EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) is looking to continue his hot European NAP streak with a selection from Sunday's Bundesliga action.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Hannover | Sunday 25th November 2018, 17:00 | BT Sport
Borussia Monchengladbach sit second in the Bundesliga behind Borussia Dortmund, having made their best start to a season in 31 years. The Foals have galloped their way to 23 points in the first 11 games (W7-D2-L2) to sit just four points adrift of the summit as we close in on the end to the Hinrunde.
Dieter Hecking's men have made particular headlines with impressive wins over Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern Munich – at the Allianz Arena to boot – with their swashbuckling style appeasing many seasoned Bundesliga fans. Some are even suggesting a title challenge could be on the cards.
The transformation in Gladbach has been marvellous. The Foals collected only five triumphs after Christmas in 2017/18, although a switch from their traditional 4-4-2 to a more dynamic attacking 4-3-3 has done the trick with the hosts boasting the joint-second-best attack and a rapidly improving defence.
Going forward, the magic attacking triangle of Jonas Hofmann, Thorgan Hazard and Alassane Plea, plus Lars Stindl and Florian Neuhaus, have proven fearsome operators, flourishing under Hecking’s watch. The trio have racked up a whopping 20 goals and 10 assists, whilst eight Gladbach players have gotten on the scoresheet this season.
With Yann Sommer keeping goal behind one of the league's most effective centre-back partnerships in Nico Elvedi and Matthias Ginter, Die Borussen have stood firm. It helps having dependable right-back Michael Lang in situ, and much-improved Tobias Strobl protecting the backline in defensive midfield.
Hecking has said his side “deserve to be sitting in second”, and whilst the data disagrees, Gladbach have lost just twice this term – at Hertha Berlin and Freiburg – and have scored at least twice in all bar two of their 11 league outings.
Key to the hosts success has been their perfect home record. The North Rhine-Westphalians have picked up five wins from five at Borussia-Park by an aggregate 14-2, whilst winning by a margin of two goals or more in six of their seven victories in 2018/19. Therefore, I’m happy to have them onside here.
Hannover unlikely to halt Foals charge
Under Hecking’s watch, Gladbach have claimed 17/30 (57%) home triumphs, including a current run of eight successive victories as hosts. Looking at games when welcoming bottom-half opposition, the Foals boast a splendid W12-D4-L0 return at Borussia-Park, averaging 2.31 goals per-game in that sample.
Hannover have been beaten in six of their 11 encounters, and picked up just two points from a possible 18 (W0-D2-L4) on their travels. The guests have shipped two or more goals in five of those fixtures, conceding an average of 2.50 goals per-game in away dates.
The 96ers did sneak a 2-1 win over Wolfsburg before the international break but it wasn’t enough to move Die Rotten out of the drop zone. What’s more, this season’s top goal-getter, Ihlas Bebou, has been ruled out through injury, and although Niclas Fullkrug is due to return, there are doubts over his condition.
The away side are winless in 18 road trips, losing 13/23 (57%) games as guests since returning to the top-flight. Viewing encounters at top-half teams, Hannover have W0-D3-L7, conceding at least three goals in half of those fixtures, and they’ve also been beaten in each of their past seven trips to Monchengladbach.
This might not be a life-changing selection but backing Gladbach to win and Over 1.5 Goals appears rock-solid angle of attack at 4/6 (Ladbrokes).
Borussia Monchengladbach v Hannover – Borussia Monchengladbach to win and Over 1.5 Goals (4/6 Ladbrokes)