Ahead of the first game between the sides in October, we look at the strongest team Celtic’s German opponents could put out, as they try to cause a surprise of their own by finishing in the top two of an incredibly hard group.
GK - Yann Sommer
Sommer has some large gloves to fill when he replaced Marc-André ter Stegen in 2014 after the German international left for fellow Group C side Barcelona, but he’s done a stellar job since joining from Basel. Clubs from the English Premier League were said to be interested in his services, with Manchester City one such mooted suitor, but for now the Swiss stopper remains Gladbach’s No.1.
DC - Jannik Vestergaard; DC - Andreas Christiensen; DC - Nico Elvedi
Christiensen is one of approximately 1000 players loaned out by Chelsea every season. He’s in the middle of a two-year stint with the German side and played regularly at the heart of the defence last season. There are high hopes for 19-year-old Elvedi, who recently earned his first cap for Switzerland, while Vestergaard is a towering presence at 6ft 6in. The commanding defender joined this summer from Werder Bremen.
MR - Patrick Hermann; MC - Christoph Kramer; MC - Mamhoud Dahmoud; ML - Fabien Johnsen
Hermann is a goalscoring midfielder who bagged 16 goals the season before last, which was enough to get him noticed by Joachim Löw and called up for the German national squad. He soon went from an incredible high to a crushing low when a ligament tear in his knee cost him the majority of last season. Combative defensive midfielder Kramer joined the club on a permanent deal this summer after starring for two campaigns on loan from Bayer Leverkusen. He’ll be joined by Mahmoud Dahoud in the centre. The Syrian-born star was the subject of a £25 million bid from Liverpool earlier this month. On the left is German-born American international Johnsen. The ambidextrous athlete can operate on either flank and in defence or midfield.
FR - Thorgen Hazard; FC - Lars Stindl; FL - Raffael
Hazard is the younger brother of Chelsea star Eden. The pair were both employed at Stamford Bridge until earlier this year when Thorgen joined Gladbach on a permanent deal following a successful loan, though Chelsea retain the option to buy him back. Central attacker Stindl was thought of as a deep-lying midfielder for most of his career before being chosen to lead the line at Mönchengladbach last season. Another player who similarly found his true calling at the North Rhine-Westphalia club is Brazilian striker Raffael. The 31-year-old has been in the form of his career since signing for Gladbach in 2013.