After two wins in two matches – plus three goals and an assist for new striker Harry Kane – Bayern Munich have roared into the Bundesliga season, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Borussia Moenchengladbach.
However, Gladbach have become Bayern’s major bogey side in recent campaigns.
Despite dominating domestically for the past decade, Bayern have won only one of their past seven against Gladbach.
Headlining their grip on the German champions was Gladbach’s 5-0 home win in the German cup in 2021 – Bayern’s biggest loss since the 1970s.
Gladbach veteran Patrick Herrmann boasts nine wins against Bayern – more than any other current Bundesliga player.
“It’s fun to measure myself against the best,” Herrmann said on Thursday.
This weekend’s clash offers Bayern a chance to take some revenge, after Gladbach’s turbulent summer.
Several of the club’s stars have left, including Yann Sommer, Lars Stindl, Ramy Bensebaini, Marcus Thuram and Jonas Hofmann.
New manager Gerardo Seoane admitted on Thursday that “we knew the start would be tough, especially after the upheaval.”
“And now Bayern are coming.”
Seoane lauded new arrival Kane, saying “this player fits perfectly into Bayern’s system and is something they were missing before.”
“He is an extremely reliable striker.”
Besides being determined to end Gladbach’s unlikely streak, some in the Bayern camp will have additional motivation on Saturday.
Midfielder Leon Goretzka was left out of manager Hansi Flick’s Germany squad on Thursday, writing on Instagram of his “extreme disappointment with the surprising decision.”
Goretzka made his Germany debut in 2014 and has played 53 times for his country, scoring 14 goals.
“You all know how proud it makes me to play for Germany,” Goretzka wrote, adding: “I will continue to work hard every day to continue the good start to the season.”
While striker Harry Kane grabbed most of the summer headlines, the addition of centre-back Min-Jae Kim may prove to be Bayern Munich’s true masterstroke.
Fresh off anchoring Napoli’s first Scudetto win in 30 years, at just 26, Kim brings a maturity and stability which belies his years.
Speaking with Bayern’s club magazine on Thursday, the South Korean said he already regretted the numerous tattoos he got in his early 20s, including a large ‘Carpe Diem’ across his chest.
“If I’m honest, I wouldn’t do it again today,” Kim said.
“It’s more important that you have statements like that in your head – you don’t necessarily have to immortalise them on your skin.”
Kim, who has played at clubs in South Korea, China, Turkey, Italy and now Germany in the past five years, said homesickness “was never an issue for him”, particularly now that his wife and child had joined him in Munich.
“Family gives me stability and peace. Family stands for stability.”
4: Wolfsburg’s Jonas Wind leads the Bundesliga scoring charts with all four of his team’s goals.
4: Alongside Wind atop with four is Union Berlin’s Kevin Behrens. Each of his four goals this season has been a header.
4: Known as conservative set-piece specialists rather than free-flowing scorers, table-topping Union have netted four goals in each of their three matches this season – twice in the league and once in the German Cup. Union face RB Leipzig on Sunday.