Having started the Rückrunde in fourth place and two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund, the optimism of January has given way to clouds of pessimism at Eintracht Frankfurt. The Adler’s form has been patchy, they were dumped out of the Champions League by Napoli and there is increasing speculation over the futures of key players and the coach. Uncertainty at board level is also adding to the woe and the danger is that the club might miss out on a top six finish if the rot sets in too badly.
Eintracht are currently sixth on 40 points but have Bayer Leverkusen, VfL Wolfsburg, and Mainz hot on their heels. The gap to the Champions League places is extending by the week, so three points at home to Bochum would go down very nicely.
Three points to keep touch with the top four, but also to boost the mood. Hardly a day goes by at the moment without a story in the media speculating over the imminent departure of coach Oliver Glasner. Stories of player exits are also rife with star men Randal Kolo Muani and Jesper Lindström regularly the topic of transfer talk.
The Adler are winless in their last four Bundesliga matches with defeats to both Union Berlin and RB Leipzig and disappointing draws against Stuttgart and Wolfsburg.
Bochum for their part are slowly extracting themselves from the bottom places and their deserved win over RB Leipzig on matchday 25 has surely boosted their confidence. The Ruhr side have their survival in their own destiny but will need to keep showing the fighting spirit that has served them so well.
The win over Leipzig was their second on the bounce after a 2-0 victory at Köln brought to an end a miserable run of four successive defeats. At the moment Bochum are one of five teams realistically battling against the drop and although they are currently in 14th, the situation can quickly change with every point gained at this stage of the season potentially vital.
Frankfurt have defender Tuta suspended for this one after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last time out against Union. Oliver Glasner has already confirmed that Kristijan Jakic will come into the back line
Jesper Lindstrom and Almamy Toure remain on the sidelines, but there could be a start for Sebastain Rode.
Possible line-up: Trapp – Jakic, Hasebe, Ndicka – Buta, Rode, Sow, Max – Borré, Götze – Kolo Muani
Bochum coach Thomas Letsch will have to do without the services of Danilo Soares due to suspension as, like Tuta, he picked up a fifth booking on matchday 25. Konstantinos Stafylidis will switch over to his more natural left-back role, with Jordi Osei-Tutu coming in at right-back.
Cristian Gamboa is close to a comeback after his knee injury, but the Frankfurt clash will come too early for him to come straight back in.
Possible line-up: Riemann – Stafylidis, Ordets, Masovic, Heintz – Losilla – Osterhage, Stöger – Asano, Antwi-Adjei – P. Hofmann
What they’re saying:
Oliver Glasner: “They’ve won their last two games without conceding. Their style of play is very physical. Thomas Letsch seems to have rediscovered the Bochum style with which they comfortably stayed up last season. They often play man-to-man, put you under a lot of pressure, close down very aggressively and don’t give you much time for structured build-up play.
“They play with high intensity and are aggressive in the challenge. They get the ball up to the forwards quickly, have a goalkeeper who likes to kick it long and often play off the second balls. Set plays are one of their strengths, which they try to create time and time again. Essentially it’ll be important to show efficiency. We’ve created clear opportunities lately and we need to make better use of them on Friday.”
Markus Krösche: “We need to defend more consistently and then be more purposeful up front and take our chances. It’s the little things at the moment that are having a big effect, but we’re going to carry on working on those and then things will turn around again.”
Thomas Letsch: “Eintracht is an aggressive, strong team. With a high intensity. I don’t want to judge the current events, I’m not even entitled to do that. The fact is that we encounter great quality. Frankfurt has shown this not only internationally.
“We are the underdog, but we want to take something with us from Frankfurt. This also requires a high level of intensity on our part, as well as the necessary luck. We’ve kept a clean sheet twice recently, that’s the basis for a successful performance.
“We have to stay sharp until the end. The current place in the table is a snapshot. We’re working towards having it in the end. It would also be fatal to rest on our laurels.”
19/03/23 Union Berlin (a) 2-0 L (Bundesliga)
15/03/23 Napoli (a) 3-0 L (Champions League)
11/03/23 VfB Stuttgart (h) 1-1 D (Bundesliga)
05/03/23 VfL Wolfsburg (a) 2-2 D (Bundesliga)
25/02/23 RB Leipzig (a) 2-1 L (Bundesliga)
18/03/23 RB Leipzig (h) 1-0 W (Bundesliga)
10/03/23 1FC Köln (a) 0-2 W (Bundesliga)
04/03/23 Schalke (h) 0-2 L (Bundesliga)
25/02/23 Werder Bremen (a) 3-0 L (Bundesliga)
18/02/23 Freiburg (h) 0-2 L (Bundesliga)
The Hinrunde fixture on Matchday 9 saw Bochum run out 3-0 winners at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion with all the goals coming in the final twenty minutes. Philipp Hofmann headed in the first before an own goal from Evan Ndicka doubled the advantage. Philipp Förster added the icing to the cake with a third goal late on.
The win was Bochum’s first of the season having lost seven of their opening eight Bundesliga games.
Players to watch:
The Adler’s crown jewel is Frenchman Randal Kolo Muani, who was praised by none other than Kylian Mbappe this week while on international duty. “He is a striker who offers different game options to our team. He is very complete and has an impressive volume of play” the PSG striker said after les Bleues had beaten the Netherlands. “We are happy with the game he played on Friday.”
High praise indeed and Frankfurt fans will want to see that form continue against Bochum. He currently has eleven goals and thirteen assists and is still in with an outside shout of challenging Niclas Füllkrug (15 goals) for the leading Bundesliga scorer crown.
Serbian defender Erhan Masovic has scored in the last two matches for Bochum and will be looking to make it three in a row against Frankfurt. Set-pieces are always going to be a good source of goals for the Ruhr side and Eintracht’s back line has had it’s fair share of troubles of late as Union Berlin exposed last time out.