Gladbach’s Bensebaini out to spoil Bayern title party


Berlin (AFP) – Algeria left-back Ramy Bensebaini says Borussia Moenchengladbach are out to spoil the title party at Bayern Munich on Saturday where the hosts can be confirmed Bundesliga winners for the ninth straight season.

With three matches left, Bayern are seven points clear ahead of Saturday night’s showdown at the Allianz Arena as they look to avenge a 3-2 defeat at Moenchengladbach last January.

“We are in the race to qualify for a European spot, so we want to beat Bayern for our own objectives,” Bensebaini said, in a DFL interview, with Gladbach seventh in the table and four points from the European places.

“And if we can spoil the party in the process, we’ll take it.”

As the 26-year-old admits, shock defeats to Cologne, Mainz, Augsburg and Hoffenheim this year have hurt Gladbach’s standing in the table and without them, “we would be close to the top four at the moment”.

The burly defender is in good form having scored twice in Gladbach’s last three games, netting a penalty in the 5-0 thrashing of Arminia Bielefeld following a header in a 4-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt  

Bensebaini, a dead-ball expert, also knows a thing or two about beating Bayern.

His first start after testing positive for Covid-19 late last year saw the hosts come back from 2-0 down to beat Bayern in January when Gladbach midfielder Jonas Hofmann scored with either foot.

“I was only meant to play 60 minutes, but in the end, I continued until the 89th minute,” he said.

“When we went 2-0 down, we told ourselves not to give up, so we continued playing our football and putting them under pressure.

“We pressed them high and won a good number of balls up the pitch. We scored three goals in the end –- not bad.”

In December 2019, he scored with a header and converted a last-gasp penalty to cap a stunning display as Gladbach, who were then top of the Bundesliga, beat Bayern 2-1 at Borussia Park.  

“It was the first brace of my career,” he recalls.

“For the first one, I was left unmarked in front of goal and headed it in. It was unstoppable.”

Then with time almost up and Gladbach awarded a penalty after a foul on Marcus Thuram, Bensebaini had to be reminded he would take the spot-kick with first-choice taker Lars Stindl off the pitch.

“I had forgotten, but the goalkeeper reminded me. I took it just like I take them in training and it went in the back of the net. I was very proud,” he added as his 92nd-minute spot-kick sparked wild celebrations.

On Saturday, Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski will be looking to add to his tally of 36 league goals this season, leaving him just four short of the all-time Bundesliga record.

“His main strength is knowing where to position himself, being in the right place at the right time, and his ability to find the back of the net,” said Bensebaini. “He is part of a great team.”

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