Five months on from the DFB Pokal final and the two finalists meet for the first time since this weekend. Borussia Dortmund travel to Frankfurt looking to put a disappointing week behind us. It started last Saturday when Red Bull Leipzig ended our 41 game unbeaten home streak with by inflicting a 3-2 defeat upon Bosz’s boys. It was compounded midweek in Cyprus. APOEL Nicosia were supposed to be the perfect game for BVB to get off the mark in this season’s Champions League and for us to propel ourselves back into contention to qualify from the group. It turned into a damaging 1-1 draw and poor performance. A win at the Commerzbank Arena against Niko Kovac’s Eintracht side is not just desired, it’s compulsory.
History is certainly in favour of BVB. There is no other side in Bundesliga who have been on the end of a Dortmund defeat than Die Adler and Dortmund have also recovered from losing positions more often against Frankfurt than any other side. There might be a glimmer of hope for Frankfurt however. The last seven meetings have been won by whoever was playing at home on that occasion. They have also found the net in each of their last seven home games and go into this game on a run of 3 wins from their last 4 games.
Frankfurt have enough reason to be confident for this fixture. Statistics aside they also have an attacking duo who are clicking just at the right time. Ante Rebic and Sebastien Haller have scored 3 goals each this season, with the latter chipping in with as many assists. They are both fit and firing ahead of the game, as is former Dortmund man Kevin-Prince Boateng. He has had a decent start to his career back in Germany following a season at Las Palmas in Spain and is likely to start in midfield. Marc Stendera and Timothy Chandler are still doubtful for Frankfurt, while Marco Fabian is ruled out completely.
In Dortmund, Peter Bosz was realistic in his approach to BVB’s last three games. “We’re not producing the performances we were before. I’m trying to approach that analytically. I don’t believe it’s helpful for the players to take an emotional approach. We have a clear style of play, and that’s how we need to start playing again,” explained a calm and jovial Peter Bosz on Friday lunchtime. Of the last two games he said, “The fact the results are not as good as they were at the start of the season is disappointing for the players too. That’s why we need to win in Frankfurt.”
There seems to be a mini injury crisis for Dortmund going into this game. As well as long-term absentees Raphael Guerreiro and Erik Durm, Lukasz Piszczek still hasn’t recovered from the injury he picked up whilst on international duty with Poland and Sokratis Papastathopoulos is forced to sit this one out suspended after being sent off against Red Bull Leipzig last week. To make matters worse Omer Toprak had to come off during the game in Nicosia on Tuesday because of a suspected thigh strain, meaning Marcel Schmelzer – recently back in the fold after a 5-week spell on the sidelines – might be in contention to start here.
If Toprak isn’t fit to start then it is likely that Schmelle will start at left-back with Dan-Axel Zagadou partnering Marc Bartra at centre-half. Max Phillipp is looking likely to come back into the starting XI with Andriy Yarmolenko dropping to the bench after his midweek exertions. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang will start barring a freak training accident between now and kick-off. He will be hoping to score the goal which will seem him overtake Tony Yeboah as the highest-scoring African in Bundesliga history.
As mentioned at the top of this article, it has been a bad week for Dortmund. We were expected to take 3 points from Leipzig without fuss and to beat APOEL at a canter. Instead, we suffered their first Bundesliga defeat of the season and are now in big trouble in the Champions League. Eintracht Frankfurt are no pushovers and should not be treated as such. However, there is a reason we are top of the league. We should be winning this game and getting the past two weeks out of our system.