable defensive record like that with the raft of attacking options Guardiola has at his disposal, it is perfectly understandable why many people believe this could be the year Man City go on to win the Champions League for the first time.
However, that same assumption has been made several times in recent seasons, with the Citizens falling short for differing reasons on each occasion. In truth, they should have few issues against Gladbach, but it remains to be seen how they will fare against a club operating at a similarly elite level to themselves later in the competition.
Borussia Monchengladbach Champions League form: DDWWLL
Borussia Monchengladbach form (all competitions): WDWLDL
Manchester City Champions League form: WWWWDW
Manchester City form (all competitions): WWWWWW