Borussia Monchengladbach will look to make it back-to-back wins at the start of 2022 when they welcome Rhine rivals Bayer Leverkusen to Borussia-Park on Saturday.
The hosts picked up a shock victory over Bayern Munich last Friday, whilst the visitors returned from the winter break with a draw against Union Berlin.
Despite Bayern’s lack of first-team regulars due to a COVID-19 outbreak, few could have foreseen Monchengladbach picking up three points at the Allianz Arena last Friday evening.
Prior to the winter break, Adi Hutter’s side had lost four consecutive matches, with 17 goals conceded in that spell, before picking up an impressive 1-1 draw at an in-form Hoffenheim side in their final game of 2021.
That five-match winless spell, as well as their stuttering start to the campaign overall, had left Die Fohlen down in a disappointing 14th place, before last week’s remarkable win lifted them into 12th ahead of matchday 19.
There still remains a long way to go this season for Hutter and his side to achieve their goal of a return to Europe, but a consistent run of form will be needed early in the New Year if they are to stand a chance.
Defeating the league leaders on their own patch is the perfect way to start such a run, but Gladbach must now follow that win up with another positive result on Saturday against their rivals that humiliated them 4-0 when they met in a Rhine derby back in August on matchday two.
Should three points be recorded in successive games, and results elsewhere go in their favour, then Gladbach’s hopes of a climb up the table will seem achievable once more, and could in fact leave them within five points of the Champions League places despite their disappointing opening to the campaign.
Meanwhile, Leverkusen’s season had started so brightly when they seemed destined to challenge for the Bundesliga title with Bayern in the opening weeks, and despite there still remaining plenty of potential for a successful campaign, consistency also remains the issue in the visitors’ camp at this stage.
Die Werkself do head into Saturday’s trip to Gladbach in a far better position than their neighbours it must be said, with Gerardo Seoane’s side occupying fifth spot at the time of writing, just one point outside of the Champions League places.
However, last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Union was their fourth consecutive Bundesliga match without victory, and fifth in all competitions.
Patrik Schick scored his 17th goal in just his 15th league appearance of the season to give Leverkusen a first-half lead, but after seeing the game turned on its head following goals from their opponents either side of half time, Jonathan Tah was required to come to the rescue with a late equaliser to earn his side a point.
Over their struggling spell, scoring goals has not been the problem for Seoane’s men, with seven netted across the last four, but with 11 being conceded in the process, defensive shape will remain a concern for the Swiss boss ahead of their quest for a Champions League spot come May.
Borussia Monchengladbach Bundesliga form:
Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form:
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions):
We say: Borussia Monchengladbach 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen
An entertaining encounter could be on show in this Rhine derby on Saturday, with both sides being creative and clinical in front of goal, whilst remaining leaky at the other end of the pitch as well.
There is little between these two sides when they are on form, and even more so when neither are at their best, so for this reason we are going for a score draw at Borussia-Park.