DAVID SMITH - Monday, August 15, 2016
Fabian Johnson should play a role on Tuesday when Borussia Mönchengladbach face their first competitive action of the 2016/17 season in Champions League qualification at Young Boys Bern.
The Foals find themselves two games from a second straight trip to the Champions League group stage, and they will like their chances to advance over two legs against the Swiss runners-up.
Last season's run in this competition took a bit to get going, with two losses in the first two games, but they did put on an admirable showing over the final four gamedays with a pair of draws against Italian heavyweights and a win over eventual Europa League champions Sevilla.
They will be eager to earn another shot at making the knockout round this season, but will need to get the business done against the Swiss underdogs over the next two games.
Despite still being mid-August, the injury lists for both teams resemble more the situation later in the season, with both missing a number of key and peripheral contributors.
'Gladbach's new midfield purchase Laszlo Benes is practicing again after having a thigh problem, but will miss the game. Similarly, Spanish defender Alvaro Dominguez is out with a thigh problem, Swiss forward Josip Drmic with joint damage, defender Marvin Schulz is still recovering from a groin pull and French defender is set to miss the game with a muscle tear.
Making matters worse, team captain Lars Stindl and Mahmoud Dahoud are still both questionable, as the forward and midfielder are struggling to recover from an illness in time to assume their spots in the starting lineup.
All news is not bad, as André Schubert will have the services of his number-one keeper as Yann Sommer has been clear to return to the field following a three-week layoff for an ankle injury.
Bern are coming off a 6-0 whitewashing of lower-league minnows SC Veltheim in Cup, and are having decent start to their league season, two wins and two draws in their first four games.
They should have the services of Yuya Kubo in their starting lineup, as the striker has returned to the team from Brazil after Japan was eliminated last week in the group stage of the Olympics.
However, that is one of the few bright spots amidst a roster that has been hit with outgoing transfers and severe injuries.
They lost the services 21 year-old Swiss youth international right back Florent Hadergjonaj in transfer to Ingolstadt last week. Additionally, Ivorian midfielder is out for up to two months with a thigh injury, Sven Joss is sidelined for six weeks with a shoulder injury, and veteran Swedish forward Alexander Gerndt is set to miss several months after undergoing knee surgery.
The first game will be played on Tuesday night in Bern's Stade de Suisse, with the return leg the following Wednesday in Borussia-Park.