Bayern Munich has dominated the Bundesliga over the past decade, but on Saturday it faces bogey team Borussia Moenchengladbach, which has defeated the Bavarian giant nine times in the league since the 2011-12 season.
Regardless of the two teams' positions in recent years -- Bayern has won 10 league titles while Gladbach has finished in the top four just three times -- the clashes have been unusually competitive. Since 2012, the last year Bayern failed to win the title, no club apart from Gladbach has managed more than five wins against it. The cherry on Gladbach's cake came in 2021-22, when the club thrashed Bayern 5-0 in the German Cup, the Bavarians' biggest loss against any opponent since the 1970s.
But, while Gladbach is currently entrenched in the middle of the league standings, it did hold Bayern to a 1-1 draw in Munich earlier in the season. A major change for Gladbach since that game however is the loss of star goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who has made the move south to Munich and will face his former teammates at Borussia Park for the first time on Saturday.
"Our record against them shows that we can be counted on to take points off Bayern," Gladbach manager Daniel Farke told reporters. "For me, this is just another opportunity for us to add to our points tally."
Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn knows the danger posed by Saturday's opponent, particularly with Union Berlin and Borussia Dortmund hot on Bayern's heels in the league.
"It's looking tight at the moment," Kahn said after Tuesday's 1-0 Champions League win at Paris Saint-Germain. "Now it's off to Gladbach and we know they're waiting for us to stumble. We don't want to do anyone a favor."
Player to watch: Yann Sommer
The Swiss goalkeeper was a one-man wall against Bayern in August, making an all-time Bundesliga record 19 saves as he earned Gladbach a 1-1 away draw. Six months later and Sommer has moved to Bayern, replacing injured captain Manuel Neuer in January.
Sommer was a frequent irritant for Bayern during his eight-and-a-half years at Gladbach and had an impressive record against the German champion in that time, with seven wins, four draws and six defeats. Despite the sting of losing its best player to Bayern, Gladbach sporting director Roland Virkus has promised to give Sommer "an official send-off" before Saturday's match.
"Yann is looking forward to it and I'm certain our fans are as well," Virkus said.
Saturday: Stuttgart vs Cologne, Bochum vs Freiburg, Borussia Moenchengladbach vs Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg vs RB Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen
Sunday: Union Berlin vs Schalke, Borussia Dortmund vs Hertha Berlin, Bayer Leverkusen vs Mainz
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