Manuel Neuer says a second consecutive defeat is unthinkable for Bayern Munich today at Bundesliga leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach, who quietly harbour aspirations of a first German title since 1977.
Bayern have lifted the trophy each of the past seven seasons but their Bundesliga reign is under threat as they sit fourth — four points behind Gladbach — with a third of the season played. Interim Bayern coach Hansi Flick, who replaced the sacked Niko Kovac last month, suffered his first defeat in five games a week ago with a shock 2-1 loss at home to Bayer Leverkusen.
Neuer has called for a response by Bayern at Borussia Park. “We simply must not lose, that’s out of the question — we’re going there to win,” the Germany goalkeeper said. Under new head coach Marco Rose, Gladbach are this season’s surprise package and have spent the last two months in first place.
Swiss striker Breel Embolo scored twice in Sunday’s 4-2 home win against Freiburg to keep Gladbach top, bouncing back from a surprise 2-0 away defeat at Union Berlin. A win over Bayern would go some way to firming up Gladbach’s status as genuine title contenders, especially with second-placed RB Leipzig, who host mid-table Hoffenheim on Saturday, just a point behind.
“We always want to compete with the best — and Bayern are the best,” said Embolo. “But it’s not just us who want to stand up to them. Leipzig, Schalke and Leverkusen want that too. It’s going to be a top game. Bayern are a world-class team and we need to hope for a good day.”
Another defeat would pile the pressure on Bayern and Flick. Ex-Germany coach and Gladbach legend Berti Vogts said his former side “will be hard to knock off top spot” if they beat the Bavarians this weekend.
Gladbach fans can already be heard at matches singing about becoming German champions as they enjoy their best start to a season since 1977 — the last time they won the Bundesliga. “We feel good at the moment and spirits are high, we are going into the duel with respect, but know we have a chance to win,” said Rose. Germany defender Matthias Ginter is expected to be fit again after injury to face Bayern, who are near full strength.
(all times 1430 GMT unless stated)
Today: Borussia Dortmund v Fortuna Duesseldorf, RB Leipzig v Hoffenheim, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Bayern Munich, Freiburg v Wolfsburg, Augsburg v Mainz, Bayer Leverkusen v Schalke 04 (1730)
Tomorrow: Union Berlin v Cologne, Werder Bremen v Paderborn (1700)
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