Both teams will be looking to bounce back from defeats in midweek when Borussia Monchengladbach host Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Friday night.
Gladbach were beaten 2-1 away to VfL Bochum on Tuesday, while Dortmund lost 2-0 to Wolfsburg earlier in the same evening.
Indeed, Gladbach succumbed to a third defeat in their last four league games in Bochum, with the strugglers scoring two goals within the first 12 minutes of the match.
Clearly, that left Daniel Farke’s side with an uphill task ahead of them. As has often been the case in recent weeks, they struggled to convert their possession into tangible chances, with Alassane Plea’s goal in the 62nd minute one of only two times that they tested the opposition goalkeeper Manuel Riemann throughout the course of the game.
Should they fall to another defeat to Dortmund on Friday in their final match ahead of the World Cup, then Gladbach will almost certainly end this period in the bottom half of the table, which seemed unthinkable after enjoying a very strong start under Farke’s management.
Having been eliminated from the DFB-Pokal by Darmstadt in the second round, that would put the former Norwich City boss firmly on the back foot upon their return in the New Year.
Dortmund, meanwhile, fell six points behind league leaders Bayern Munich – who thrashed Werder Bremen 6-1 at the Allianz Arena – on Tuesday after suffering a damaging defeat in Wolfsburg.
The Wolves were always likely to be tough to beat having headed into the encounter on a seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions, with Micky van de Ven getting Niko Kovac’s side off to the perfect start by breaking the deadlock after just six minutes.
Both sides continually threatened each other, with 38 shots combined across the course of the match, but Edin Terzic’s side could not find a crucial equaliser as Lukas Nmecha sealed all three points for the hosts in injury time.
With Bayern facing BVB’s fiercest rivals Schalke – who are undoubtedly the worst team in the league on current form – on Saturday, Dortmund surely must return from Monchengladbach with a victory if they are to avoid their deficit to the Bavarians becoming untenable prior to the break for the World Cup.
Gladbach’s loss of form in recent weeks has undoubtedly been contributed to by serious injuries to key players, with Yann Sommer and Florian Neuhaus suffering serious ankle and ACL injuries respectively.
Tony Jantschke, Hannes Wolf and Ko Itakura are all ruled out of Friday’s match against BVB, too, with Farke likely to be considering restoring club captain Lars Stindl to the starting XI in order to provide more attacking impetus to the side.
Dortmund, meanwhile, will travel without Marius Wolf, Tim Rothe, Thomas Meunier, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Mateu Morey, Mahmoud Dahoud and Sebastien Haller, while Marco Reus missed the trip to Wolfsburg in midweek with an ankle issue and is unlikely to be risked.
Anthony Modeste, Thorgan Hazard and Giovanni Reyna all came off the bench during the defeat, and Terzic may be considering mixing up his attacking options having been wasteful last time out.
Borussia Monchengladbach possible starting lineup:
Olschowsky; Scally, Friedrich, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Kramer, Kone; Hofmann, Stindl, Plea; Thuram
Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Sule, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro; Bellingham, Can; Adeyemi, Brandt, Reyna; Modeste