Borussia Dortmund will look to maintain their six-point lead at the top as they travel to Waldstadion to face Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund cruised to a 5-1 victory over Hannover last weekend, which helped them maintain their six-point lead over second-placed Bayern Munich in the table. And Lucien Favre will demand a similar display as his side face Eintracht Frankfurt at the Waldstadion on Saturday.
The Black and Yellows are coming on the back of a three-game winning streak but coach Favre will certainly hope for a better defensive showing, with his side keeping only one clean sheet in their last six matches.
This could certainly turn out to be a problem against an Eintracht side, who are regarded as one of the most terrifying counter-attacking sides in the division. They have also scored 39 goals in the Bundesliga thus far, which is only bettered by two teams.
Indeed, the Eagles have performed exceptionally well following the appointment of Adi Hutter, notably securing the top spot in their Europa League group.
However, Die Alder will be looking to improve their recent league form, having registered only two victories in their last seven league games – a form that has dragged them out of the top four places in the league table.
And here at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at both of these sides ahead of their crucial match-up this weekend.
Team news & Tactics
Hutter will be missing out on the services of key defender Timothy Chandler as well as midfielder Lucas Torro. Both are facing a spell on the sidelines along with Allan, who is on loan from Liverpool.
But, on a positive note, Gelson Fernandes will be in contention after returning from a one-game suspension last weekend. The Swiss international could be deployed in the holding midfield role in Frankfurt’s 3-4-1-2, as he continues to deputize for the injured Torro.
Fernandes will be partnered by Sebastian Rode, who joined the club on loan from Dortmund in January and will be keen on making an impression against his parent club. These two will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the security to the backline.
Danny da Costa, on the other hand, will occupy the right wing-back slot while Filip Kostic starts on the opposite flank. Both of these will players play a key role, especially in initiating counter-attacking opportunities while the defensive trifecta of David Abraham, Makoto Hasebe and Kevin N’Dicka will look to keep out the mighty Dortmund attack this weekend.
The duo of Sebastien Haller and Luka Jovic will continue to spearhead the Eintracht attack, with Ante Rebic partnering them in a slightly withdrawn role.
Probable lineup(3-4-1-2): Trapp; Abraham, Hasebe, N’Dicka; da Costa, Fernandes, Rode, Kostic; Rebic; Haller, Jovic;
Dortmund are still without the services of key first-team defenders in Manuel Akanji and Dan-Axel Zagadou due to injury while new signing Leonardo Balerdi is out on international duty.
Therefore, we could expect Julian Weigl to retain his role as a centre-back, thanks a couple of excellent performances since the turn of the year. He will be partnered by Abdou Diallo at the heart of the Dortmund defence.
Lukasz Piszczek, however, is a doubt going into this clash due to his foot injury. As a result, Achraf Hakimi is likely to shift to his customary right-back slot, paving the way for Marcel Schmelzer to return to the starting lineup. The Dortmund vice-captain will be deployed in the left-back position.
Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney will once again be deployed at the base of BVB’s 4-2-3-1, where the duo will look to assert their dominance by recycling possession and using their excellent positioning sense to stay one step ahead of the opposition.
Marco Reus will look to extend his scoring tally by operating as the number ten while the duo of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Guerreiro are also expected to retain their place in the final third.
The Dortmund attack will be spearheaded by Mario Gotze but expect Favre to introduce his trump in Paco Alcacer sometime in the second half.
Probable lineup(4-2-3-1): Burki; Hakimi, Weigl, Diallo, Schmelzer; Witsel, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Guerreiro; Gotze.
- Borussia Dortmund are undefeated in their last 5 matches against Eintracht Frankfurt in all competitions.
- Just two of the 91 Bundesliga matches between these two sides have ended scoreless.
- Dortmund have won 44 Bundesliga matches against Frankfurt – more than they have against any other side in the top flight.
- Borussia Dortmund have scored at least 2 goals in 12 of their last 15 matches.
- Eintracht Frankfurt have seen over 2.5 goals in their last 6 matches against Borussia Dortmund in all competitions.
Player to Watch
Sebastian Rode (Eintracht Frankfurt)
As iterated earlier, Rode will be eager to make an impression against his parent club, which makes him one of the players worth keeping an eye on this weekend. This will be Rode’s third game after returning to Frankfurt last month, having started against Werder Bremen and SC Freiburg.
The 28-year-old is known for his excellent passing and distribution, which, combined with his tackling prowess makes him an important cog in the Frankfurt midfield.
However, it will be interesting to see whether or not he will be able to perform against the midfield duo of Witsel and Delaney, especially having played so little football over the course of the past 12 months.
Eintracht Frankfurt 2-3 Borussia Dortmund
Considering the attack-minded nature of these two teams, expect this contest to turn out into a goal-fest where both the sides will look to assert their dominance by using their offensive firepower.
In the end, however, it is Dortmund who are favourites to snatch all three points, largely thanks to the individual quality they possess in their ranks.