After a good weekend last time out in the Bundesliga and positive results midweek in the Champions League, Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Dortmund go head-to-head on Saturday with both sides looking to keep their recent good form going.
The Adler produced one of their finest displays last weekend at Borussia Mönchengladbach as their march to the top four progressed. The 3-1 victory was their fourth in five Bundesliga matches and took them up to fourth in the table. Champions League football was achieved last year via winning the Europa League, but the target this year is to qualify through their Bundesliga position (or even better winning it!).
After a dreadful start to the season against Bayern and the blip that saw them lose to bottom side Bochum, Frankfurt seem to be moving in the right direction with their progress in the Champions League in their own hands (a matchday 6 showdown with Sporting awaits), a last-16 place in the DFB Pokal secured and a top four place in the league achieved.
The attacking quartet of Jesper Lindström, Daichi Kamada, Mario Götze and Randal Kolo Muani is causing havoc and bringing goals, while the rejigging in the defence isn’t causing too many problems.
Dortmund also enjoyed a big win last weekend (5-0 v Stuttgart) followed by a positive result in Europe. In terms of goalless draws, the 0-0 against Manchester City in midweek contained many positives, not least of which was progression to the knock-out stage. Keeping the English champions goalless was an achievement as was nullifying Erling Haaland for the 45 minutes he was on.
There has been plenty to criticise with BVB this season, but the last two fixtures have shown that maybe they have turned a corner. The outcome and performance at the Europa Park against Eintracht will go a long way to determining whether the corner has been successfully turned or whether the improvement arc is still ahead of them.
Having faced Erling Haaland and Ilkay Gundogan on Tuesday they will come up against another former hero in the form of Mario Götze for the first time since his departure to PSV.
Tuta was suspended in midweek against Marseille but should return to the defence. Makoto Hasebe and Ansgar Knauff are out due to injury, but Jerome Onguene returned to the squad in midweek and could be an option. Luca Pellegrini could start having replaced Christoper Lenz at half-time in the Champions League with the latter suffering a knee injury.
Possible line-up: Trapp; Tuta, Jakic, Ndicka; Ebimbe, Kamada, Sow, Pellegrini; Lindström, Götze; Kolo Muani
Having been forced to play Thorgan Hazard out of position at left back against Manchester City on Tuesday, Edin Terzic will hope to have Raphael Guerreiro available for the trip to Frankfurt. Salih Özcan was suspended in Europe but should return to the starting XI. Marco Reus will be eased back as he recovers from his injury and a place on the bench should be expected rather than a start.
Terzic will hope to have Raphael Guerreiro available once again after being forced to start Thorgan Hazard out of position at left-back against the English champions in midweek, while Salih Özcan should return to the starting XI having served a one-match ban for amassing three bookings in the Champions League this season.
Possible line-up: Kobel; Sule, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro; Ozcan, Bellingham; Adeyemi, Brandt, Malen; Moukoko
What they’re saying:
Oliver Glasner: “We obviously want to celebrate a home win, but Dortmund have really hit their stride since losing at Union and played very well against Stuttgart and Manchester City – they also haven’t conceded a goal in three games.
“I think BVB have adopted a slightly different style of play under Edin Terzic, including a very good counter-attacking game with great pace through Karim Adeyemi, Youssoufa Moukoko and Jude Bellingham. We have to be on our guard there. It’s going to be a difficult task for us.
“We’ve come up with something to help the players break down BVB’s defence, but we can’t change our approach – we don’t want to and we won’t. We’re going to need our full repertoire again tomorrow. At this level, we’ll have to draw on all our strengths to come out on top.”
Edin Terzic: “This is not new for us. We knew that we’d often have such spells this season. We’re not alone in this respect. That’s why it’s not difficult to keep motivation and excitement levels high. We have to make up some points and the best way to do that is to start tomorrow.
“They press courageously and defend courageously regardless of the opponent. They play the same way in Bochum and away to Tottenham. That suggests a lot of self-belief. The atmosphere around the club, which particularly comes to the fore at home games and European away games, is extraordinary.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge. We know that it won’t be easy. But we’ve also shown that we can play better football than we have in the last weeks. It’ll be a defining game for us.”
26.10.22 Marseille (h) 2-1 W (Champions League)
22.10.22 Borussia Mönchengladbach (a) 1-3 W (Bundesliga)
18.10.22 Stuttgarter Kickers (a) 0-2 W (DFB Pokal)
15.10.22 Bayer Leverkusen (h) 5-1 W (Bundesliga)
12.10.22 Tottenham (a) 3-2 L (Champions League)
25.10.22 Manchester City (h) 0-0 D (Champions League)
22.10.22 VfB Stuttgart (h) 5-0 W (Bundesliga)
19.10.22 Hannover (a) 0-2 W (DFB Pokal)
16.10.22 Union Berlin (a) 2-0 L (Bundesliga)
11.10.22 Sevilla (h) 1-1 D (Champions League)
The corresponding fixture played in Frankfurt last season occurred on matchday 18 with late drama handing the win to Dortmund in an empty stadium due to renewed Covid restrictions. Two first half strikes from Rafael Borré put Frankfurt in control but Thorgan Hazard’s 71st minute goal gave BVB hope.
That hope turned into a reality with Jude Bellingham’s 86th minute equaliser followed by Mahmoud Dahoud’s 89th minute winner.
Players to watch:
Facing Mario Götze will be a challenge for Dortmund although they have experienced it before after his previous move to Bayern. The fact that he has been included in the initial squad for the World Cup show s that his form thus far is grabbing the attention.
Youssoufa Moukoko was named in Hansi Flick’s 44-man initial squad this week and while he is unlikely to make the final cut, his inclusion is a reflection of the top performances he has been producing of late. He grabbed a goal and an assist last week and will be looking to add to those this weekend.