Borussia Dortmund are aiming for a positive start to 2022 as they lock horns with Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund resume their Bundesliga campaign on Saturday, with a tricky away fixture against Eintracht Frankfurt. It is a must-win game for Die Schwarzgelben, who had to endure a difficult end to 2021.

While the defeat to Bayern Munich was heartbreaking, Marco Rose’s men dropped points against Hertha Berlin and the newly-promoted VfL Bochum, effectively relinquishing their quest for the Bundesliga title. The disappointing December results helped Bayern Munich extend their lead to nine points, and it appears the title race is well and truly over.

However, with the depleted Bavarians facing a tricky test against Gladbach, Dortmund will hope to bridge the gap back to six points, although things won’t be made any easier by Eintracht Frankfurt.

After a rocky start to life under new coach Oliver Glasner, the Eagles are enjoying a major upturn in fortunes. They have won six of their last seven leagues matches, with the results helping the club climb back to the sixth spot. There is even a possibility of breaking into the top four if they secure all three points against Dortmund and other results tilt in their favour.

Frankfurt will take pride in the fact they haven’t lost to Dortmund at home in the Bundesliga since September 2013. Glasner’s troops will look to maintain that record as we brace ourselves for yet another entertaining match-up at the Deutsche Bank Park this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Eintracht Frankfurt

Eintracht Frankfurt are missing a few players heading into this contest, including the in-form Jesper Lindstrom. The young winger has contracted COVID-19 and is unlikely to be available, joining Jens Petter Hauge (muscle), Christopher Lenz (calf), Danny da Costa (COVID-19) and Aymen Barkok (AFCON) on the list of absentees.

With Lindstrom out of contention, Glasner has a decision to make in terms of his attacking personnel. The most likely solution is to revert to a 3-4-1-2 setup with Daichi Kamada serving as the lone playmaker, just behind the two frontline strikers in Goncalo Paciencia and Rafael Santos Borre. Sam Lammers is also an option for the hosts, but Glasner is likely to prefer the physical and aerial presence of Paciencia.

Elsewhere in the creative department, star player Filip Kostic remains a guaranteed starter on the left. His ability to cross the ball could serve as Eintracht’s main source of creativity, especially with two target men in Paciencia and Borre hovering in and around the penalty area.

Timothy Chandler, meanwhile, should retain his place on the opposite flank. But the veteran may have to settle for a more defensive role, as he looks to help out the back three of Tuta, Martin Hinteregger and Evan N’Dicka. The two holding midfielders in Sebastian Rode and Djibril Sow, should offer additional support. Their ability to break up the play should form the core facet of Eintracht’s second line of press.

Glasner has the option to deploy the highly experienced Makoto Hasebe if he prefers more defensive solidity at the back. The Japanese star can also operate in a midfield role, although his lack of dynamism might be an issue.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Trapp; Tuta, Hinteregger, N’Dicka; Chandler, Rode, Sow, Kostic; Kamada; Borre, Paciencia

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Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund are set to miss out on the services of their central defensive duo of Manuel Akanji (rehab) and Dan-Axel Zagadou (COVID-19) heading into this game. Marius Wolf and Mateu Morey are also unavailable, whereas Saturday’s encounter against Frankfurt could come a bit too soon for Giovanni Reyna, even though the American has returned to team training.

On a brighter note, Raphael Guerreiro and Youssoufa Moukoko are back into contention, along with Mahmoud Dahoud. It could be a massive boost for Marco Rose, with Guerreiro, in particular, expected to replace Nico Schulz at left-back. The Portuguese international should play a vital role in the build-up, as he looks to offer his creative output from the flanks.

The same can be said for Thomas Meunier, although the right-back will have his task cut out against the marauding Kostic this weekend. Meunier’s understanding with the central defenders in Mats Hummels and Emre Can could be critical if Dortmund are to have any hopes of maintaining a clean sheet this weekend.

In midfield, Axel Witsel has no future at the club. He is unlikely to be selected in the starting eleven, with Dahoud favoured to operate in the number six role. The former Gladbach starlet should partner with the two advanced midfielders in Jude Bellingham and Julian Brandt, with Marco Reus completing Dortmund’s versatile midfield four.

The captain, alongside Bellingham and Brandt, should operate as the three number tens during possession. Their ability to link up quickly and play one-touch football should be handy, as they look to unleash the two dynamic centre-forwards in Erling Haaland and Donyell Malen.

Probable Lineup (4-1-3-2): Kobel; Meunier, Hummels, Can, Guerreiro; Dahoud; Bellingham, Reus, Brandt; Haaland, Malen

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Key Stats

  • After netting just once across his first 11 Bundesliga appearances, Jesper Lindstrom has scored four in his last six.
  • Filip Kostic is without a goal in five league games and has never scored in 14 attempts against Dortmund. However, he is Frankfurt’s chief provider this term, with six assists and three goals.
  • Eintracht Frankfurt have chalked up 18 points out of a possible 21 since early November, matching defending champions Bayern in that time.
  • Erling Haaland has registered six goals in his last six matches in all competitions. He is third in this season’s scoring charts, with 13 goals in 11 appearances.
  • Borussia Dortmund have taken 10 points from a possible 24 on the road, compared to a joint league-best 24 from 27 at home.

Player to Watch

Raphael Guerreiro

Embed from Getty Images

Having Raphael Guerreiro in the team solves many problems for Borussia Dortmund. Thanks to his immense technical prowess, the team is often much more efficient in the build-up. He is also adept at making marauding forward runs and involving himself in one-touch passing Dortmund are known for.

It is quite unsurprising that Guerreiro was absent in most matches where Dortmund have dropped points this season. But with the Portuguese international back into contention, BVB fans will be hoping that he can once again produce his magic on the left flank, linking up with the likes of Marco Reus and Donyell Malen to make life difficult for the Frankfurt defenders.

However, the former Lorient starlet also needs to be cautious in dealing with the threat of Eintracht’s marauding attackers, including Daichi Kamada.

Prediction

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund have a tricky job in their hands as they face Eintracht Frankfurt at the Deutsche Bank Park. The Black and Yellows have registered a dismal away record this season, and their woes may continue up against one of the most lethal teams in the Bundesliga.

Even without Lindstrom, the Eagles can be a dangerous opponent at home, thanks to their counter-attacking prowess and the ability to create chances through set-pieces, which is a major weakness in the Dortmund defence.

On the flip side, Dortmund do have some additional firepower this weekend, with Haaland and Malen both tipped to start, whereas Guerreiro, Brandt and Bellingham are set to feature in the creative department. It could certainly make life difficult for the opposition, but we are expecting the BVB defence to let them down once again.

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