Frank Schafer was placed in temporary charge of Cologne a fortnight ago after Zvonimir Soldo was sacked.
He was given the opportunity to keep the job on a long-term basis and wins in the DFB-Pokal against 1860 Munich and in the Bundesliga against Hamburg appeared to have given him a chance.
However, last weekend's defeat to Nurnberg has seen Cologne slip into the bottom two and they are believed to be already looking elsewhere for a new full-time coach ahead of next week's annual general meeting when serious questions about the club's future are bound to be asked.
"I have rarely seen a game against Gladbach which was so important," said Cologne legend Bernd Cullmann, a World Cup winner from 1974, to the Express newspaper.
"It is possibly the most important derby of all time.
"The team has shown against 1860 and Hamburg how they have got to play at home and everybody will be hoping that it works again."
Not everybody, though. Michael Frontzeck could do without another defeat, even if his club have once again backed him to lead the team off the foot of the table.
"From our point of view, this is not a date with destiny," said Gladbach's director of sport Max Eberl.
"We know how much this game means, however we cannot focus everything on just one game.
"We are not relegated if we lose, nor are we out of danger if we win, but at least the second half against Bayern Munich has helped us to go into the game with our heads held high."
Gladbach are without the suspended Juan Arango while Adil Chihi is not part of the Cologne squad after being dropped to the reserves this week.