Borussia Dortmund’s relentless grind for the Bundesliga title continues tomorrow with a difficult match against Eintracht Frankfurt, a club hungry for European Competition that hasn’t won a Bundesliga match since February. If last weekend’s match against relegation-threatened VfB Stuttgart was any indication, then tomorrow will be a difficult test for a mostly inexperienced squad rattled by a disastrous result.
Anders wrote last week that the seven games that remained in the Bundesliga prior to the Stuttgart match would essentially amount to seven finals, and could each individually be treated as such. Dortmund then promptly trotted out and put in what was arguably their worst performance of the season, blowing two different leads in a span of 30 minutes to drop two vital points against a relegation candidate with only 10 men.
So, here we are again, now with only six games remaining in the Bundesliga, and the story is the same. Dortmund were bailed out last week when Bayern also dropped points, so the gap between the two clubs is still only two points.
Not that it matters, as BVB have demonstrated an ability to drop points to opponents of any quality, but the job will be even tougher this week than it was against VfB Stuttgart. Despite not winning a game outside of the DFB Pokal since February, Eintracht Frankfurt are currently 7th in the Bundesliga, two points behind Leverkusen in the fight for the Europa Conference League qualification spot.
Frankfurt gave BVB all they could handle in the reverse fixture in October, both outshooting and out-chancing Dortmund over the course of 90 minutes. Thankfully, a great individual effort from Jude Bellingham was enough to be the difference-maker in that match:
Player to Watch: Randal Kolo Muani
Sometimes it’s hard to pick a single player to watch from a team without any standout talents. This week, fortunately, my job is quite easy. Randal Kolo Muani has broken out massively as one of the biggest stars in the Bundesliga in his debut season with Eintracht Frankfurt. Kolo Muani currently leads the entire Bundesliga in Goals + Assists and has as a result found himself on the transfer shortlist of half the biggest clubs in Europe. His play is a major reason why Eintracht Frankfurt are in a position to compete for the Conference League.
Edin Terzic announced in a midweek interview that Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle, who have both been training with the squad this week, will be gameday decisions on Saturday. While it would be nice if either of these center backs could return and provide relief to Dortmund’s paper-thin center back depth, I find the best practice is usually to expect the worst, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Emre Can and Mats Hummels at the back once again.
Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen have been Dortmund’s two most potent offensive threats over the last few months, with Julian Brandt laboring to rediscover the form that made him Bundesliga player of the month earlier this season. Meanwhile, in midfield, if Salih Özcan’s performance last week wasn’t enough to to earn Mahmoud Dahoud a start, than nothing will.
I’m going to do something plainly stupid and apply a dash of optimism to something BVB-related. I think the club will bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment against a team that has been struggling just as badly, and put up a somewhat nervy 2-1 win.