17:30 (BST); Tuesday 19th September; Stadion im Borussia Park (Mönchengladbach, Germany) BT Sport 3
Hosts Borussia Mönchengladbach haven’t won since Week 1, but a midweek fixture against Stuttgart could be the opportunity Dieter Hecking’s side needs as he looks to get back on track.
Stuttgart have had a topsy-turvy start to the season, but returned to the winners’ list on the weekend last time out.
Only a point separates the two sides going into Tuesday nights clash, but who will put themselves firmly in the top half of the standings?
Last time out
RB Leipzig 2-2 BORUSSIA MÖNCHENGLADBACH
Gladbach made the journey east in Week 4 as they took on RB Leipzig in the top game of the weekend.
It was a less than ideal start for the visitors who fell behind after 17 minutes as Timo Werner curled the ball into the back of the net.
Seven minutes later Gladbach were on level terms when Jonas Hofmann was fouled in the area by Bernardo. Thorgan Hazard stepped up and converted the spot kick for his first goal of the season.
Another seven minutes later and RB Leipzig took the lead, though, when Naby Keïta played in Jean-Kévin Augustin who coolly turned and finished past Yann Sommer.
Gladbach had to wait until the hour mark to respond and what a hit it was. Lars Stindl picked up the ball on the edge of the area and sent a perfectly hit shot into the goal, with the outstretched Péter Gulácsi no chance of keeping it out. Gladbach did well to respond and earned their point in Leipzig.
Stuttgart 1-0 Wolfsburg
It was pouring at the Mercedes-Benz Arena as Stuttgart welcomed Wolfsburg on Week 4.
Hannes Wolf’s side came out strongly in the opening stages with Anastasios Donis’ long-range effort tipped onto the goal post by Koen Casteels.
Stuttgart’s goal eventually came just before halftime, as Casteels failing to clear Donis’ cross and Chadrac Akolo followed up his own parried shot for his second goal of the season.
Stuttgart were the better side for a good portion of proceedings and earned the three points.
Borussia Mönchengladbach Lineup
A gutsy draw by Gladbach on the weekend will be something Dieter Hecking’s side can build on as they look for their second win of the season.
Thorgan Hazard was under plenty of pressure to produce and his goal from the penalty spot would’ve helped his cause in retaining a spot in the starting XI.
The one change I expect will see Jonas Hofmann return to the bench with Patrick Herrmann getting the start.
A strong performance last time out saw Stuttgart once again win at home this season, but on their travels, Hannes Wolf’s side are yet to pick up a point this season.
Stuttgart will sweat on the fitness of captain Christian Gentner, who was involved in a nasty collision with Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels and will be most likely rested.
Orel Mangala will return to partner Sergio Ascacibar in midfield. Anastasios Donis was solid in his first Bundesliga start but will make way for the quicker Josip Brekalo.
Key Battle: Denis Zakaria vs Chadrac Akolo
Two freshmen in the ranks of the Bundesliga who are already making their mark in Germany’s top flight are Denis Zakaria and Chadrac Akolo.
Zakaria came from Young Boys Bern in Switzerland and in four games this season, the 20-year-old Swiss midfielder has settled in nicely into the Gladbach midfield.
Seen as a Granit Xhaka type midfielder, Zakaria has a goal and an assist so far.
Chadrac Akolo has been important for Stuttgart so far this season. Like Zakaria, Akolo came from the Swiss league but the 22-year-old winger comes from FC Sion.
So far this season, Akolo has been involved in two of Stuttgart’s three goals, which includes the match winner against Wolfsburg last time out.
Who will assert themselves as the dominant force in the early kick-off?
Two sides of Gladbach
In their last performance against RB Leipzig, it was noticeable that there were two Gladbachs out on the pitch.
The first half performance was less than satisfactory even though they scored, but they were very much second best.
After what must have been one hell of an earful from manager Dieter Hecking, Gladbach were rolling and asked Leipzig a lot of questions.
Against a back five, Gladbach will need to replicate their second-half showing against Stuttgart.
In two home games this season, Stuttgart have been perfect with no goals conceded and two victories two boot.
However, away from home so far, the floodgates have been open with Hertha Berlin and Schalke taking advantage.
Once again we expect a back five from Hannes Wolf, but can they keep out a Lars Stindl and Raffael combination looking to open their home accounts?
PREDICTION: Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 Stuttgart
Both sides will look to increase their total wins for the season, but none more so than hosts Gladbach. Dieter Hecking’s side could easily have two or three wins, but yet they sit in 10th position and chasing a spot in the top six.
Stuttgart haven’t produced many positives on the road, but against a Gladbach side that desperately needs a win, I can’t see Hannes Wolf’s side coming away with anything as they succumb to defeat in mid-week.
Can Gladbach secure their second win of the season or will Stuttgart get their first away win since returning to the Bundesliga? Let us know in the comments section below.
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