Borussia Monchengladbach v VfL Bochum, Bundesliga, March 20, 2009
Whilst all eyes are on the top of the Bundesliga, surely the most exciting title race in Europe, there is also much to keep an eye on at the bottom of the top German division.
The Friday night game in Germany this week sees Borussia Monchengladbach host Bochum as both clubs look to avoid relegation to the Bundesliga II. Just like the top of the table, it is tight at the bottom with at least seven teams involved in the relegation battle. Monchengladbach and Bochum are separated only by goal difference in 15th and 16th position.
For Monchengladbach, one of the dominant teams of the 1970s in Germany, this is a crucialÂ campaign following their promotion last season. The Foals are still a major club for most German football fans and such has been the success of the likes of Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin this season that if they can stay up further success cannot be ruled out.
Since the winter break, Monchengladbachâ€™s form has dramatically improved lifting them from the bottom position in the Bundesliga.Â After losing their first game of the second half of the season to Stuttgart, Monchengladbach have lost just once in six games and that was to leaders Hertha Berlin.
Monchengladbach have hit four goals in their past two games and thanks to a number of transfers in the January transfer window, they may have found the right blend to avoid the dreaded drop with Tomas Galasek becoming a crucial member of the side.
Key to the fight against relegation has been the performances of American Michael Bradley (pictured)Â who at just 21 has a bright future in European football. The son of team USA boss Bob Bradley scored two last week against Cologne and his goals from midfield will always be crucial. Another youngster to keep an eye on is homegrown Marko Marin, who has provided four assists and two goals in the last five games.
Bochumâ€™s results have also picked up a little over the past few games as the fear of relegation sets in. Last weekâ€™s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich ended a mini run of four games without defeat which had seen them win twice.
Marcel Kollerâ€™s side have struggled for goals this season, scoring just 28 and are also without an away win. It is difficult to see them changing the latter fact on Friday night although Christian Fuchs is in relatively good form, Christoph Dabrowski provides some defensive steel in the middle of the park and only a late goal from Thomas Kleine denied Bochum a win over their hosts on Friday night in the game between these two teams in October.
101gg predicts: Borussia Monchengladbach 3 â€“ VfL Bochum 1 (14/1)
Full match odds here.