BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich seems to bring the best out of United States defender Joe Scally.
Scally made his Bundesliga debut against Bayern in the German league’s opening game last season, when the then-18-year-old impressed in helping Borussia Mönchengladbach claim a 1-1 draw against the defending champion, and he excelled again when Gladbach stunned Bayern with a 5-0 win in second round of the German Cup.
“I think it’s just one of those games that all the players look for,” Scally told journalists Thursday ahead of the teams’ rematch in the league on Saturday. “It’s one of the biggest games of the season. So we go out and we give everything we have. We empty the tank, we walk off the field, get so tired. I think when we just give everything out, our team has great qualities and we show it every time we play them, that when we when we fight, when we work hard, when we’re focused, we can compete with any team.”
Scally missed Gladbach’s league visit to Munich last season due to COVID-19, but his teammates rallied to deal Bayern one of only two losses it suffered at home in the entire campaign, 2-1.
Gladbach is the only Bundesliga team to enjoy a positive record against Bayern from their last 10 league meetings – it boasts five wins and a draw compared to just four Bayern victories.
At one point during his debut, Scally was applauded by the home fans for holding off the challenge of Bayern’s World Cup winner Thomas Müller, and his performance earned effusive praise from his coach Adi Hütter at the time.
The 19-year-old defender has respect, but no fear going to Munich on Saturday despite Bayern making the best start any team has ever made to the league – the Bavarian powerhouse has clocked up 15 goals in three appearances so far, conceding only once.
Gladbach is also unbeaten after two wins over Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin and a draw with Schalke in its first games under new coach Daniel Farke. It has quality forwards in Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea, and Japanese midfielder Ko Itakura has been outstanding so far.
“(Bayern) is a team that has won the championship 10 years in a row. We’ve had a good record against them the last couple of seasons,” Scally said. “It’s a little different to last year, the way they played. But, you know, we’re full confidence. We’ve had a great start to the season, two points behind them. It’s first and second in the league in the fourth matchday. So it’s going to be a great game and we’re all pumped up for it and ready.”
Scally paid tribute to Farke’s impact.
“He’s a great coach. He gives the team so much confidence. I mean, from preseason until now, we haven’t lost a game,” Scally said. “We changed our philosophy a little bit with four at the back, building up to the center, which is which is something new for us. It’s working really well with the players we have.”
There’s also speculation that former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl could be on the verge of joining Gladbach from Benfica before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, Gladbach captain Lars Stindl could make his return from injury against Bayern.
Farke knows his team faces its toughest game yet on Saturday.
“Munich is perhaps the team with the best form in all of Europe. Nobody has been able to stand up to them so far, so we’re going there with respect.” the Gladbach coach said.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports