Bundesliga Preview: History, Leverkusen stand in Gladbach's way
Bayer Leverkusen and an almost 25-year-old record stands between Borussia Mönchengladbach and a much-needed win on Friday.
Gladbach are winless in four Bundesliga matches and need to return to the winners' list soon if they to stay in touch in the battle for UEFA Champions League qualification.
But with Leverkusen having not lost a Bundesliga game in Mönchengladbach since February 25, 1989, history will be against the home side at Borussia Park.
Since the German top tier resumed after the winter break, Gladbach have suffered back-to-back defeats to Bayern Munich (2-0) and Hannover (3-1), which has seen Lucien Favre's side drop to fifth on the table, one position and one point outside the Champions League qualification spots.
Gladbach have 33 points after 19 rounds and sit in the UEFA Europa League positions behind Schalke (34) and third-placed Borussia Dortmund (36), while Wolfsburg and Mainz (both 30) are snapping at the heels of Favre's team.
Wolfsburg and Mainz will clash on Saturday at the Volkswagen Arena.
After heading into the winter break with consecutive draws, Favre's men are clearly out of form and have not tasted victory in a competitive fixture since December 8 when they came from behind to defeat Schalke 2-1.
But in a positive for Gladbach, Leverkusen are also slightly out of touch with the second-placed club having lost three of their past four Bundesliga fixtures.
However, Leverkusen will travel to Mönchengladbach on the back of a win, after knocking off Stuttgart 2-1 last week, and midfielder Lars Bender believes that victory has transformed the mood of Sami Hyypiä's side.
"The win against Stuttgart has done us a power of good and it boosts our confidence ahead of the tough game at Borussia," Bender said.
In another positive for Leverkusen, striker Eren Derdiyok - who scored the winner versus Stuttgart - has recovered from a rolled ankle sustained late in last week's game.
Favre may be forced to overhaul his back four on Friday as Gladbach could be without Austrian defender Martin Stranzl after he injured his hip in training, while Havard Nordveit and Lukas Rupp are under consideration to replace suspended right back Julian Korb.
League leaders Bayern Munich (53 points) will be expected to extend their Bundesliga winning streak to 12 matches when they take on 15th-placed Nuremburg, which could see them stretch their lead at the top of the table if Leverkusen (40) fail to beat Gladbach.
Dortmund will travel to Werder Bremen, while in a match that will play a key role in this season's relegation battle, bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig will take on 14th-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.
In other fixtures, Freiburg will host Hoffenheim, Hamburg will clash with Hertha Berlin, Hannover will travel south to play Schalke and Stuttgart are set to face Augsburg.