Borussia Dortmund restart their Bundesliga campaign on Saturday as they play hosts to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Eintracht Frankfurt travel to Signal Iduna Park on Saturday, bracing themselves for a stern test against Borussia Dortmund, in what could be a vital game in the context of the race for the top four in the Bundesliga this season.

While the title race is still pretty much alive, the fight to finish inside the Champions League spots is attracting a lot of interest, with all eyes on Dortmund, knowing their potential failure to finish inside the top four could force both Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho to leave the club in the summer.

That said, the Black and Yellows have an excellent opportunity to bridge the four-point gap to fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt with a win this weekend, although the Eagles are no slouches and are particularly hard to beat, having lost just three matches in the league so far.

The reverse fixture between these two clubs also ended in a 1-1 draw back in November of last year, although Eintracht have improved a lot since, particularly with the return of Filip Kostic. Dortmund, too, have slightly improved since the turn of the year though they do often struggle against teams that play with a deep defensive line.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at both these teams ahead of this crucial match-up at the Signal Iduna Park this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

The international break has served as a boon for Borussia Dortmund as Marco Reus, Mateu Morey and Raphael Guerreiro have all returned to team training and are thought to be fit for the Eintracht Frankfurt clash. In addition, Thorgan Hazard has received some valuable game-time with Belgium that should help him heading into this fixture.

The former Gladbach attacker could even play a key role in this affair, as Reus will most likely start on the bench. As such, Hazard is likely to be partnered by Julian Brandt, who should once again fill in for the injured Jadon Sancho.

Brandt, though, should face stiff competition from Giovanni Reyna for a place in the starting eleven, while Reus and Reinier are almost guaranteed to feature as substitutes.

The midfield picks itself as Jude Bellingham and Mahmoud Dahoud look to continue in the two number eight positions, just ahead of Thomas Delaney, who starred in Denmark’s thumping 4-0 win over Austria this midweek.

The former Bremen midfielder will be in charge of screening the backline for Dortmund, while his ability to drive forward could be useful in the approach play as well.

Defensively, Guerreiro is back and should slot into the left-back position while Morey should get the nod ahead of Meunier on the opposite flank. Edin Terzic, though, could be tempted to offer the young Ansgar Knauff another opportunity in the first team as the BVB youth prodigy impressed after coming on against Koln.

Emre Can and Mats Hummels, meanwhile, remain favourites to start at the heart of the four-man backline, hoping to provide cover for Marwin Hitz between the sticks. Manuel Akanji is also an option for Terzic but Can does offer more ball progression and his high risk-high reward style of play could be more appropriate against the Eagles.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Hitz; Morey, Can, Hummels, Guerreiro; Bellingham, Delaney, Dahoud; Hazard, Haaland, Brandt

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Eintracht Frankfurt

Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Adi Hutter has had significant success with the 3-4-2-1 setup that usually incorporates two number tens. It has paid him good dividends especially since the turn of the year, with the creative duo of Amin Younes and Daichi Kamada doing wonders for the team.

However, the Eagles have another ace up their sleeves in Filip Kostic, who is by far Bundesliga’s best crosser and one of the best runners. His tireless forays down the flanks, combined with his whipping crosses into the box should serve as an ideal supply line for Andre Silva, who has bagged 21 goals this campaign – same as Erling Haaland.

Hutter, unfortunately, will have to deal with the absence of two key plaers in Makoto Hasebe and Martin Hinteregger, with the former being suspended. The Japanese international used to offer the steel in midfield with his experience and ability to read the game.

But it appears Frankfurt will now have to rely on the error-prone Sebastian Rode, who played for Dortmund and Bayern Munich for a while. He should partner Djibril Sow at the base of Frankfurt’s 3-4-2-1.

Speaking of ex-BVB players, another one in Erik Durm could operate as the right wing-back, with Kostic being deployed on the opposite flank. The former world champion with Germany, though, will act in a deeper role, hoping to add support for a makeshift backline that will see Stefan Ilsanker filling in for the absent Hinteregger and Hasebe.

The former RB Leipzig veteran should start at the heart of the three-man Frankfurt backline alongside Tuta and Evan N’Dicka, with Kevin Trapp playing in goal.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Trapp; Tuta, Ilsanker, N’Dicka; Durm, Sow, Rode, Kostic; Kamada, Younes; Silva

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Key Stats

  • Borussia Dortmund have not suffered defeat at the Signal Iduna Park under Edin Terzic (4W, 2D).
  • BVB have also won each of their last nine home matches against Eintracht Frankfurt.
  • Andre Silva’s 21 league goals this season is already the second-best return for any Frankfurt player in their top-flight history, with only Bernd Hölzenbein (26 in 1976/77) scoring more.
  • This season, Eintracht Frankfurt (47) have already collected more points than in the entirety of last season (45). The 2020/21 points return after 26 matches is the best-ever in the club’s Bundesliga history.
  • The Eagles have scored at least once in each of their previous 21 Bundesliga games, the longest such run for the club since 1992.

Player to Watch

Erling Haaland

Can PSG stop Erling Haaland? (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

All eyes on Haaland once again. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

The clash between two prolific forwards in Erling Haaland and Andre Silva is going to become the focal point of this affair for good reasons. The two players have scored a combined total of 42 goals in the league and have been in equally tremendous form since the turn of the year.

Haaland, though, is set to attract the limelight for obvious reasons as seemingly every top club in world football converge and keep him under the microscope throughout the remainder of the campaign. The Norwegian forward has already inspired Dortmund side to the quarter-finals of the Champions League this season while his 21 league goals have kept them afloat in the race for the top four.

Against Frankfurt, Haaland’s physical presence coupled with his pace and positioning sense could be useful for the home side, although it will be interesting to see whether Hutter follows the Koln method by deploying a deep defensive line this weekend.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

This is always a difficult game to predict as the two sides are somewhat equal despite the slight disparity in terms of depth and quality. Dortmund do hold the upper hand as they have no notable absentee aside from Jadon Sancho and with Erling Haaland spearheading the attack, up against a depleted Frankfurt backline, we do expect the Black and Yellows to register a narrow 2-1 victory this weekend.

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