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Match Preview: Dortmund @ Frankfurt

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Can Dortmund Break a 5 Year Winless Drought in Frankfurt?

Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund return to Bundesliga action on Sunday evening when they travel to the Commerzbank-Arena to face Eintracht Frankfurt.

BVB are coming off two stellar outings in the past week. They countered Bayer Leverkusen right out of the Westfalenstadion 4-0 last Saturday, and they outplayed FC Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday night, despite only coming away with a point from a 0-0 draw. Frankfurt meanwhile suffered two disappointing defeats, first losing 2-1 away to lowly Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday, then dropping their opening Europa League group stage match against Arsenal 3-0 on Thursday.

Dortmund go into the match against Frankfurt virtually unchanged from previous matches in terms of squad health. Full-backs Nico Schulz and Mateu Morey, plus backup goalkeeper Marwin Hitz, will miss Sunday’s match. Łukasz Piszczek might be available, but given the veteran full-back’s age and injury history, Dortmund appear to wisely be taking a cautious approach in regards to Piszczek’s health. It wouldn’t be surprising if he’s absent again, which leaves Achraf Hakimi and Raphaël Guerreiro to likely man the full-back positions. Jadon Sancho will be available after picking up a slight foot injury against Barcelona on Tuesday. Frankfurt will likely be without ex-Dortmund midfielder Sebastian Rode as he works his way back from a knee injury.

Adi Hütter’s Frankfurt side is one of the most versatile attacking units in the Bundesliga. Despite losing the deadly attacking trio of Luka Jović, Sébastien Haller, and Ante Rebić in the summer, Frankfurt still have a side that can put the ball in the net on a regular basis. Dutch international Bas Dost made his return to the Bundesliga in late August and has quickly established himself as the point man in Frankfurt’s attack. André Silva, Daichi Kamada, and the ever dangerous Filip Kostić are all threats to keep an eye on as well. Keeper Kevin Trapp is a regular in Jogi Löw’s Germany squads, so he should present a challenge to Dortmund’s attack.

Sunday’s venue has been a bogey ground for Dortmund over the past few years. BVB’s last win at the Commerzbank-Arena was in September of 2013. In their last 5 trips to Frankfurt, Dortmund have drawn twice and lost three times, and Frankfurt have yet to drop a point at their home ground thus far into the season. Lucien Favre’s men will be looking to put an emphatic end to that on Sunday.

Expect Favre to roll out his standard 4-2-3-1 formation. Given the intense matches in the past week, Sunday’s match might present Favre with an opportunity to give starts to players who were among the substitutes against Leverkusen and Barcelona. The Julians, Brandt and Weigl, are prime candidates, but given Frankfurt’s attacking prowess, and how well the Dortmund backline and midfield played against both Leverkusen & Barcelona, it wouldn’t surprise many if Favre stuck with the same players from those matches.

One player who could do with a bit of rest is club captain Marco Reus. Other than a good spell against Leverkusen, Reus hasn’t been able to establish himself as a dominant factor in Dortmund’s attack in this campaign thus far. A missed penalty against Barcelona didn’t help matters. Dortmund look to be better able to deal with a Reus absence this season than they were last season, so it might behoove Favre to give his captain a chance to sit back and recharge, and give an opportunity to players such as the aforementioned Brandt, or Mario Gotze, to feature in the 10 spot behind Paco Alcácer.

Dortmund have shown over the past week that they can run with any opponent if they put their minds to it. While they are the superior team to Frankfurt, the bad performance against Union isn’t so far in the rear view mirror, so Dortmund need to be totally focused on this match if they want to get a win in a place where their last win came when Jurgen Klopp was the club’s manager.

How do you think Dortmund should line up?