Bayern Munich will look to further reduce their gap to table-toppers Borussia Dortmund as they travel to Frankfurt on Saturday.
After a positive result in midweek that saw them reduce their gap from Borussia Dortmund to six points, German champions Bayern Munich will look to wrap their Hinrunde campaign on a strong note as they face Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Bavarians have been in top form in recent weeks, coming on the back of four consecutive wins in the Bundesliga. Niko Kovac’s men will look to seal all three points in this fixture, knowing that a win could potentially give them the opportunity to close the gap to three points, with league leaders Dortmund facing a stern test against Borussia Monchengladbach this weekend.
However, things could get tricky against an Eintracht Frankfurt side, who has once again exceeded all expectations this season. The Eagles, who will welcome former coach Kovac at the Waldstadion on Saturday, are sitting pretty in the fifth spot and even a point against Bayern could help them overtake fourth-placed RB Leipzig, should they lose against Werder Bremen.
Eintracht have outscored Bayern this season, thanks to the incredible trio of Filip Kostic, Sebastien Haller and Luka Jovic. But, they have won just one of their last four Bundesliga matches and confidence will certainly be low when they meet an in-form Bayern this weekend.
And here at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at both the teams ahead of their crucial match-up on Saturday.
Team news & tactics
Adi Hutter will be missing out on the services of key defender Makoto Hasebe along with defensive midfielder Lucas Torro. The US International Timothy Chandler and club captain David Abraham are among the other absentees for the Eagles this weekend.
Simon Falette will continue to deputize for the injured Hasebe in Frankfurt’s three-man defensive backline. He will be partnered by Carlos Salcedo and Evan N’Dicka, who has been one of the rising stars in the Bundesliga this season.
Torro’s absence in midfield will allow Gelson Fernandes to operate at the base of Frankfurt’s 3-4-1-2 alongside Jonathan de Guzman. Gelson has recently signed a contract extension with the Eagles and his composure could be key against a dynamic Bayern midfield.
Danny da Costa, as usual, will be deployed on the right wingback slot while new signing Kostic starts on the opposite flank.
And finally, in attack, Mijat Gacinovic will operate as the attacking midfielder, just in behind two central strikers in Haller and Jovic, both of whom have scored 21 goals between them this season. Ante Rebic, on the other hand, could play a key role in the second half.
Probable lineup(3-4-1-2): Trapp; N’Dicka, Falette, Salcedo; da Costa, de Guzman, Fernandes, Kostic; Gacinovic; Haller, Rebic.
Following a heated clash with Leipzig in midweek, Kovac could make a few changes to the starting lineup against Frankfurt.
Jerome Boateng is expected to return to the fold, replacing Mats Hummels at the heart of the Bayern backline. He will be partnered by Niklas Sule, whose pace will be crucial against a dynamic Frankfurt attack. Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba, on the other hand, will retain their place in the fullback slots.
Leon Goretzka will be starting at the base of Bayern’s 4-2-3-1 alongside Thiago Alcantara. Goretzka has appeared very consistent in recent matches and his overall influence will be important against the highly experienced duo of Fernandes and de Guzman.
Thomas Muller will be deployed as the lone attacking midfield but we could expect Franck Ribery to be included in the starting lineup this weekend. The Frenchman scored the only goal in the win over Leipzig and will be deployed on the left-flank while Serge Gnabry starts on the right.
The Bayern attack will be led by the one and only Robert Lewandowski, who has already netted ten goals in the league this season.
Probable lineup(4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Boateng, Alaba; Goretzka, Alcantara; Gnabry, Muller, Ribery; Lewandowski.
- Only Gladbach(35) and Dortmund(42) have scored more goals than Eintracht Frankfurt(34) this season.
- Frankfurt’s Kostic and Jovic is currently the most productive offensive duo in the Bundesliga with both of them combining for five goals this season.
- Bayern coach Niko Kovac will return to Frankfurt for the first time since leaving at the helm at the end of the season.
- Bayern could make five league wins in a row with a victory against Eintracht this weekend. They last achieved this feat back in September.
- The Bavarians could also make it three clean sheets in a row for the first time this season if they manage a shutout against Frankfurt.
Player to watch
Following an exceptional start to the season, expectations on Frankfurt will be high as they look to cause yet another upset this weekend. But, the Eagles will be well aware of Bayern’s form and will, therefore, rely on the services of star striker Luka Jovic this weekend.
Jovic has been in excellent form this campaign, scoring 12 goals in just 14 appearances and the fact that he has scored two goals in his last two matches makes him an obvious threat to the Bayern backline.
His smart movements and clever runs along with Haller’s physicality could make a lethal combination in the final third that will surely disrupt the stability of the Bayern defence, who, in turn, have often appeared lacklustre during the course of this season.
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-2 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich will surely find it difficult to get past Frankfurt as they have done so well this season. But, the Eagles have been quite mediocre in recent matches and have appeared terribly inconsistent without the ball and given Bayern’s tendency to play with heaps of possession, they could certainly find it hard to cause any kind of upset this weekend.