Borussia Monchengladbach, fighting against relegation, welcomes the last-place SV Darmstadt 98 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Despite recent struggles, the hosts have shown some promising play but haven’t managed many wins, keeping the threat of relegation alive.
Gerardo Seoane’s team was supposed to play against third-tier Saarbrucken in the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals on Wednesday, but bad weather postponed the game.
This means Gladbach couldn’t build on their recent form, which includes only one win in their last seven games.
However, Gladbach has reasons to be optimistic about their 2024 performances despite a tough end to 2023.
They started the year with an impressive win against Stuttgart, who are eyeing a Champions League spot.
Following that victory, they’ve had a three-game stretch without wins but managed a draw against Bayer Leverkusen, marking one of the few times Xabi Alonso’s team didn’t win this season.
Last week, they led at Bayern Munich but lost 3-1, dropping them to 13th place, just six points above the relegation zone.
The next three home games for Gladbach are against teams below them, presenting a chance to ease relegation worries.
Darmstadt, without a win in 13 games, faces a tough battle for survival, making this match crucial for both teams.
Darmstadt’s season has worsened since their early struggles, including a 3-0 loss to Homburg in the DFB-Pokal.
Their only point in the first five games came from a 3-3 draw against Gladbach, after leading 3-0.
Only two wins this season and a series of losses and draws have left them at the bottom of the table.
Their 2024 has been challenging, with three losses in four games, the exception being a 2-2 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Despite their poor form, Darmstadt is only four points from safety, but their goal difference and position suggest a likely bottom-three finish.
Borussia Monchengladbach Bundesliga form: D L W L D L
SV Darmstadt 98 Bundesliga form: L D L D L L
Gladbach welcomes back Ko Itakura and possibly Max Wober. However, their attack suffers with Patrick Herrmann, Alassane Plea, and Tomas Cvancara injured, and Hannes Wolf has transferred out.
Moritz Nicolas continues as goalkeeper due to Jonas Omlin’s injury.
For Darmstadt, Matej Maglica returns, but Christoph Klarer is doubtful. Julian Justvan and Fabian Nurnburger are back from illness and injury, respectively.
However, Mathias Honsak and Braydon Manu are still out, with Fraser Hornby and Clemens Riedel missing the rest of the season.
Borussia Monchengladbach possible starting lineup:
Itakura, Friedrich, Elvedi;
Honorat, Reitz, Weigl, Neuhaus, Netz;
SV Darmstadt 98 possible starting lineup:
Bader, Muller, Maglica, Holland;
Gjasula, Franjic, Nurnburger;
Justvan, Pfeiffer, Skarke
Prediction: Borussia Monchengladbach 4-1 SV Darmstadt 98
With both teams having weak defenses, this game is expected to have plenty of goals. Gladbach, after strong showings against the top teams, should easily defeat a Darmstadt team facing relegation.