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Stumbling Bayern hunt rare win over Gladbach

Berlin (AFP) – Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich bid to claim a rare win over Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday as the Bundesliga leaders look to get back to winning ways in Germany’s top flight.

Having won their first eight games under Ancelotti in all competitions, Bayern then went three matches without a win but got back on track with a 4-1 thumping of PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday in the Champions League.

The Bavarians now return to domestic business, where they have slipped up in recent weeks with draws against Cologne and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Bayern are two points clear at the top of the table but need to build on their emphatic win over PSV when Arjen Robben was outstanding with two assists and a goal.

“I think we absolutely took a step forward, and we have to build on that,” skipper Philipp Lahm said after Wednesday’s match.

Bayern have failed to beat Borussia in their last four meetings and Gladbach claimed home and away league wins over the Bavarian giants in 2015.

Gladbach are buoyed by their 2-0 Champions League win at Celtic which Andre Schubert’s side needed after their 4-0 thrashing by Schalke and frustrating goalless draw with Hamburg, when they missed two penalties.

“Bayern are a very different team to Celtic, you can’t compare them with each other,” Gladbach’s Danish defender Jannik Vestergaard told the club’s website. 

“Bayern have a world-class team so we need to work really hard again, but we have to try to play the way we like to, otherwise it’s going to be a long 90 minutes.”

Moenchengladbach no longer enjoy the same rivalry with Bayern as they did in the 1970s, when the clubs shared nine straight Bundesliga titles between them.

But the Foals still present a challenge having only lost once at the Allianz Arena in the last five years.

– Russ gets all-clear –

A battle royale beckons in the capital on Saturday when fourth-placed Hertha Berlin host unbeaten Cologne.

Pal Dardai’s Hertha are enjoying their best start to a campaign for 46 years and have lost only to Bayern this season, while second-placed Cologne are unbeaten in nine away games and are one of only four teams still undefeated in the Bundesliga.

The goals could well flow as Cologne’s Anthony Modeste is the league’s top scorer so far with seven, while Hertha’s Vedad Ibisevic is just behind with five.

Injury-hit Borussia Dortmund are eager to pick up a first Bundesliga win in four weeks at bottom club Ingolstadt on Saturday — Thomas Tuchel’s men had nine players out for Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Eintracht have been boosted ahead of their trip to Hamburg on Friday after defender Marco Russ, 31, was given the green light to return to training.

Russ has not played since being diagnosed with testicular cancer in May this year.

“It’s wonderful. He has the doctors’ permission to pursue his career once more and will now start with a programme of rehabilitation,” said coach Niko Kovac. 

“To start with, he needs to work on his fitness. But he’d like to be as close to the team as possible, and wants to make the trip to Hamburg with us.”

Ex-Bayern defender Valerien Ismael makes his debut as a Bundesliga coach on Saturday when he takes Wolfsburg to Darmstadt with both teams just above the relegation places.

Wolfsburg sacked Dieter Hecking as coach on Monday after six games without a win and Frenchman Ismael has been promoted as coach from the Under-23 team.

Results in the coming weeks will dictate whether he gets the job permanently.

Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT unless stated)


Hamburg v Eintracht Frankfurt (1830)


Bayer Leverkusen v Hoffenheim, Hertha Berlin v Cologne, Ingolstadt v Borussia Dortmund, Darmstadt v VfL Wolfsburg, Freiburg v Augsburg, Bayern Munich v Borussia Moenchengladbach (1630)


RB Leipzig v Werder Bremen, Schalke v Mainz (1530)

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