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Bundesliga Matchday 18
Allianz Arena, Munich
  • 18' Robert Lewandowski
FC Bayern Munich
1 : 2
(1:2)
Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • 27' Florian Neuhaus
  • 31' Stefan Lainer
  • 18' Robert Lewandowski
  • 27' Florian Neuhaus
  • 31' Stefan Lainer
Matchday 18

Bayern vs. Gladbach. All you need to know in our preview

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A new year, and with it, new challenges: After successfully wrapping up the Hinrunde before Christmas, FC Bayern head into the second half of the season with a match against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Friday that will take place in special circumstances (live text and webradio commentary from 2:30pm ET on fcbayern.com). Find out all you need to know about the kick-off to the second half of the Bundesliga season at the Allianz Arena in our preview:

Enjoy the best images from Bayern's final training session before the clash with Gladbach in our gallery:

The situation for FC Bayern

Joy and sorrow go pretty much hand in hand at FC Bayern at the moment. From a purely sporting point of view, the Herbstmeister (unofficial autumn champions) are in an excellent position with a nine-point lead in the table and seven straight wins heading into 2022 - but in terms of manpower, the record champions are plagued by a few worries: "We have several absentees due to the Africa Cup of Nations, players infected with COVID, and also a few out injured who cannot play," said Julian Nagelsmann, who will be missing a total of 13 senior players against Gladbach (see below). "It's a challenging situation," the 34-year-old head coach continued, but it's also "extremely exciting from a coaching point of view" to develop a match plan for this game and bring out the qualities of the players who may find themselves in unfamiliar positions.

Especially as the manpower situation within the squad is not causing any concern: "We still have a lot of internationals and huge quality on the pitch," explained Thomas Müller, giving his new teammates from the FC Bayern Campus an extra dose of motivation. "The substitution options will probably be rather less familiar names, but that doesn't mean they can't score a goal." And then there's another factor that adds some spice to the game: "We owe Gladbach a bit of payback," said Nagelsmann after Borussia got the upper hand against Bayern in the cup clash at the end of October.

A real classic - we take a look back at special Bundesliga clashes against Borussia Mönchengladbach:

The opponents: Borussia Mönchengladbach

19 points from 17 games, 14th in the table after the Hinrunde - Mönchengladbach certainly imagined the first half of the season would be different. "Of course, we've had a difficult half-season. We had long-term injuries at unfortunate times that hurt us," explained coach Adi Hütter, describing the current sporting situation as being "not without danger". In the last five Bundesliga games, Borussia picked up just one point, but conceded 18 goals. Nevertheless, the Austrian continues to believe in an imminent turnaround: "We're confident in our team and have the opportunity to start a race to catch up." In order to start it in Munich, the 51-year-old demanded a bold performance from his team: "We can't just sit back and wait, we have to come up with good ideas."

In the last home game against Mönchengladbach in May, Bayern, as the newly crowned defending champions, celebrated with a 6-0 championship party.

Team news for Bayern vs. Mönchengladbach

FC Bayern have more than a dozen absentees ahead of the match against Mönchengladbach. Manuel Neuer, Dayot Upamecano, Omar Richards, Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernández, Tanguy Nianzou, Corentin Tolisso, Leroy Sané and Kingsley Coman have all tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Cameroon) and Bouna Sarr (Senegal) are on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. Josip Stanišić and Leon Goretzka are both undergoing individual training and are probably not yet fit enough for Friday. Nagelsmann will pad out the squad with some reserve and youth players.

The opposition also have some team issues: Ramy Bensebaini (Algeria) has been called up for the Africa Cup of Nations, and Jonas Hofmann is still out following a knee injury. In addition, according to Hütter, Borussia also have four "COVID cases" in Denis Zakaria, Joe Scally, Mamadou Doucouré and Keanan Bennetts, all of whom will not feature against the Reds.

Team news, tactics and more: Watch the pre-match press conference with Julian Nagelsmann before the game against Gladbach again (with English translation) here:

What the coaches say

Julian Nagelsmann: "I'm already having some very mild thoughts of getting revenge. It won't change the outcome of the cup, but we didn't win in the league either. I don't care if we only have U23 players on the bench, I still want to win. Gladbach are still an outstanding team. They're extremely powerful up front and have very clever players. They're a team who can easily fight their way out of their current situation. We'll try to box well against them to keep the three points in Munich."

Adi Hütter (Borussia Mönchengladbach head coach): "Despite the absence of some well-known players, the team [FC Bayern] still possess a lot of quality. In attack, particularly, they don't have that many absentees. [...] We can't afford to just sit at the back, since Bayern have a lot of quality and can get a lot of players into the box and be a threat. We have to find a good mix. If we lose possession, we'll have to be convincing in terms of running and defending well. But we'll also have to be bold and try to get forward. We can't just sit tight, we'll have to have good solutions."

If you'd like to know more about the game against Gladbach, check out our facts and stats: