The Europa League is back for the start of it’s Round of 32 ties this Thursday, and this is one of the mouth-watering ties coming from Europe, as two-time winners of the old UEFA Cup Borussia Monchengladbach of the Bundesliga, take on Fiorentina of Serie A, whose only European title was the Old Cup Winners’ Cup back in 1961.
‘Gladbach dropped into the competition after finishing third in their Champion League group behind Barcelona and Manchester City, whilst Fiorentina progressed from the Europa League group stages after topping Group J ahead of Greek club PAOK Salonika, Azeri outfit Qarabag, and Czech side Slovan Liberec. The Italians won four, drew once and lost once on the way to progression.
German club ‘Gladbach are enjoying an unbeaten run of five matches in all competitions in 2017, winning each of their last four and currently lying 10th in the Bundesliga table, and so will go into their home leg with Fiorentina in encouraging form. They did, however, fail to win any of their three home fixtures in the Champions League group phase on the way to finishing third and dropping into the Europa League.
Meanwhile, Fiorentina have been shaky on the road in recent months, with just two wins in their last six away games in all competitions, losing the other four. Their away form in Europe has faired slightly better, however, with two victories and a draw coming in their three away matches in the Europa League group phase. Their one loss on the way to topping the group was a 2-3 reverse at home to PAOK.
‘Gladbach are expected to stick to the 4-4-2 formation implemented by Dieter Hecking that has seen them start 2017 unbeaten. With forward Raffael doubtful for the first-leg, Lars Stindl and Andre Hahn are in line to replace him, with the former the likelier to get the not to start alongside Thorgan Hazard (brother of Chelsea’s Eden), in attack. On-loan Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen is set to start at the heart of the defence.
Paulo Sousa is expected to deploy his side in a defensive 3-4-2-1 formation, with Khouma Babacar likely to get the nod to start as the lone forward ahead of Nikola Kalinic, having been widely used throughout their Europa League games this season. January signing Riccardo Saponara is expected to be handed his European debut in attacking midfield alongside Federico Bernadeschi. On-loan Aston Villa man Carlos Sánchez is expected to start in the midfield four despite being one booking away from suspension.
Borussia M.Gladbach predicted starting XI Fiorentina predicted starting XI
Raffael remains a doubt for ‘Gladbach after having sat out their last two games, with Jonas Hofmann also rated doubtful for the clash with La Viola. Indeed, the Germans have had several injury problems to contend with coming into this one, with Kolo, Ibrahima Traore, Marvin Schulz and Mamadou Doucoure all on the treatment table. Mahmoud Dahoud is expected to start, but is one booking away from suspension and will miss the away leg at Stadio Artemio Franchi if he is carded here.
Fiorentina’s only expected absentee is Federico Chiesa, who sits out the first-leg trip to Germany after carrying over a suspension from the group stages. Meanwhile, Carlos Sánchez is one booking away from suspension and although expected to feature, a booking at Borussia Park would see him out of the return leg in Florence.
‘Gladbach’s recent upturn in form under Dieter Hecking is cause for encouragement, and they will be striving to pick up their first win at home in a European proper competition this season. With Fiorentina’s rocky away form in mind, there are always goals in their games, with over 2.5 goals going in during each of La Viola’s last five in the competition, the Italians netting at least two in all of those games.
Their most difficult away assignment in the group stages saw them pick up a point at PAOK, but we expected Fiorentina’s struggles to continue against an in-form side who should finally get off the mark at home in Europe this season. Our call is Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 Fiorentina.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Cs2kaisar judi.
Five things we learnt from Celtic and Manchester City’s 3-3 thriller
Celtic and Manchester City played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in Matchday Two of the Champions League group stage on Wednesday evening in a wonderfully thrilling night of European football in Glasgow.
The result ended Pep Guardiola’s 100% record as Manchester City manager, which has seen The Blues win all ten of the Spaniard’s previous matches in charge so far this season, and helped Celtic to bounce back from the heavy defeat that they suffered to Barcelona earlier this month.
For Brendan Rodgers, it looks increasing likely that he will need to content himself with competing for third place in Group C but this contest will certainly live long in the memory and demonstrated tentative signs that the former Liverpool and Swansea City manager has the Scottish Champions moving in the right direction.
Over the next few pages, we have included five things we learnt from the night’s proceedings.
Celtic can match anyone when they play at Parkhead
The atmosphere generated by the Celtic supporters at Parkhead on Wednesday evening was loud, raucous and, at times, deafening. From the moment that Dembélé opened the scoring early in the first period of the game, you sensed that this would be a special, picturesque European night under the floodlights and, for long periods, the home side more than matched their illustrious opponents.
Celtic have yet to win on their travels Champions League this campaign, having lost three and draw one of their four away ties so far, but at Parkhead, they look like they can go toe to toe with any side in Europe.
Three things we learnt from Man City’s 4-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach
All eyes were on the Etihad Stadium last night as Manchester City attempted to carry their scintillating start to the season under Pep Guardiola into the Champions League as they faced Borussia Monchengladbach.
The fixture was originally scheduled for Tuesday evening but, with the typically erratic Manchester weather rendering the pitch a virtual swamp, the match officials were given no other option but to postpone the game and rearrange it for 24 hours later.
Despite the inconvenience caused for the German club’s supporters, most of whom would have had return flights booked for the Wednesday, they still turned up in their numbers to cheer on their side. Sadly, their loyalty was not rewarded as Andre Schubert’s side were convincingly swept aside by City, who continue their 100 per cent record under their new manager.
The 4-0 scoreline was matched by yet another impressive performance from a City side that appear to be buying into Guardiola’s ideas much quicker than many had expected.
Here are three things we learnt from the game…
Manchester City vs Borussia Monchengladbach: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Pep Guardiola may have Manchester City off to a flying start in the Premier League, but his pedigree in the Champions League was a major reason he was brought to Eastlands. City have struggled to make an impression in Europe, not helped by some very tough draws, with last year’s semi-final appearance their best run in the competition. This season, they have been handed another tough group containing Guardiola’s former club Barcelona, Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic. The Germans were in City’s group last year, with the English side victorious home and away.
City start their campaign at home to Monchengladbach tonight, with three points imperative given that two games against the Catalans loom ominously on the horizon. Monchengladbach, like City, finished fourth in their domestic league to qualify for this year’s competition and dispatched Swiss outfit Young Boys 9-2 on aggregate in the playoff. Under the guidance of manager Andre Schubert, they took four points off Guardiola’s Bayern Munich last term. They may have lost club captain Granit Xhaka to Arsenal earlier this summer, but Thorgan Hazard, Christian Kramer and Josip Drmic will be familiar names for those who follow Premier League gossip columns.
Manchester City eased past Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League qualifier 6-0 on aggregate, and have a 100% record domestically with four straight win in the league. The latest on these victories was Saturday’s 2-1 Derby Day win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, with City in imperious form for most of that match. Monchengladbach beat Hannover at home on the opening game of the Bundesliga season, but lost away at Freiburg on Saturday; their 11th away Bundesliga defeat in 18 matches.
Predicted Line Ups
Manchester City Starting XI Borussia Monchengladbach Starting XI
Injuries and Suspensions
Sergio Aguero’s three game ban for violent conduct only applies to domestic competition, so the Argentinian striker is available and expected to start this game. Summer singing Ilkay Gundogan is close to a full debut and is back in full training after an extended period on the sidelines with a dislocated knee. He may not be risked from the start of this game, but Guardiola says he is getting ‘much, much better’. Vincent Kompany is in the same situation, and though he has returned to training he is likely to be short for tonight. The visitors will be without Patrick Herrmann with an abductor injury.
This is exactly the type of encounter in which City would have slipped up under previous regimes, but there looks very little chance of that under Guardiola. With two games against Barcelona to come, as well as the tricky return tie in Germany, there is simply no excuse for City to take Monchengladbach lightly tonight. The German outfit have a dismal away record domestically, and there is very little to suggest that will change here. 20-year old playmaker Mahmoud Dahoud is one to watch for the visitors, as well as experienced Brazilian forward Raffael. With Aguero reinstalled at the tip of City’s attack however, Guardiola’s men should have too much quality.
Verdict: Home win.
Are Manchester United finding form at the perfect time?
Derby defeat to Cheltenham highlights wider issues for Swindon Town
Sevilla triumph will have Everton fans regretting Steven N’Zonzi failure
Brendan Rodgers should finally get Kyriakos Papadopoulos this summer
Amadou Haidara released by Leeds United, bringing an end to bizarre transfer chapter
Tottenham Hotspur2 weeks ago
Tottenham Hotspur must push Toby Alderweireld toward Barcelona
Liverpool2 weeks ago
Jurgen Klopp’s brave January decision is playing off thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Brentford3 weeks ago
Romaine Sawyers – Blossoming in the Championship with play-off contenders Brentford
Liverpool4 weeks ago
Roberto Firmino: His performances will shape the end to Liverpool’s season
Liverpool3 weeks ago
Mohamed Salah: Is Liverpool’s Egyptian star the best player in the world right now?
Chelsea4 weeks ago
Chelsea 4-0 Hull City – Willian plays himself into Champions League contention
Liverpool2 weeks ago
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold finds himself at the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s plans
English Premier League2 weeks ago
Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle United: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain growing into role under Jurgen Klopp