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‘Must roll up our sleeves’

Gladbach clash: Reds vow end to winless run

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It's a top-of-the-table clash that more than lives up to its billing: on Saturday evening, FC Bayern in second welcome fourth-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach to the Allianz Arena (Live from 17.30 CEST on our exclusive fcbayern.com ticker) on Bundesliga Matchday 7. "Gladbach versus Bayern has a long history," Niko Kovac told Friday’s pre-match press conference. The coach is looking forward to the game and expects "very good opponents who’ve done very well this season." Nevertheless, the champions have a clear goal: "We aim to give the best possible account of ourselves, and naturally we want to win the match," Kovac declared.

It’s something of a meeting between equals, and not only due to the current situation in the standings: the last eight Bundesliga head-to-heads have yielded three victories for each team with two draws, prompting plenty of respect in Munich for the fast-starting Foals from Gladbach. "They have a lot of good and dynamic players, and they’ve also added plenty of firepower to their attack this season. It won't be easy for us," explained Leon Goretzka, who has been sidelined with an ankle problem of late.

Sleeves rolled up

However, the midfielder is now fully fit for Saturday, as are David Alaba and Mats Hummels, who sat out training the day before. According to Kovac, the Germany centre-back has been given the green light by the medical unit after a head injury sustained in the Champions League clash with Ajax last Tuesday. Apart from Rafinha, who continues his recovery from ligament damage, and long-term absentees Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman, Kovac has the complete squad at his disposal and announced a policy of rotation at the end of the intense early-autumn period. "We have to bring in fresh players," said the coach, while reminding reporters that "no matter who plays, everyone here at FC Bayern has great quality.”

After three games without a win, the Bayern coach knows it would be important to sign off for the international break with a good result. "We’re in this situation and now the boys have to roll up their sleeves - that's what we'll do together," the 46-year-old announced. The boss is relaxed about the club’s current position. "It’s a minor phase that we have to go through," he noted, "but other clubs will also have similar phases.”

Confident Gladbach

Opponents Mönchengladbach are also full of confidence prior to the showdown in the Bavarian capital. "We approach every game with the goal of winning it. And we also want to win this game - regardless of the situation in the table," explained general manager Max Eberl. Coach Dieter Hecking warned of the "most difficult task of the year" and urged his men not to be deceived by the Bavarians’ recent results. "With the team they have, it can all change abruptly,” said the 54-year-old, who is without Raffael (calf), Josip Drmic (back) and Jordan Beyer (hip problems) for the trip to Munich.

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