After dispensing with Legia Warsaw in the UEFA Champions League, Borussia Dortmund will take a trip to Hessen in a matchup with Eintracht Frankfurt who are level on points (21) with Die Schwarzgelben.
Frankfurt haven’t been friendly hosts to Dortmund, allowing only four league points since 2012 and outscoring the Ruhr side 7-5.
BVB enter Saturday’s match in decent form, outscoring their last 5 opponents 15-6, but seem a bit bipolar. While grabbing clean sheets against sides like Bayern Munich, Schalke and Sporting CP, the club yielded a combined 6 goals to Hamburger SV and the aforementioned Legia. Injuries have prevented the back line from building sufficient consistency and rarely do we see the same starters in back-to-back matches. It feels a bit like 2013 with players like Marco Reus and Mario Götze providing strong outputs in Dortmund’s attack and both look likely to continue their progress within the Tuchel system. As tactical approaches have varied, so too have goal outputs. Against Bayern and later in the match against Sporting, BVB have relented some of their possession in an effort to keep the opponents’ attacking in front of them.
That trend isn’t likely to continue when the Black and Yellows square off with Frankfurt. Eintracht have been an organised side that doesn’t look to command possession but rather to cover its opponents’ channels and break on the counter. The Eagles have surged forward this year under Niko Kovac with strong performances from Marco Fabián and Jesús Vallejo. Being less reliant on Alex Meier has made them a more diverse team in attack and yielded fewer scoring droughts than Eintracht had in recent years.
Both clubs will be missing key players. Thomas Tuchel will have to make do without Roman Bürki who broke his hand against Bayern Munich, Sven Bender, and Neven Subotic. Reus will come off the bench, the 43-year-old revealed at Friday’s press conference.
Meanwhile, Omar Mascarell misses for the Eagle’s out on yellow card accumulation. Although Bürki’s injury is a blow, Eintracht is far more likely to be hurt by Mascarell’s absence. The Spanish midfielder is crucial to Frankfurt’s buildup play, specifically in the middle third of the pitch. He completed 40 of 44 passes in the middle third in the victory against Bremen and his mix of long, penetrating passes and quick lateral passes to maintain possession have been an important asset for the match.
Because Eintracht are so well-organised it’s reasonable to suspect breaking them down will be difficult. Expect Mario Götze’s performance a critical part of creating chances with his tricky movement and clever positioning. When the Eagles have possession, expect Fabián to stay close to Meier. As Dortmund focus on that duo, look for Mijat Gacinovic bombing down the left flank.
Dortmund have scored early in recent fixtures. If they do the same in Frankfurt, the match should open up for them.
Scoreline prediction: 3-2