Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund
13th December 2015
Matchday 16 of the Bundesliga sees second placed Borussia Dortmund host a struggling Eintracht Frankfurt at the Signal Iduna Park on Sunday in what promises to be a high scoring game.
Borussia Dortmund stormed back into the title race following an exciting 2-1 win at Wolfsburg last week to cut the gap between them and Bayern Munich to just 5 points. Marco Reusa first half goal was cancelled out by Ricardo Rodriguez in injury time only for Shinji Kagawa to snatch the victory with the last kick of the game.
Marco Reus and Sven Bender were particularly impressive over 90 minutes. However, BVB lost 0-1 at home to PAOK in the Europa League midweek, but it can be argued that the result can be overlooked as manager Thomas Tuchel fielded a string of fringe players and that they had nothing to play for.
Tuchela s side have been in tremendous goal scoring form, but there are still questions over their defensive performances. Mats Hummels and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have looked shaky all season and even keeper Roman BA?rki hasna t performed as expected. Matthias Ginter and Lukasz Piszczek fight for the starting role at right-back spot to partner Hummels, Sokratis and Schmelzer in defence.
Ilkay GA?ndogan and Julian Weigl are both doubtful for Sunday which could allow Sven Bender to start in his preferred midfield role alongside Gonzalo Castro. The frontline of Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have already scored 29 goals this season and may have a field day facing a weak Frankfurt defence. Although Erik Durm and Nuri Sahin are back in team training following their long term injuries, this game comes too soon for them.
Dortmund sit five points behind Bayern but nine ahead of M nchengladbach, guaranteeing their second place finish by the end of the matchday, irrespective of the results.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): BA?rki; Ginter, Sokratis, Hummels, Schmelzer; Bender, Castro; Mkhitaryan, Kagawa, Reus; Aubameyang.
Winless in six games, Eintracht Frankfurt come into the game severely short on personnel. Johannes Flum, Anderson, Sonny Kittel, Stefan Reinartz and Luc Castaignos are all out injured while Marco Russ, Marc Stendera and Carlos Zambrano will serve their fifth yellow card suspension. Last seasona s top scorer and fan favourite Alex Meier will however be available for selection after serving a suspension.
Last weeka s local derby at home against newly promoted Darmstadt went wrong as Aytac Sulu scored a first half winner to condemn Eintracht to thirteenth in the table and only a single point away from the drop zone. Further, with just 1 win in their last 12 games, the players faced the ire of the Frankfurt supporters who voiced their displeasure at the teama s poor run after the game.
With tough tackling defenders Zambrano and Russ suspended, youngster David Kinsombi and Argentine David Abraham could pair up in central defence. Marc Stenderaa s absence leaves the Eagles with no creative options and may choose to play the defensive minded Aleksandr Ignjovski and Slobodan Medojevic in midfield. A fairly strong frontline of Haris Seferovic, Alex Meier and Stefan Aigner is the only silver lining for the guests.
The pace and physical presence of Swiss international Seferovic along with Meiera s ability in the box could be Eintrachta s hope of pulling off an upset. The experience of defensive players Oczipka and Hasebe will be hugely important in warding off the BVB attack. If other results go against them, Frankfurt could drop to the 16th place on the table.
Possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Hradecky; Hasebe, Abraham, Kinsombi, Oczipka; Ignjovski, Medojevic; Gacinovic, Meier, Aigner; Seferovic.
- Only the Dortmund team of 1963/64 (45) can beat the current sidea s total of 42 goals after 15 games. BVB are the only side to score in every league game this term.
- Eintracht have failed to score in eight of their last 12 away league matches. They have, however, claimed more points on the road (8) this season than at home (6).
- Dortmund have lost just one of their last 19 home games against Eintracht. Dortmund scored in all of these games; Eintracht havena t netted in this fixture for 314 minutes.
The in-form Armenian international will look to once again terrorize defenders after putting in brilliant performances vs. Wolfburg and Stuttgart already this month. Having already scored 5 times and assisted a further 7, Mkhitaryan’s skill on the ball and incisive runs have been a major force in Dortmund’s attacking game under Tuchel. The Frankfurt defence will certainly have their hands full if they hope of containing the quick Armenian.
One of the better performers for his side, vice-captain Bastian Oczipka has been a Frankfurt regular since 2011. The left-back is one to not shy away from defensive duties, while providing a legitimate threat in the opposition half. Although he hasn’t managed to score or assist yet this season, his threat as a set piece taker and as a great crosser combined with the aerial ability of Seferovic and Meier could help snatch a point at Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
Although Borussia Dortmund may be the more tired of the two sides following their midweek exertions in the Europa League, Eintracht Frankfurt are undergoing a crisis with numerous crucial players missing out and the team struggling as a whole. It is tough to see Eintracht upset the odds. Expect the home side to coast to a comfortable victory
Blast from the past:
The final day of the season in 2011 saw relegation threatened Eintracht Frankfurt travel to team already confirmed as Bundesliga champions – Borussia Dortmund. On that day, the fans and players from Frankfurt went through the full range of football emotions. Not only did they take the drop, but had to witness the Champions collect the trophy.
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