15:30 (CEST), Saturday 26th August, Commerzbank-Arena (Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
Both sides had less than ideal starts to the season with Eintracht Frankfurt failing to capitalise on their dominance whilst Wolfsburg were clinically outplayed. It was almost a completely different look for Eintracht on matchday 1 and as the new players learn the system, it was to be evident that there would be some struggles. But ultimately, Niko Kovač’s side just couldn’t do enough to take all three points.
Wolfsburg were unlucky to run into a red hot Borussia Dortmund who were in no mood to play games. Andries Jonker’s side still created chances but with ill effect. When the two teams met last season, Mario Gomez was the difference maker in a 2-0 win for Wolfsburg.
Last Time Out
Freiburg 0-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
Eintracht Frankfurt opened their campaign in the Black Forest against one last seasons over achievers Freiburg. Niko Kovač’s side dominated throughout the entirety of the game, out-shooting Freiburg 13-7 and creating the 4th most chances on the opening matchday with 12.
However, Frankfurt couldn’t turn their chances into goals which was mightily frustrating for the travelling supporters. The plus was seeing Kevin-Prince Boateng make his Bundesliga return coming off the bench in the 2nd half.
Wolfsburg 0-3 Borussia Dortmund
Wolfsburg were clinically outplayed in all facets of the game as they succumbed to a heavy defeat on the opening matchday. Dortmund opened the scoring on 22 minutes thanks to Christian Pulisic before Marc Bartra put in his entry for goal of the season 5 minutes later.
On the hour mark, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened his account to seal the deal. Wolfsburg played on the back foot from the outset and they weren’t able to keep possession long enough to have an effect on the contest.
Eintracht Frankfurt Lineup
After being unable to break down Freiburg last weekend, Frankfurt may opt for some more firepower up front. Daichi Kamada and Sebastian Haller led the line in Eintracht’s 3-5-2 system but I expect something different for their clash with Wolfsburg. Kevin-Prince Boateng came off the bench to play 24 minutes last time out, but with such an X-factor that Boateng possess, good chance he starts in place of Kamada. Unlikely we see too many changes from Niko Kovač.
It was a tough outing for Wolfsburg last time out against Dortmund and response is needed on matchday 2. Changes are expected but not to the back 4, they miss John Anthony Brooks but he is out for the next three months through injury.
Josuha Guilavogui and Maximilian Arnold will be inserted into the starting line-up. Jakub Blaszczykowski picked up a knock and is unlikely to play with Landry Dimata set to make his first Bundesliga start.
Key Battle: Sebastian Haller vs Robin Knoche
Striker Sebastian Haller provided a decent option up front for Eintracht Frankfurt in their opening day draw with Freiburg but lacked the finished product. It was the striker’s Bundesliga debut after signing from Eredivisie side Utrecht in the summer and produced 3 shots on goal with 2 hitting the target. His direct opponent is likely to be Robin Knoche.
Knoche had a tough outing last time out trying to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang quiet and did well for the most part. The German only competed for 4 duels, winning 50% of those and he will be more involved from a defensive stand point in Frankfurt. Can Haller open his Bundesliga account or will Knoche shut the gates of the Bundesliga goal scorer’s club?
A charismatic and controversial figure, Kevin-Prince Boateng brings plenty of attention with him whereever he goes. At age 30, Boateng is now joining his 4th Bundesliga club, starting out with Hertha Berlin before a quick trip to Spurs and coming back on loan with Borussia Dortmund. Portsmouth, Genoa and AC Milan followed, before Boateng joined Schalke, where he was dynamite in his first season before falling off the wagon which saw him released in December of 2016.
Back to AC Milan before a season with Las Palmas in La Liga and now back in the Bundesliga with Eintracht. Boateng is an interesting player who can turn it on at any time and for mine, an interesting signing for a club like Frankfurt. Can he bring more magic than calamity we shall see?
Playing with possession
Last week, Wolfsburg had the least possession in the Bundesliga only having the ball for 40% of the match as they were dominated but a rampant Borussia Dortmund. But against Eintracht Frankfurt. Wolfsburg will play the ball around and utilise the channels and passing lanes without being pressed.
Frankfurt are generally a defensive first side and don’t press high up the pitch as often, allowing their opponents to move the ball around until they enter sub-dangerous areas. With more chances with the ball, can Wolfsburg carve out more chances and give the likes of Mario Gomez the chance to find the back of the net.
Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 Wolfsburg
Chances will be minimum in what should be an extremely defensive tussle. I expect Eintracht to come out with intent to score early whilst Wolfsburg try to steady the ship on the defensive end from the outset.
The game will be won in the midfield and in front of their home fans, I feel Frankfurt will control the flow of the game and eventually break the Wolfsburg defence to secure all three points.
Will it be Eintracht Frankfurt or Wolfsburg who secure the points at the Commerzbank-Arena? Let us know in the comments section below.
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