Bayern Munich will be without star duo Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller for Saturday's clash with Borussia Monchengladbach, but the latter's coach Marco Rose is adamant the champions have plenty of depth to compensate.

Lewandowski and Muller have been leading lights for a rampant Bayern this season, with the Poland striker adding his 45th goal across all competitions in the DFB-Pokal semi-final win over Eintracht Frankfurt, while the German forward took his assists tally to 23.

But, after earning yellow cards in the 4-2 weekend win at Bayer Leverkusen – a match in which they were both influential – neither will be able to feature as another of the top-four hopefuls visits the Allianz Arena.

Gladbach travel to Munich in search of a response to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Freiburg last Friday, but Rose is not expecting Bayern to be a significantly easier obstacle to overcome just because Lewandowski and Muller will be missing.

"Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski are major players in the Bayern team. They will be suspended against us, but the club has a group capable of compensating for these absences," Rose said in his pre-match news conference.

"Hansi Flick and Bayern have developed a game idea with which they are very successful. I think they will stick to it and will not change too much. We have also prepared for this.

"To bring back a result from Munich, you have to play courageously, with and without the ball. Although Bayern played yesterday [Wednesday] in the DFB-Pokal, and the players may be accumulating fatigue, they will be able to mobilise their forces on Saturday.

"You need absolute clarity without the ball and you also have to keep the Munich team busy."

Gladbach will be without a key player themselves in Alassane Plea, as the Frenchman was shown a red card in Freiburg following two bookable offences but Rose thinks he was unlucky.

"I interact with my players every day, telling them to accept referee decisions," he said. "But I think that Alassane was put in the wrong light after his red card in Freiburg. I think the card was over the top."

Club sporting director Max Eberl held a similar view during the match and his protestations earned him a red card, meaning he too will have to watch from the stands – rather than the bench – this weekend.

He accepts he probably got a little carried away with his reaction, however.

"I accept the penalty for the red card," Eberl said. "I was too emotional on Friday after the red card. I'm sorry for my choice of words, and I will now watch the game in the stands on Saturday."

While Bayern are sitting pretty at the summit with a seven-point gap heading into the final four matches, Gladbach – holders of the fourth and final Champions League spot – are only ahead of Leverkusen on goal difference.

Borussia Monchengladbach resumed their Bundesliga campaign in impressive fashion, Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram inspiring a 3-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt that lifts them above RB Leipzig.

Earlier on the Bundesliga's first day back following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, Julian Nagelsmann's Leipzig were held to a 1-1 draw by Freiburg - and Gladbach took full advantage, looking every bit Champions League hopefuls.

The hosts failed to even keep Gladbach at bay for a full minute as Plea put the visitors in front, while Thuram – a key player before the suspension in proceedings – knocked in his seventh in the league this season soon after.

Substitute Andre Silva pulled one back for the hosts late one, but Ramy Bensebaini had already effectively secured a comfortable win for Marco Rose's side with a penalty.

Frankfurt had suffered three successive Bundesliga defeats prior to the break, and within 34 seconds of kick-off that run looked destined to continue – Plea finding the bottom-left corner despite being unbalanced after a one-two with Jonas Hofmann.

It was 2-0 just six minutes later as Bensebaini turned cleverly in the box and squeezed the ball across the face of goal for Thuram to tap in.

Filip Kostic appeared the Frankfurt player most likely to instigate a revival, but his wicked 24th-minute free-kick was pushed away by Yann Sommer, whose only other first-half save kept out Almamy Toure's tame effort from a tight angle just before the interval.

Adi Hutter introduced Silva for the ineffective Djibril Sow at half-time and Frankfurt had a little more presence in attack as a result, though not to the extent that Gladbach's lead ever looked under threat.

The visitors added a third through the lively Bensebaini, who converted from the spot after Breel Embolo was barged over by Evan Ndicka.

Silva grabbed a well-taken consolation with nine minutes to go, though it failed to inspire a comeback.

 

What does it mean? Rose's men glad to be back

After getting their early lead, Gladbach never looked like dropping points here. Once they were two up, they were smart enough to become more compact while still offering a threat on the break.

Frankfurt, on the other hand, showed little creative ingenuity, their forays forward rarely causing undue worry to the Gladbach defence. Defeat means they remain just five points above the bottom three.

Double trouble for Gladbach

Thuram and Plea were both effective, getting a goal apiece. The latter arguably shaded his younger compatriot, who appeared to suffer a knock in the second half, as the ex-Nice forward also hit the post while seeing a late opportunity saved.

Sow nowhere to be seen

An anonymous first-half showing resulted in Sow's withdrawal at the break in favour of the more attack-minded Silva.

What's next?

Gladbach return home – where they will play in front of approximately 12,000 cardboard cut-outs instead of fans – next weekend, with Bayer Leverkusen the visitors. Life will not get any easier for Frankfurt in a week, however, as they go to Bayern Munich.

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