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Big game in Gladbach

'Highly focused' against Favre's high-flyers

The best defences of the league - FCB: have conceded only two and Gladbach just four - the best keepers (Neuer: 86.7 % shots saved / Sommer: 88.6), the best goalscorers (Götze 6 / Kruse 5), and both teams still unbeaten: in a nutshell, it is the top of the table clash between the leads and their chief pursuers in second. After 40 years the Bundesliga classic FC Bayern against Borussia Mönchengladbach is finally a top match again. “We have to be highly focused, go for it and be aggressive,” stressed Dante before the match on Saturday evening (Live in English on Twitter and FCB.tv Web Radio), when FCB travel to the Borussia Park.

The last time that Bayern and theGladbach Foals played as first versus second dates back to May 1974. Back then Bayern were not only the clear top team but also freshly crowned European Cup winners; hence they could afford a 5-0 defeat – only one day (!) after the greatest triumph in the club's history to that date. Now FCB make the trip to the Lower Rhine after another successful European Cup evening. But this time the Bavarians have no intention of losing!

“We want to extend our lead,” stressed Thomas Müller who after the recent thumping victory in Rome would be satisfied with a “perfectly normal, ordinary win.” “Winning 7-1 was nice, wonderful, but it's over,” agreed Dante, moving rapidly on from the festival in Rome. “It starts from scratch again,” said Mario Götze, expecting a “very difficult” match. “Gladbach aren’t second for no reason.”

Foals confident

Pep Guardiola agrees. “I’m not surprised by Borussia. They’ve earned their place in the table,” the FCB head coach said. “They are very well organised and have dangerous forwards.” Xherdan Shaqiri commented: “They’re a well-organised team and Lucien Favre is a very good tactician.”

The Foals want to make the most of their strengths on Sunday too. “We’ll try as hard as we can to make it a great game. The spectators will support us unconditionally,” sporting director Max Eberl announced. Further: “We’re very solid at the moment, unbeaten for 14 matches. So we can go into the game with confidence.”

Coach Favre, who is set to field a full-strength side, said: “We have respect – but no fear.” Indeed, Gladbach could not be more confident after their best start to the season in 38 years. The 5-0 victory against Apollon Limassol in the Europa League last Thursday only served to boost their soaring morale.

In Munich, where Arjen Robben could only train individually for the last two days due to slight muscular problems, Dante was pleased with the fantastic start made by his former club (2009-2012), but declared: “Nevertheless I hope we play well and pick up the three points.” For FC Bayern this would be the fourth Bundesliga victory in a row against Borussia – the last time this happened is also long ago: more than 47 years, between 1965 and 1967.