Borussia Dortmund vs Eintracht Frankfurt – Saturday 14:30BST/15:30CEST – Signal Iduna Park Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund have had a turbulent week to say the least. Victims of a horrendous terror attack on Tuesday, they will welcome a return to normality and the familiar surroundings of the Bundesliga this weekend. Eintracht are in a worrying circle of decline – with no Bundesliga win since matchday 19 against Darmstadt, the cycle of draw, lose must be stopped at some point if they are to have a chance of Europa League qualification.
Rolled over on the last Bundesliga matchday 4:1 away at Bayern, Dortmund will need to harness the display shown in their previous home game against Hamburg if they have any hopes of leap frogging Hoffenheim back into the all-important Bundesliga third place. Tuesday’s second half display against AS Monaco will have given them hope that despite recent events they still have the quality needed to mount a serious charge on the Bundesliga’s Champions League automatic group slots. Christian Pulisic showed his worth to Die Schwarzgelben midweek, his half time introduction transformed Die Schwarzgelben.
The American international brought a 200% increase in attacking output as well as a role in two vital goals. Dortmund have a rocky record in the Bundesliga post Champions League Matchdays. Dropping points away at Hertha Berlin, Ingolstadt and the Hinrunde fixture versus Frankfurt they will be only too aware of any potential fatigue. However, it has not been all doom and gloom post UEFA games. Matchday 21 saw BVB sweep aside Wolfsburg 3:0 after a surprise defeat away at Benfica. With the similarities linking this matchday and that one Dortmund have already proven they have the capacity to fight on two fronts, albeit not as consistently as they would have liked. This weekend the Yellow and Blacks will welcome back star man Marco Reus, absent since he damaged his hamstring six weeks ago in the 6:2 demolition of Bayer Leverkusen.
Eintracht would have been forgiven for thinking that the Rückrunde heralded the start of European dreams next season. Matchdays 18 and 19 recorded maximum points and Die Adler sat in a loft third place. However, those dreams turned to nightmares from Matchday 20 onwards. Soundly beaten 3:0 away in the Bayer Arena the defeat to Leverkusen started a freefall, in the following nine league games The Eagles have managed to pick up a disappointing three points from the 27 available. Their turn in form has seen them drop to ninth in the Bundesliga and three points behind Freiburg who sit in sixth. With the fight for Europa League places tight, a vital three points in Signal Iduna Park could throw them back in European contention for next season. Having worked hard to turn around a two-goal deficit in their last outing against Werder Bremen, into a draw, they will once again look to Marco Fabian – their inspirational Mexican attacking midfielder – to provide the spark in what will be a sold-out Signal Iduna Park.
Borussia Dortmund vs Eintracht Frankfurt – Players to look out for:
Marco Reus #11
This season has brought many injuries for the Dortmund winger. Side-lined until Matchday 12, firstly with a pelvic injury then a heel problem, it was late November before he made his 2016/17 Bundesliga debut – The Hinrunde defeat away to Eintracht. In the ten league fixtures that followed Reus’ worth to this Dortmund side was evident. With him in the side Die Schwarzgelben picked up 21 points from the 30 available only losing once, away to Darmstadt. He was influential in his last fixture, the visit of Bayer Leverkusen. Before he left the field at half time he had been part of a devastating front three that showed more than the two goal lead they had. Primarily operating on the left wing, he can cut inside to devastating effect. Frankfurt will have their hands full, not only can Reus thread a ball through the eye of a needle he can score from the edge of the area or inside. A poacher with the ability to score from distance he will be a definite threat to the Eagles on his return to action.
Marco Fabian #10
Marco Fabian was sorely missed by his Frankfurt teammates during his absence through a back injury. In the seven games without him Eintracht only picked up six points, whilst leaking 12 goals. Even though he in an attacking player, utilised as an attacking midfielder or on the right wing, it is his recovery abilities that help build the transition to Kovac’s quick playing style. Unafraid to trackback and win the ball he epitomises Frankfurt’s hard style, whilst brining a flair and creativity that allowed Frankfurt to rise to as high as third place this season. When deployed as the AMC his hold up play allows the front pairing to stretch defences, opposition players are drawn in enabling Fabian to win a vital free kick just outside the box. What makes his play special is his capacity to dispatch that just won free kick into either an assist or a wonderful strike. Dortmund, who have been susceptible to creative players this season, will need to ensure time on the ball is as limited as possible.
Borussia Dortmund vs Eintracht Frankfurt – Match Stats
- Dortmund have won their last five home games against Die Adler. The combined score equals 16:2.
- Eintracht have scored the fewest goals in the Rückrunde.
- Dortmund have stuttered in the Bundesliga following midweek Champions League fixtures this season – W3 D2 L3.
- Frankfurt have lost six of their last seven away games.
- Dortmund are unbeaten in 34 home games.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund vs Eintracht Frankfurt – 3:1
Bürki; Piszczek, Sokratis, Ginter, Guerreiro; Weigl; Kagawa, Sahin; Pulisic, Aubameyang, Reus
Coach: Thomas Tuchel
Hradecky; Vallejo, Abraham, Ordonez; Chandler, Mascarell, Gacinovic, Oczipka; Hrgota, Fabian; Rebic
Coach: Niko Kovac