Manuel Veth –
Frankfurt vs Hoffenheim – Saturday, March 2, 14:30GMT/15:30CET – Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt, Germany
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Hoffenheim will see two sides fighting for European qualification in action at the Commerzbank Arena this Saturday. Eintracht Frankfurt head into this game unbeaten in the first six games of the Rückrunde.
With 37 points from 23 games, the Eagles are within five points of a Champions League spot, which could turn out to be vital in the club’s long-term development. At the same time, it will be a fine line the Eagles are walking on in the coming weeks.
Frankfurt are not just competing in the Bundesliga but will also face Italian giants Inter Milan next Thursday in the Europa League. With this in mind, Eintracht Frankfurt head coach is happy that with Almamy Touré and Martin Hinteregger the club managed to sign two defenders that have been quick to integrate into the side.
The arrival of the two players has allowed Hütter to rotate his side and give players like David Abraham, “who at times struggles with injury problems,” as Hütter admitted, some much-needed rest. Furthermore, it also meant that Frankfurt are now more flexible in terms of tactics with Makoto Hasebe at times helping out in midfield, like it was the case in Frankfurt’s 4-1 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.
Rotation that will help against a highly flexible Hoffenheim side that is looking to once again qualify for a Europe via a late run up the table. But while Frankfurt can fully rotate the team Hoffenheim’s head coach, Julian Nagelsmann has some injury concerns ahead of a very important game.
Defenders Kevin Vogt, Benjamin Hübner and Ermin Bičakčić are all missing the game on Saturday. Furthermore, Florian Grillitsch was unable to train this week. “We have to see when he can train again. Should he unable to train on Friday, then he will not be able to play against Frankfurt,” Nagelsmann told the press this week.
As a result, Hoffenheim could face Frankfurt’s dangerous attack with a makeshift defence on Saturday. “It is a must-win game for us. Even if we only had four players, we would still have to win the game,” Nagelsmann told the media this week.
Nagelsmann is right. A defeat to Frankfurt would severely hurt the club’s European ambitions, but given the Kraichgauer’s problems, Frankfurt will be favourites to collect all three points this weekend.
Frankfurt vs Hoffenheim – Players to look out for:
Luka Jović #8 – Eintracht Frankfurt
Luka Jović has been a major talking point in the last few weeks. The Serbian striker has led the Bundesliga goalscoring chart for most of the season and has scored 15 goals in 21 games for Eintracht in the Bundesliga. Furthermore, the striker has added six goals in eight Europa League games, and it is, therefore, not surprising that he has been already linked with several top clubs all over Europe. Still, on loan from Benfica, Frankfurt have an option to make the deal permanent for €7 million, and with his overall market value has grown to €40 million there is no doubt that Frankfurt will trigger the clause.
Joelinton #34 – 1899 Hoffenheim
Like Luka Jović Hoffenheim’s Brazilian striker Joelinton has been a part of major transfer speculations this week. According to a Bild report, Hoffenheim even turned down a €50 million offer for the striker this winter. It is a remarkable turnaround for the striker. Parked at Rapid Vienna in Austria few had Joelinton on the radar as a possible impact player for Hoffenheim this season. Now a third through the 2018/19 season he might be one of Hoffenheim’s most important players. The Brazilian striker has scored six goals and six assists in 21 Bundesliga games for die Kraichgauer this year. But it is not just scorer points that make him an important asset but also his physical presence and playmaking ability. Joelinton is a bit of a holdup player with a deadly touch to find his teammate but also to put away a goalscoring chance.
Frankfurt vs Hoffenheim – Match Stats
- Only against two Bundesliga sides do Eintracht Frankfurt have a negative home record, against Hoffenheim (W2 D3 L4) and Wolfsburg (W4 D4 L8).
- Hoffenheim’s Kasim Adams won the Swiss championship under Eintracht head coach Adi Hütter last season.
- Frankfurt are unbeaten in their first six Rückrunden games for the first time in 29 years.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Frankfurt vs Hoffenheim – 3-1
Frankfurt vs Hoffenheim – Lineups
Trapp – Abraham, Hasebe, Hinteregger – da Costa, Rode, de Guzman, Kostić – Rebić – Jović, Haller
Head Coach: Adi Hütter
Baumann – Brenet, Posch, Adams, Schulz – Amiri, Demirbay – Kramarić, Nelson – Belfodil, Joelinton
Head Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com 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.