Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bayern München – Sunday, August 12, 19:30 BST/20:30 CEST – Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany
The Bundesliga might not officially kick off until August 24 but on Sunday Bundesliga clubs will finally be back in an official capacity when the DFL Supercup heralds the start of the 2017/18 season. This year’s Supercup will see German champions Bayern München face DFB Pokal winners Eintracht Frankfurt.
Eintracht Frankfurt shocked German football in May by beating Bayern 3-1 in DFB Pokal final in the Berlin Olympiastadion. It was the football equivalent of an earthquake.
Not only did Frankfurt beat Bayern in the final but they did it convincingly. That match, in particular, may have caused a significant paradigm shift in German football. All of a sudden Bayern feel vulnerable. It is a vulnerability, in fact, that was already felt during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
There almost all the Bayern players struggled as they were virtually all deflated at the tournament and many viewers wondered whether it was the final in Berlin that was the first nail in the coffin for Germany’s World Cup hopes. Frankfurt, on the other hand, were excellent in May.
In fact, Frankfurt beat Bayern the same way that many smaller sides beat the favourites at the World Cup. They set back and quickly hit the Bavarians in the transition game.
Using quick players like Ante Rebić, Mijat Gaćinović and Luka Jović Frankfurt’s then head coach Niko Kovač hit Bayern whenever the Rekordmeister lost the ball exposing Bayern’s problems when it comes to playing teams that have a quick transition game. It was a tactical masterpiece by Kovač.
It was, of course, Kovač’s last game in charge at Eintracht – Frankfurt replaced him with Adi Hütter. A crowning achievement before joining the very club he beat. Back in May, the Futbolgrad Network suggested the importance of Kovač winning the cup final against Bayern.
Without the victory, Kovač may have struggled to gain the authority he needs to control the shark tank that is Bayern’s dressing room. Arriving with the Pokal means that he now has some credit to make the sort of tough decisions that will be expected from him this season.
Kovač is expected to lead Bayern to a bright future – rebuilding the club while seeing out the careers of Frank Ribéry and Arjen Robben. It is a difficult job as Bayern’s bosses still expect trophies, even throughout this rebuild. Also the Supercup will be important as it will set the tone for the rest of the season.
The 46-year-old, however, has never coached a top club and there are more than a few that doubt that he is the right man for Bayern. Hence, Kovač needs immediate success to keep the circling sharks at bay while he gains authority over this side.
Frankfurt, in the meantime, have nothing to lose. Sporting director Fredi Bobić knows that there will be a transition period under new head coach Hütter. But stars like Jović and Rebić have stayed at the club and Hütter will find a functional team ready to upset the apple-cart once again.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bayern München- Players to look out for:
Ante Rebić #4 –Eintracht Frankfurt
Ante Rebić was a star at the World Cup. As a result, many suspected that Rebić would either join Kovač and move on to Bayern or that the 24-year-old native of Split would head to England. But the transfer window deadline came and past in England and Rebić was still in Frankfurt. In fact, on Friday, the day after transfer deadline day in England Rebić signed a new contract in Frankfurt. “It speaks for Eintracht Frankfurt that we were able to keep such a strong player, someone you can call a shooting star. He was courted by a few top clubs and received the one or the other offer which was economically better for him,” Bobić told the media on Friday. The new deal will keep Rebić in Frankfurt until 2022 and is an important sign that Frankfurt want to continue the progress that was started under Kovač.
Serge Gnabry #22 – Bayern München
After a year on loan at Hoffenheim, Serge Gnabry is finally ready to get started at Bayern. Bayern had secured the signing of Gnabry two seasons ago before he headed to Werder Bremen. Bayern, rumour has it, purchased Gnabry and then parked him at Werder. The deal was then completed last summer, but Gnabry was not sure that he would receive enough playing time at Bayern and asked for a loan to Hoffenheim. It was a decision that worked out for everyone involved. Gnabry was excellent at Hoffenheim last season scoring ten goals and seven assists in 22 Bundesliga games.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bayern München– Match Stats
- Bayern have won 53 of the 95 meetings between these sides.
- Rebić scored a brace the last time the teams faced off, helping Frankfurt to victory in the DFB Pokal final in May.
- Bayern have participated in seven of the last eight Supercups, but have only won four of them – most recently in 2017.
- Die Adler have only appeared in the Supercup once, losing 2-0 to Werder Bremen in the 1988 edition.
- Frankfurt have not managed to beat Bayern at their home Commerzbank-Arena since March 2010.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bayern München– 2-1
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bayern München– Lineups
Rönnow – Salcedo, Hasebe, Abraham – Willems, de Guzman, Torro, Chandler – Rebić, Jović, Gaćinović
Head Coach: Adi Hütter
Neuer – Alaba, Hummels, Süle, Kimmich – Thiago, Javi Martínez, Müller – Ribéry, Gnabry, Robben
Head Coach: Niko Kovač
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.