On Saturday afternoon, Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen travel to Eintracht Frankfurt in what is a must-win game so early in his tenure. Currently in 15th place, Leverkusen are flirting with the relegation places and will need to pick up points with a gap beginning to appear between the bottom six and the rest of the table.
Both Frankfurt and Leverkusen faced defeat midweek at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur (3-2) and FC Porto (3-0) respectively. When comparing both games, Frankfurt will be the happier of the two as they showed some promise in the opening stages and ended the game on a high note. Leverkusen on the other hand couldn’t catch a break against Porto. They missed a penalty and had one goal ruled out for what turned out to be both offside and a handball by an out-of-sorts Patrik Schick.
Domestically, Frankfurt are in eighth position with a win potentially bringing them all the way into the top four or the European places at least. On paper, Oliver Glasner’s Eagles should win this one and inflict more misery on Leverkusen. However, with new boss and former Bundesliga winner Alonso in charge, the atmosphere at B04 already feels different. This was certainly the case in the Spaniard’s first Bundesliga match as Leverkusen steam-rolled to a 4-0 victory over Schalke.
For Frankfurt, it’s probably not the best time to play Leverkusen. They will be hoping that their reasonable form and home advantage will prove the difference this weekend. Against Tottenham on Wednesday, Frankfurt started with high intensity but was soon found out defensively. Defending is neither team’s strong point with both sides conceding 16 goals in their opening 9 Bundesliga matches. This game could come down to who exposes the opposition’s defence more.
Trapp – N’Dicka, Tuta, Smolčić – Jakić, Sow, Rode, Lenz – Lindstrøm, Götze, Muani.
Hrádecký – Hincapie, Tah, Tapsoba – Bakker, Aránguiz, Andrich, Frimpong – Hudson-Odoi, Diaby, Schick.
GGFN | Jamie Allen