Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Monchengladbach Odds & Picks
Last Time Out:
Bayern lost 3-0 to Napoli; Monchengladbach edged Groningen 2-1.
Bayern routed Monchengladbach 6-0 on May 8 at Allianz Arena in Munich.
About the Matchup:
It's a new year in the Bundesliga, and Bayern Munich tries to go for yet another German championship after claiming the past nine trophies. Nobody else has finished first in the Bundesliga since Borussia Dortmund did it in 2012, which means the traditional Friday match for the defending champions has basically become the Bayern Invitational. However, this match might be a much more formidable challenge for Bayern than last year's season-opening rout of Schalke was. For one thing, they're starting on the road this season, and for another, they're facing a team that's had their number over the past few seasons. Monchengladbach has beaten the Bavarians on their past two trips to Borussia-Park, and the Foals have won one of the two matches against Bayern four years in a row. Plus, Gladbach isn't going to be intimidated in the slightest by this match, considering that the teams just faced off in a friendly that became a 2-0 Gladbach wins. In fact, Bayern hasn't won any of its preseason matches, which has raised a couple of questions as to whether this year could be one championship too far for an aging squad that's in transition.
Scouting Bayern Munich:
One thing that's hard to remember about Bayern Munich is the fact that this team wasn't working in 2019 under Niko Kovac. At the midway point of 2019-20, Bayern was stuck in seventh place after a loss at Monchengladbach, which led to Kovac's dismissal and ushered in Hansi Flick for one of the greatest runs in the history of the Bundesliga.
But Flick is gone now, having turned his success in Munich into a shot with the German national team, and in steps Julian Nagelsmann, previously the man in charge at RB Leipzig. Flick left Nagelsmann a great team, but one that's quickly aging. Robert Lewandowski certainly isn't slowing down after pumping home 41 goals last year, but the Euros did expose a fatal flaw in the Polish striker's style: he's got to be surrounded by other great players in order to be effective. Without his Bayern mates around him, Lewandowski was ineffective in three matches as Poland were bottom of a weak group in Europe. So far, Bayern has had no trouble keeping top players around Lewandowski, but as Thomas Muller continues past the wrong side of age 30, it's anyone's guess as to how long the Bavarians will be able to keep this partnership producing at a championship level.
Scouting Borussia Monchengladbach:
2020-21 goes down as a missed opportunity for Monchengladbach, as the Colts looked like they'd finish in the top seven for the third straight year in February. And then former coach Marco Rose dropped a bombshell by announcing that he'd be taking over Borussia Dortmund at the start of the next season, which led to the Foals dropping their next four matches. Monchengladbach eventually got back on track, but it proved too late as they left the door open for Union Berlin to steal seventh on the final day and knock them out of European competition.
The good news for Gladbach is that missing out should result in a more focused side under new head man Adi Hutter. Hutter directed Eintracht Frankfurt to a fifth-place finish last year, earning coach of the year honors, and he's got the talent at his disposal to get Gladbach into that spot or higher this time around. The key will be getting the partnership of Jonas Hoffman and Lars Stindl working from the beginning of the year. Stindl scored four of his 14 goals in the final six matches last season, and he's got to pick up where he left off if the Foals are going to compete at the top of the table.
Dan's Score Prediction:
Bayern's got work to do to live up to its standards, and Gladbach is hungry. This fixture has been very troublesome for the Bavarians in recent years, and they haven't lived up to their expectations during the preseason, suggesting that something is a bit off right now with Bayern as Nagelsmann tries to figure out which pieces go where. The conditions are right to play the upset here. I'll take Monchengladbach to win 2-1 at +1750.