14:30 (BST), Saturday 21st October, Commerzbank-Arena (Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
Eintracht Frankfurt enter the 9th week of the Bundesliga in relatively good form with Niko Kovač’s side unbeaten in their last two matches. They host a Borussia Dortmund side reeling after a difficult period in which they have failed to win a match since returning from the international break.
With their Champions League campaign in tatters, BVB will look to maintain their lead atop of the Bundesliga. Frankfurt face a tough task, but lately they have dug their heels in in the league. Can Eintracht make it three on the spin? Or will Dortmund return to winning ways?
Last Time Out
Hannover 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga)
Eintracht Frankfurt made the journey North looking to secure back-to-back victories at Hannover on Matchday 8. Die Adler have started well on the road and took the lead when last week’s hero Sebastien Haller scored his third goal of the season past an on-coming Philipp Tschauner. Hannover weren’t content being behind, though, and, in the 36th minute, defender Salif Sané rose above the Frankfurt defence to head past Lukas Hradecky in goal.
With the game crying out for hero, Ante Rebic duly obliged, taking down Sebastien Haller’s header to volley home into the bottom left corner to give Niko Kovač’s side a tough fought three points.
Apoel 1-1 Borussia Dortmund (Champions League)
Despite the fact that Borussia Dortmund were still winless after their opening two Champions League fixtures, they were hopeful to get their first win when they traveled to Cyprus to take on Apoel. The German leaders started the better of the two sides with a number of opportunities to take the lead. However, they failed to test Apoel keeper Boy Waterman.
The Cypriot champions would then punish Dortmund when Roman Bürki spilled the ball allowing Mickael Pote to score into an empty net. Dortmund got a goal back when Sokratis finished Mario Götze’s cross but the German side could not eventually muster a winner. It was a frustrating night for Dortmund who need a result in the league to convince them that this season has been worthwhile.
Eintracht Frankfurt Lineup
Only one change is expected from Niko Kovač: Jetro Willems came off the bench against Hannover and gave stability in defence for Frankfurt last week. He will start with Taleb Tawatha dropping to the bench.
Last weekend, Kevin-Prince Boateng played in a deeper role in midfield and will do so once again against Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund Lineup
Dortmund will be without Sokratis who was sent off in the defeat to Leipzig last weekend. Marc Bartra comes into the starting lineup to partner Ömer Toprak in defence. Nuri Sahin was out of action for Dortmund’s draw to Apoel: he starts with Mario Götze making way.
Key Battle: Ante Rebic vs Christian Pulisic
Ante Rebic has begun his second spell with Eintracht Frankfurt with a bang and is already looking likely to cement a spot in the starting XI. The Croatian winger has made six appearances so far this season, scoring three goals: that’s a goal every 115 minutes. This means that Rebic has already equalled his goal tally from last season where he scored just three times in 28 appearances in all competitions.
Christian Pulisic has been an excellent player for Borussia Dortmund this season making 8 Bundesliga appearances with two goals and an assist to his name already. However, his time on the pitch has diminished since Andriy Yarmolenko joined from Dynamo Kyiv. The American has a point to prove and scoring in Frankfurt would do just that.
No need to panic
They may have fallen to RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich taking the points against Freiburg which has closed the gap from to two points. It was Dortmund’s first defeat of the season but there is no need to panic, Dortmund have been excellent under Peter Bosz and one assumes this week has been a blip in the road for BVB.
The Commerzbank-Arena hasn’t been the place Frankfurt have thrived in but turning their house into fortress will be important for Eintracht on Saturday. Niko Kovač’s side sit in 7th in the standings with 13 points but 10 of those have come on their travels this season. If the table represented just home games, Frankfurt would sit in 15th. It’s time for Eintracht to protect their home patch on match day 9.
Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund will look to put behind their poor week and the clash in Frankfurt provides that. Eintracht Frankfurt are a good defense side and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if Niko Kovač looks to shut it down from the opening and try to burn Dortmund on the counter. It will be a fascinating contest but it will be Borussia Dortmund who get the job done at the Commerzbank-Arena.
Can Eintracht Frankfurt stun the league leaders or will Borussia Dortmund keep their place atop of the Bundesliga? Let us know in the comments section below
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