Borussia Dortmund’s tough February schedule begins tomorrow, when the Bees travel to Frankfurt to take on one of the strongest sides in the Bundesliga. It promises to be a high-scoring affair, and depending on how Bayern Munich fare against Peter Bosz’s Bayer Leverkusen, could have massive implications for the title race.
Eintracht Frankfurt have been one of the Bundesliga’s elite this season. Their bread and butter has been a highly defensive and counterattacking style featuring a Liverpool-esque front three of Sébastien Haller and Luka Jović up top, with Ante Rebić dropping a bit deeper betwee them. Frankfurt don’t like to circulate the ball in possession, instead choosing to play vertically and move the ball down the pitch as fast as possible. Jović, Haller, and Rebić have combined for 31 out of Frankfurt’s 39 goals, so shutting them down will be a key to Dortmund’s success.
While Borussia Dortmund will be relieved to have Marco Reus back from injury, it doesn’t look like the squad is back to full health just yet. While Dan-Axel Zagadou has returned to training, he isn’t quite fully fit, so expect Julian Weigl to get the start again at center back. It is also unclear whether Lukasz Piszczek will be fit, as he picked up an injury in training earlier in the week. This means that Dortmund might see Marcel Schmelzer return to the starting lineup, with Achraf Hakimi moving to the right in Piszczek’s absence.
Lucien Favre will have a full compliment of attacking players to choose from, so expect to see another edition of Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, and Raphael Guerreiro in attack. Mario Götze, who has looked much better in the second half, will probably start so that Paco Alcacer can come in as a super-sub. Expect a midfield of Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney, who were marvelous again against Hannover.
As I said, the key to victory will be finding a way to contain Frankfurt’s front three and break down Eintracht Frankfurt’s strong defensive setup. Frankfurt tend to have their two strikers man-mark opposing center backs, a tactic would be a tough test for Julian Weigl and Abdou Diallo, who have not played together much. They also play a back-three with a holding midfielder at the center, so Dortmund will probably need either Götze or Paco Alcacer to drop deeper and help the likes of Reus and Sancho to find spaces.
Prediction: 3-2 BVB
I expect to see goals, and lots of them. While Julian Weigl has been strong against Leipzig and Hannover, it will be hard for him to replicate his success against Frankfurt, and I could see him costing BVB a goal or two. However, I think that BVB will be aware of how important this match is, and haven’t shown any tendencies to back down in key moments this season, so I predict a heart-pounding brawl where Dortmund edge out a victory.