Manuel Veth –
Frankfurt vs Bayern – Saturday, December 22, 17:30GMT/18:30CET – Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt, Germany
Again no Bundesliga victory in the Rhein-Main Derby for Eintracht Frankfurt. Frankfurt have never beaten local rivals 1.FSV Mainz 05 in Mainz a fact that is unchanged after Wednesday’s 2-2 draw.
Nonetheless, Frankfurt can look back to a successful 2018 in which the club not only won the DFB Pokal but also managed to become the first German club in Europe to win six out of six group stage matches in a UEFA competition. In order to build on that success, Frankfurt have managed to make some key decisions ahead of the Christmas holidays. Makoto Hasebe, Gelson Fernandes and Marco Russ all renewed their contracts this week.
“I am happy that we managed to renew their contracts. They are key players and leaders for us,” head coach Adi Hütter explained to the press this week. Early Christmas presents for the clubs and the players ahead of a crucial game on the weekend against Bayern.
Fifth in the table Eintracht Frankfurt want to repeat the success from the DFB Pokal final, where they beat Bayern 3-1, and also make up for the 5-0 defeat at the DFL Supercup this summer. “We have something to prove. What we showed in the Supercup was embarrassing,” wing-back Danny da Costa told the media this week. “Since that game we have made a big step forward in our development. That is something we want to underline in that game,” he added.
Bayern, in the meantime, have also made a big step forward in recent weeks. Thanks to Dortmund’s defeat and Bayern’s 1-0 victory over Leipzig the Bavarian giants are now within six points of first place in the league. Furthermore, the club looks ready to provide Niko Kovac with his very own Christmas present by signing defender Lucas Hernández for €80 million from Atlético Madrid.
Hernández, and possibly one more additional signing, are supposed to help Bayern to close the gap to Dortmund even further and perhaps celebrate a seventh Bundesliga title in a row in May after all. Any new signings, however, would not come in until January 1 and for Bayern to have any hope of a Rückrunde revival they need to collect all three points against Eintracht Frankfurt in Saturday’s Topspiel.
In order to achieve just that Bayern will take the game against Leipzig as an example. It was the first time this season that the club had won a game against a Bundesliga big boy. In what was a cagey affair the Bavarians showed tenacity and the will to win a game that could have also gone the other way.
The game against Frankfurt, however, will not be any easier. “The boys hit everything,” Niko Kovac said about Frankfurt’s attacking trio Sebastien Haller, Ante Rebić and Luka Jović this week. Stopping those three will be crucial for Bayern’s defence that has displayed difficulties this year against fast and dynamic attacks. Overall this will be a game in the balance with both teams more than capable to collect all three points.
Frankfurt vs Bayern – Players to look out for:
Luka Jović #8 – Eintracht Frankfurt
Luka Jović scored another two goals this weekend and now leads the league in goalscoring together with Paco Alcacer. 12 goals in just 14 Bundesliga games. Jović, in fact, has scored a goal every 76 minutes this season and shutting him down is almost impossible.
Kingsley Coman #29 – Bayern München
Kingsley Coman’s return has sparked Bayern’s return of form. The French winger brings speed and a dynamic to a Bayern attack that at times was struggling to be creative this season. Coman himself, in the meantime, wants to stay healthy after suffering a serious ankle injury earlier this season and finish 2018 on a high note with a win against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Frankfurt vs Bayern – Match Stats
- Jović’s tally of 12 goals after 16 Matchdays is the best for a Frankfurt player since Alex Meier boasted the same total four years ago – the season he finished as Bundesliga top scorer.
- Frankfurt have not beaten Bayern in the league in 14 attempts but stunned them in last season’s DFB Pokal final.
- Bayern come into the game with the league’s best away record (six wins, two losses).
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Frankfurt vs Bayern – 2-2
Frankfurt vs Bayern – Lineups
Trapp – Russ, Salcedo, Ndicka – da Costa, de Guzman, Fernandes, Kostić – Rebić – Haller, Jović
Neuer – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Goretzka, Thiago – Coman, Müller, Ribéry – Lewandowski
Head Coach: Niko Kovac
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.