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Thursday, 22 October 2020

Hazard warning for fifth-placed Gladbach

Reuters , Thursday 14 Apr 2016
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Borussia Moenchengladbach are running out of chances to secure a Champions League spot for a second straight season and a win at bottom club Hanover 96 on Friday is now almost obligatory.

Gladbach, who finished third in the Bundesliga last season, the last automatic qualifying spot for Europe's biggest club competition, are fifth in the table with only five games remaining.

The team had a stellar first half of the campaign under coach Andre Schubert, who took over from Lucien Favre in September, but their Champions League hopes have dipped after losing three of the last six matches.

"We still have qualification in our own hands," said attacking midfielder Thorgan Hazard. "We have only two more home games so we have to collect points on the road.

"It would be wrong to underestimate Hanover. They may have few chances of staying up but the change of coach has given the players confidence."

Gladbach have not travelled well in recent months, with their last away victory coming in October.

Schubert's men have 45 points and are ahead of Mainz 05 and Schalke 04 on goal difference. Gladbach trail fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen by three points and Hertha Berlin, who are third, by four.

Fourth spot at the end of the season will secure a berth in the Champions League preliminary round.

Hanover, who brought in Daniel Stendel as coach earlier this month to replace Thomas Schaaf, are all but certain of going down on 18 points, 10 off the relegation playoff spot.

If they are beaten on Friday, Hanover would equal the league record with an eighth straight home defeat.

Bayern Munich and second-placed Borussia Dortmund have already opened a big gap at the top of the table.

Leaders Bayern, who have 75 points and are chasing a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga crown, host Schalke on Saturday.

Europa League quarter-finalists Dortmund, who still have an outside shot at the title and are sure of playing Champions League football next season, are on 68 points and entertain Hamburg SV on Sunday.

Hertha travel on Saturday to fifth from bottom Hoffenheim who are battling to avoid the drop.

Last season's runners-up VfL Wolfsburg, eliminated from the Champions League by Real Madrid on Tuesday, are down in eighth position and visit Werder Bremen on Saturday.

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