On Matchday 1 of the Bundesliga, Borussia Mönchengladbach stunned Bayern Munich with a 1-0 victory at the Allianz Arena. They continued to play well into the following weeks, but considering that the team was so poor for the first half of last season, they seemed to be a bit of a flash in the pan. Through 17 rounds, they're still in the top four, and there's no question that they are very much the real deal. They have yet to lose at home, but Bayern are favored to end that undefeated streak on Friday.
Gladbach lost two players during the transfer window, but they won't be feeling those losses until this summer. Marco Reus has agreed to a move to Borussia Dortmund and Roman Neustädter will be heading to Schalke, but they're both sticking around for the remainder of the season to aid in their current team's quest for a top-four spot. Their ability to hold onto their other stars, such as Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Patrick Herrmann, will likely depend on a high finish.
Everyone is healthy for both sides, with Bayern getting both Bastian Schweinsteiger back after the winter break. Reus was dealing with some injury issues in November and December, but is 100 percent again and is likely to go 90 minutes on Friday. Gladbach defensive ace Dante is suspended, and will be replaced by Roel Brouwers. Franck Ribery is also suspended, meaning that Bayern is likely to play a band of three consisting of Arjen Robben, Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller behind Mario Gomez.
With a full team to pick from (besides Ribery) and Dante out through suspension, Bayern are expected to hand Gladbach their first loss of the season at home, but this is far from a given. Luiz Gustavo will have to do an excellent job containing Marco Reus, and it's never easy getting one past ter Stegen.
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Bayern Munich
Game Date/Time: Friday, January 20, 2:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. local
Venue: Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany
TV: GolTV (USA and Canada), ESPN (UK)