Borussia Moenchengladbach are out to prove back-to-back victories under caretaker coach Andre Schubert are no fluke as they host Manchester City on Wednesday looking to create a Champions League upset.
Both Gladbach and City are hunting their first points in Europe after the Germans lost 3-0 at Sevilla last time out in Group D while Manuel Pellegrini’s ‘Citizens’ crashed 2-1 a fortnight ago at home to last season’s finalists Juventus.
Gladbach started the season in freefall with five straight Bundesliga defeats, plus the loss against Sevilla, which saw Lucien Favre resign as coach, despite steering them to third in the Bundesliga and Champions League qualification.
Schubert has come in and made an immediate impact as head coach with Gladbach romping to a 4-2 win against Augsburg last Wednesday, before claiming a 3-1 victory at Stuttgart on Sunday.
In sharp contrast, City hit the ground running, winning their first five league games and scoring 11 goals without conceding, but have lost three of their four matches in all competitions since their Juventus defeat.
The pressure is now on Pellegrini’s side to get their European campaign back on track in Germany as they lie second in the Premier League table, one point behind neighbours Manchester United, after crashing 4-1 at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
“It’s a must-win game,” said City’s Argentina defender Nicolas Otamendi.
“When you look at the quality and standard of players at this club it’s almost demanded of us to be competing in Europe at the highest level.
“We’re under no illusions that the only option we’ve got is to go out and get three points.”
City have significant injury concerns as captain Vincent Kompany has missed the last three matches with a calf problem, goalkeeper Joe Hart sat out the Spurs defeat with a back problem and midfielder Yaya Toure was forced off with a hamstring injury and is doubtful.
In contrast, Gladbach have few injury worries and want to add to City’s poor record away to Bundesliga sides after just two wins in Germany against six defeats.
This will be Gladbach’s first home game at this level for 37 years, having reached the final of the old European Cup in 1977, beaten by Liverpool, and this is the first time Champions League football has been played at Borussia Park.
Having pulled Gladbach up from the bottom of the Bundesliga to 14th with two wins, club bosses are delighted with Schubert and claiming City’s famous scalp would enhance his chances of getting the head coach job permanently.
Having been hastily promoted from Gladbach’s under-23 team after Favre quit, Schubert was happy to reveal he already has experience of playing a City side — albeit their youth team.
“We’re looking forward to the match, it will be a great challenge,” said Schubert, whose coaching CV includes second division sides St Pauli and Paderborn.
“We want to try and get something on Wednesday and I am unbeaten against Manchester City,” he added with a smile.
“We drew 1-1 against their youth side with our U23s in the Premier League International Cup most recently.
“I have taken over the team in the middle of a season and am dependent on the coaching staff and my colleagues.
“You can only be successful in football if everyone pulls together. I am enjoying it a lot at the moment.
“We have picked ourselves up and kept playing our football. The boys have done excellently so far.”