Borussia Monchengladbach v Hoffenheim, Bundesliga, September 19, 2009
After three matches without conceding a goal that sowed the seeds of progress, Hoffenheim stepped up their game last weekend by overrunning Bochum in a 3-nil victory. With their tails up for arguably the first time since the end of 2008, Hoffenheim will be hoping for another positive result when they meet Gladbach at the Borussia-Park on Saturday.
Gladbach have also had an impressive start to the new Bundesliga season, currently lying in ninth place in the table despite having lost two of their past three league matches. In particular the squad looks cohesive in the opening weeks of the campaign with the two main summer signings â€“ left winger Juan Arango and striker Raul Bobadilla â€“ both having adapted and settled into their new club in fine fettle.
Gladbach line-up with a classic 4-4-2 formation, boasting a talented midfield supporting a solid and dangerous strike-force. In particular, American international Michael Bradley has an incredible up-and-down engine in the middle of the park, while new signings Marcel Meeuwis, Marco Reus and Thorben Marx have all made impressive starts after joining the club in the summer. Up-top, aside from Bobadilla, Israeli international Roberto Colautti will be looking to add to his solitary strike so-far chalked up this season.
Gladbach’s problem area though is at the back where they appear susceptible to speed. In turn, Hoffenheim are a team geared to handle slow defenses with their explosive threesome up front.
Demba Ba and last season’s star Vedad Ibisevic are yet to enter full fitness, but with their match-fitness increasing from day to day, coupled with the excellent early season form of Nigerian forward Chinedu Obasi, Hoffenheim has a lethal attack.
The visitors also have a very strong defensive line which should be able to contain the hosts’ attacks. The vastly talented Andreas Beck will likely have his hands full keeping Arango at bay down his right hand side. While at the centre of the Village Team’s defence is the hugely promising center-half Marvin Compper. The 24-year-old defender has great potential, and he has been showing it in the past season as well as in 2009/2010. Strong, fast, and wise, Compper looks to be a star in the making. (Hoffenheim are 13/8 to keep a clean sheet.)
101predicts: Borussia Monchengladbach 1 – Hoffenheim 1 (11/2)
Full match odds here.