Borussia Dortmund face Eintracht Frankfurt this coming Sunday in yet another important game for both teams in the context of the league.
Having come off a crucial and hard fought win away from home against Newcastle United in the UEFA Champions League, Borussia Dortmund get to take a breather before they hit the road again to face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga, with the hopes of attaining another three points to help keep them in contention for the Meisterschale. Edin Terzić’s men are riding a wave of wins coming into this game, having beaten the likes of Union Berlin, Werder Bremen, Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg and Freiburg in their last 5 Bundesliga games.
One would be forgiven for being surprised at this run considering the stuttering start to the season, and yet Terzic’s charges seem to be finding their feet (finally). Die Schwarzgelben‘s defensive record this season is also worth keeping in mind, with 8 goals conceded; only one more than Bayern, and two more than their upcoming opponents Frankfurt.
In steadying the ship, we’re starting to see a more confident team emerge; a team that’s able to grind out results and even defend 1-0 leads proficiently, which is something the team have struggled to do in the past. Frankfurt will prove a stern test for the black and yellows however. Sitting in 7th, Frankfurt are beginning to take shape under Dino Topmöller, having recorded a solid 3-1 win against Hoffenheim last weekend. Goals from Omar Marmoush, former Dortmund player Ansgar Knauff and new signing Ellyes Skhiri saw them play an impressive brand of football and proved that they can certainly be a threat going forward, despite losing Randal Kolo-Muani shortly before the summer transfer window closed. They followed this result up with a 6-0 thrashing of HJK Helsinki in the Europa Conference League, which will have them feeling confident about Sunday’s clash.
As mentioned, Frankfurt have also only shipped 6 goals in 8 games, the the lowest tally in the league, making them the toughest defensive nut to crack. For Dortmund to get a crucial three points in this game, attacking players such as Niclas Füllkrug, and even more so Donyell Malen, will really have to bury the chances they are presented with. We saw with Malen in the game against Newcastle that he has continued to get into good attacking positions but he failed to convert any of his chances, which led to the game going undecided until the final minutes.
In terms of expected lineup, with hopes of Julian Brandt and Julian Ryerson ready to be back in the squad, they will aim to feature against Frankfurt on their usual positions. Emre Can will hope to be available despite what looked to be a serious knee injury against a Newcastle, but he may be afforded some time on the bench to give him some additional rest, giving Salih Özcan an opportunity to continue his rich vein of form. This may also be a good opportunity for Niklas Süle to get some minutes, who so far hasn’t had the chance to start in quite a few games. Up front Niclas Füllkrug is likely to strike as Dortmund’s main striker.
Expected lineup (Dortmund): Gregor Kobel, Ramy Bensebaini, Schlotterbeck, Niklas Süle, Marius Wolf, Salih Özcan, Felix Nmecha, Marcel Sabitzer, Donyell Malen, Gio Reyna, Niclas Füllkrug
On Frankfurt’s end, I expect to see some rotation from the squad fielded against HJK Helsinki, and with so many players performing well against HJK Helsinki, Topmöller will have a favorable conundrum in terms of putting together a starting 11 for Sunday. We can likely expect to see Marmoush start as he is in a particularly rich vein of form for Frankfurt up top. Ansgar Knauff and Farès Chaïbi will likely join him up top. In midfield we can expect a pairing of Ellyes Skhiri and Mario Götze, or perhaps a start for young Swedish talent Hugo Larsson. Kevin Trapp remains out due to back problems, so we’re likely to see Jens Grahl in goal again.
Expected lineup (Frankfurt): Jens Grahl, Tuta, Robin Koch, Hrvoje Smolčić, Junior Dina Ebimbe, Hugo Larsson, Ellyes Skhiri, Niels Nkounkou, Ansgar Knauff, Farès Chaïbi, Omar Marmoush
All in all, considering the form of both teams, we can expect to see goals. There are players on both sides that are familiar with the opposite club to some degree, and as most games against Frankfurt go, it will be a fiercely contested affair. As we’ve already mentioned, its an important game for both sides in terms of the points at stake, but of course we’ll be hoping for Dortmund to maintain their good run and remain solid defensively against this burgeoning Frankfurt side.