Darmstadt vs Borussia Moenchengladbach – Preview
Borussia Mönchengladbach need only avoid defeat away to SV Darmstadt 98 on Saturday to be absolutely certain of their place in the UEFA Champions League play-off round (kick-off: 15:30CEST/13:30GMT).
Holding a three-point advantage over the chasing pack going into the final weekend, only a heavy defeat at Darmstadt’s Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor coupled with a big win for either 1. FSV Mainz 05 or Hertha Berlin, who face off at the Coface Arena, would see the Foals surrender fourth place. That, though, seems highly improbable given Borussia’s 11- and 14-goal cushion on fifth and sixth respectively.
Whatever happens on the day, promoted Darmstadt will be partying long into the night when the curtain comes down on an odds-defying season. The Lilies were written off at the start of the campaign as relegation favourites, but beat Hertha 2-1 last time out to lock down a seat at Germany’s high table for another year.
With their 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday, Darmstadt secured a third consecutive Bundesliga season for the first time.
Andre Schubert has taken an average of 1.9 points per game. Predecessor Lucien Favre managed 1.6 in his tenure.
Mönchengladbach picked up 29 points in the Hinrunde. The Foals have managed 23 points so far in the Rückrunde.
Darmstadt have the league’s lowest possession and the worst pass completion rate.
Darmstadt have only taken 12 points at home – fewer than any other team.
Gladbach have only won 12 points away from home – another league low.
Gladbach’s Andre Hahn has scored five goals in his last six games.
Darmstadt’s Marcel Heller has gone 15 games without a goal. His last came in the reverse fixture, which Gladbach won 3-2.
Darmstadt have scored 15 goals from set pieces. Only Ingolstadt, with 16, have scored more.
Darmstadt: Zaluska – Garics, Sulu, Caldirola, Holland – Niemeyer, Gondorf – Heller, Rausch – Vrancic – Platte
Absentees: Wagner (suspended), Rosenthal (Achilles), Rajkovic (thigh)
Coach: Dirk Schuster
Gladbach: Sommer – Elvedi, Christensen, Nordtveit – Dahoud, Xhaka – Traore, Hofmann – Hazard – Hahn, Raffael
Absentees: Wendt (suspended), Dominguez (back), Jantschke (hernia), Schulz (knee)
Coach: Andre Schubert