Pointless so far in Europe, Borussia Mönchengladbach have returned to form ahead of their trip to Italian champions Juventus. Wolfsburg can take a step closer to the next round with a win over PSV Eindhoven.
When a team starts to win, nothing else matters. That's what has happened with Borussia Mönchengladbach since the sudden departure of Lucien Favre following five straight league defeats.
Despite having the confidence of the fans and club, Favre felt he couldn't turn their fortunes around. Sporting director Max Eberl spoke openly about completing due diligence on future candidates, while confirming U23 coach Andre Schubert as interim successor.
If the hoodie-wearing 44-year-old trainer wasn't already an option before, he will now certainly be considered when the decision is made - given the rejuvenation of the Foals since his temporary appointment.
The Italian Job
Re-invented as a pacey, free-scoring outfit, Gladbach have won all four league matches under Schubert, scoring 14 goals in the process. Although the Foals were left pointless on matchday two, the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City was a credible performance, one which indicated the progress made when up against the leading side in the English Premier League.
After a shakey start, morale is high in Schubert's camp ahead of the match in Turin. "We travel to Italy with a positive feeling and naturally want to take something," said midfielder Havard Nordtveit. "The heads are much clearer after the experiences of success recently, than when we were about to play Sevilla, for example."
Last season's beaten Champions League finalists have undergone a mini-transformation since the defeat to Barcelona in Berlin. Arturo Vidal has joined Bayern Munich, Andrea Pirlo left for MLS and Carlos Tevez returned to Boca Juniors. Max Allegri's side are nine points off the top of the league and languish in 14th.
But with six points from their first two Champions League games, Europe offers respite from the difficult league campaign. "Juventus are defensively very compact and have many players with great individual quality," the Norwegian noted about the Serie A powerhouses. "We will not get many chances, but we have to take them nonetheless."
Wolfsburg regain form
A 4-2 win over Hoffenheim was the perfect preparation for the team's third Champions League match against Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven. With a win against CSKA Moscow and a defeat at Manchester United behind them, the Wolves will need dominate the back-to-back meetings against PSV to match their knockout-stage ambitions.
With Max Kruse and Julian Draxler combining to great effect on Saturday - three goals and two assists respectively - the Wolves have firepower in their locker. Dieter Hecking's side missed chances at Old Trafford that would have secured a historic victory and put them in pole position. "You need to get points at home if you want to be in the competition after the winter," said Draxler, who scored the winner versus CSKA Moscow on matchday one.
The former Schalke attacking midfielder has been a metronome for Wolfsburg in Europe, leading and dictating play from the No.10 position. Although the loss of Kevin de Bruyne led to a drop in form, Hecking's men are arguably now more suited to Champions League football with a controlled possession game.
"I hope that we prove ourselves like we did against CSKA, playing with a cool head," said sporting director Klaus Allofs."If we win, I'm confident about our chances of qualification for the next round."