Bayern Munich face one of the trickiest challenges of the year when they take on in-form Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
The next few weeks are going to be a tricky one for FC Bayern Munich, who travel to Waldstadion to face Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. It is going to be a vital encounter in the context of the Bundesliga title race after the defending champions dropped points at home to newly-promoted Arminia Bielefeld on Monday.
The entertaining 3-3 draw at the snow infested Allianz Arena allowed RB Leipzig to bridge the gap to just five points. Any mishap on Saturday could further put pressure on Hansi Flick’s men, who also travel to Rome on Tuesday to face Lazio in the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern’s tough run of fixtures serves as an ideal opportunity for Eintracht Frankfurt to continue their inspiring form in 2021. Indeed, the Eagles have secured seven wins in eight Bundesliga matches since the turn of the year – a run of results that has fired them into the top-four contention, with the club handsomely leading the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund.
Although there is still a chunk of the campaign left to be played, Adi Hutter’s men have looked unbeatable and the expectations could be high as they return to Waldstadion following a 2-0 triumph over 1.Koln last weekend.
Here, at the Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at these two sides ahead of this promising encounter in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Tactics & Team News
The 3-4-2-1 formation with two numbers has worked wonders for Adi Hutter’s men this year. The fact that the likes of Daichi Kamada and Amin Younes are in top form adds to the creative prowess of the team, and it has been evident in the service Andre Silva has received.
Hutter, therefore, has no reasons to tinker with his attacking formula, but there might be certain changes of tactic against a Bayern Munich team that employs a high defensive line. The Bavarians are also likely to dominate possession, which makes Filip Kostic a key element in Frankfurt’s chance creation.
🔥 3️⃣3️⃣+1️⃣0️⃣=4️⃣3️⃣ 🔥
— Eintracht Frankfurt (@eintracht_eng) February 19, 2021
The Serbian has been in inspiring form this season and his crosses could again be important as the hosts look to continue their scoring run. The ones will be on the likes of Kamada and Younes to pick out long balls and unleash Kostic’s pace, who can then whip in crosses into the box for top-scorer Silva.
In a more defensive side of things, Hutter has to make one change in central midfield, with Djibril Sow facing a suspension. It could pave the way for former Bayern midfielder Sebastian Rode to operate in the double-pivot, alongside the experienced Makoto Hasebe. The Japanese veteran’s ability to read the game as well as threat accurate diagonal balls could be essential for Frankfurt’s tactical game this weekend.
Elsewhere, Almamy Toure may get the nod ahead of Erik Durm at right wing-back, as the German is facing a knock. He will primarily look to aid the three-man backline consisting of Martin Hinteregger, Tuta and Evan N’Dicka, who has netted in his last two matches and remains a threat for Bayern from set-pieces.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Trapp; Tuta, Hinteregger, N’Dicka; Toure, Rode, Hasebe, Kostic; Kamada, Younes; Silva
Bayern Munich were dealt with yet another blow this midweek after Benjamin Pavard contracted Covid-19. The Frenchman joins the likes of Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry, Douglas Costa, Corentin Tolisso and Tanguy Nianzou in the club’s long-list of potential absentees heading into this game.
Bouna Sarr had featured in the right-back position against Arminia Bielefeld on Monday, but his poor performance means Flick could instead opt for Niklas Sule.
This little manoeuvre should also allow Jerome Boateng to return to the side, after missing the last two matches due to personal reasons. The veteran should feature alongside Lucas Hernandez at the heart of the four-man backline, with Alphonso Davies continuing at left-back.
David Alaba has recently confirmed his departure from Bayern Munich at the end of the season. He is, however, set to play a key role in this encounter, most likely in the holding midfield role alongside Joshua Kimmich.
Flick does have the option to call up both Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez, but it remains unlikely that the Bayern coach would want to rush them back into the starting eleven, especially as he keeps one eye on the match against Lazio in midweek.
And finally, in the attacking unit, options have been limited for Flick following the absence of Tolisso, Gnabry, Costa and Muller. Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman, therefore, could continue on the flanks while Jamal Musiala may get a rare berth in the number ten role. Alternatively, Kimmich could operate in that role, with Goretzka starting in midfield.
Either way, the Bavarian attack is set to be led by none other than Robert Lewandowski, who is hoping to maintain his astounding scoring ratio in the Bundesliga this term. He had notably scored a hat-trick when these two teams last met back in October, helping Bayern secure a thumping 5-0 victory at the Allianz Arena.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Sule, Boateng, Hernandez, Davies; Kimmich, Alaba; Sane, Musiala, Coman; Lewandowski
- Frankfurt are on the longest unbeaten run of any Bundesliga team (10 matches). They’ve claimed a league-high 26 points from a possible 30 during that run. Twenty-two from 24 points in 2021 is another league best-mark, ahead of Bayern (19).
- The Eagles have only lost twice this season – equalling their club record after 21 rounds of fixtures – and are unbeaten at home. They have only lost 14 of their 49 Bundesliga games at home to the record champions.
- Robert Lewandowski’s 25 goals are the most ever by a player after 21 matchdays and have seen him average one every 67 minutes this season, and one every 105 across his 341 German top-flight outings – the best rate in history together with Gerd Müller.
- Bayern Munich are this season’s highest scorers with a club-record 61 goals. Frankfurt are next on the list with 43.
- Across Europe’s top five leagues, Bayern Munich are the only defending champions that occupy first place in the current league standings.
Player to Watch
Amid all the hype surrounding the astounding scoring record of Robert Lewandowski, it is Andre Silva who has emerged as the best striker in the Bundesliga this year.
Indeed, the Portuguese international has scored more goals than Lewandowski in 2021 and has had a direct hand in 20 of Frankfurt’s 43 goals, scoring a career-best 18 and assisting two. He averages a goal every 110 minutes over his 45 Bundesliga appearances – making him one of the best performers in not only the German top flight but also in Europe this term.
Silva’s form in front of goal has been further propelled by the form of creators like Kostic, Kamada and Younes. Their services in the final third could make once make the Frankfurt striker a key player in this game, especially from crosses while the Bavarians also need to avoid conceding needless penalties.
Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Bayern Munich
A lot has changed since Bayern Munich’s 5-0 thumping of Eintracht in the reverse fixture and the Eagles currently boast one of the deadliest attacking units in Europe. The collective offensive prowess of players like Kamada, Silva, Kostic and Younes are sure to trouble a patchwork Bayern backline that will rue the absence of Pavard.
The Bavarians are also missing a plethora of attacking stars like Gnabry, Muller and Tolisso, which could make things increasingly difficult, even though the Eagles do not necessarily boast a solid defensive record. We are expecting a 2-1 win for the hosts, with the Bundesliga title race likely to hot up further this weekend.