Eintracht Frankfurt will be looking to get something out of their Bundesliga clash against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday as they look to escape the drop.
7 May 2016
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: D. Siebert
Assistants: F. Heft, J. Seidel
Fourth official: R. Schröder
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Frankfurt 87 28 16 43
Dortmund 87 43 16 28
Frankfurt 0-4 Dortmund 12/01/16 (Friendly)
Dortmund goalscorers: I. Gundogan (39′ pen), A. Ramos (48′, 68′), S. Kagawa (62′)
Players to watch
Anis Ben-Hatira has been a revelation for Die Adler since Niko Kovac took over the reins from Armin Veh in March. The Tunisian midfielder had only arrived at the Commerzbank-Arena during the mid-season transfer window from league rivals Hertha Berlin and barely featured under Veh.
But Ben-Hatira has impressed under Kovac thus far, scoring the winner against Hannover 96 on March 19 and providing an assist in the 2-1 victory over 1. FSV Mainz 05 a fortnight ago, helping the team to move within one point of safety.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been the key to Dortmund’s title challenge, with his 25 goals keeping the pressure on FC Bayern München at the top of the table. The Mali international has not been as prolific during the second half of the season as the first – scoring just seven times since the winter break, although he did bag a brace against VfL Wolfsburg last time out.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been another vital component for Dortmund and is one assist shy of equalling Kevin De Bruyne’s record of 21 for Die Wolfe last term. The Armenian midfielder has provided five assists in his last four league outings, while also contributing 11 goals.
Team form and manager quotes
Kovac’s side are chasing an unlikely third straight win in the top flight, having beaten Mainz and SV Darmstadt 98 in their last two matches to climb out of the bottom-two. They currently occupy the relegation play-off spot but find themselves just one point adrift of 15th-placed SV Werder Bremen with two fixtures left to play.
Kovac has called on his players to give their all this weekend in a bid to keep alive their hopes of surviving the drop.
“Every atom of energy must be used in order to achieve a good result. We want to get a point, win if possible,” the former Croatia international said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Dortmund still have an outside chance of claiming the league title, although they need to win their last two games and hope that Bayern lose to FC Ingolstadt 04 and Hannover, which is highly unlikely.
Tuchel’s men are unbeaten in the league since the turn of the year, only dropping points against Berlin, Bayern and FC Schalke 04 to make a late surge for the title, having finished the first half of the season in the relegation zone.
Tuchel is expecting a tough test from Frankfurt, but insists his players are focused on the task at hand as they look to haul in the five-point gap to the league leaders.
“We expect an emotionally charged atmosphere in Frankfurt,” he said. “They just won two derbies against Mainz and Darmstadt.
“It doesn’t matter whether Frankfurt have something left to play for. Keeping the tension up is always relative. Everyone who saw us [beat Wolfsburg 5-1 last Saturday] will know that we’re extremely focused.”
The hosts must do without centre-back Carlos Zambrano, who is sidelined with a thigh injury, while striker Haris Seferovic misses out through suspension, having collected 10 yellow cards this term.
The duo join Alexander Meier, Bamba Anderson, Stefan Reinartz, Slobodan Medojevic and Johannes Flum on the sidelines.
Dortmund were dealt a blow this week with the news that Ilkay Gundogan has been ruled out for several months after dislocating his kneecap in training on Monday.
Lukasz Piszczek, Neven Subotic and Joo-ho Park will also sit out the trip to Frankfurt through injury, while Julian Weigl serves a one-game suspension.
However, Aubameyang is expected to return to the starting line-up after shaking off a toe injury.