Berlin - It has been close to four decades since Borussia Moenchengladbach made waves in Europe but the Bundesliga club is on the verge of Champions League qualification and victory over rivals Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday would all but seal it.
Gladbach have played a sensational season so far and are in third place on 60 points, two ahead of fourth-placed Leverkusen and two behind VfL Wolfsburg in second.
A household name with their attacking game in the 1970s when they won five league titles and two UEFA Cups, Gladbach have never qualified for the Champions League group stage.
Victory over visitors Leverkusen would see them open up a five-point gap with their direct rivals with just two games left in the season.
"These are the games that you dream of when you become a professional footballer," said winger Patrick Herrmann. "We are ready to fight and look forward to Saturday."
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Gladbach have played their best season in years and since the start of the year they are the best team in the Bundesliga, collecting more points even than champions Bayern Munich.
Their 2-1 victory at Hertha Berlin last week merely confirmed their stellar form.
With 70 percent possession and a staggering 90 percent in passing accuracy, Gladbach these days are taking the game to their opponents.
"Our quality is that week in week out we are performing on the pitch," said striker Max Kruse, who could be leaving to join VfL Wolfsburg at the end of the season.
Unbeaten in their last 11 league games and having won eight of them, Gladbach have not had such a Bundesliga run in 24 years.
Having only once before advanced to the Champions League qualifying rounds, Gladbach could now go a step further with an automatic group stage spot with a top three finish.
"With two points advantage over fourth spot it is an outstanding starting position for us," said Gladbach sports director Max Eberl.
"In the direct clash with Bayer Leverkusen it is all about keeping them in check. We know how hard that will be given the statistic. We have not beaten Leverkusen at home in 26 years. We will try to snap that run on Saturday."
Leverkusen are no pushovers, having beaten Bayern 2-0 last week and having played an almost equally good season since the new year.
"We know we have to survive in Gladbach but it is in our own hands to do it," said Leverkusen's Roberto Hilbert. "But we are not short of self-confidence."
Already champions Bayern host European hopefuls Augsburg while second-placed VfL Wolfsburg travel to struggling Paderborn.
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