Though the season is still young and there are many decisive results to occur, Bayern are traveling at full speed ahead. With 10 wins on the trot, they are already playing in peak form, and continued squad returns will only make their results resonate more.
Bayern's trip to Frankfurt will be their fourth match on the road in five though, and their engine has stalled at a few opportune times. Results have nonetheless fallen in their favor, but Bayern will have to drop points at some point in the season. With a rematch against Arsenal at midweek, Frankfurt could set the trap that results in Bayern's first dropped points in the Bundesliga.
Frankfurt are not trending in the right direction though, and they have not addressed the persistent problems their squad has in the Bundesliga. Frankfurt can score their way out of a lot of defensive issues, but Bayern's defense is a harder boundary they will have to overcome. A slight recovery from their downward spiral may not be enough to stop the exponential upswing the Rekordmeister are currently on.
The Match (97th Meeting)
Location: Commerz Bank Arena, Frankfurt, Germany
Head: Daniel Siebert
FC Bayern: 4 W, 0 D, 0 L – 1 YC
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Television and Streaming:
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UK: BT Sport Europe
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FC Bayern: WWLWW
Bundesliga: 46 W, 21 D, 21 L
DFB Pokal: 3 W, 0 D, 1 L
UEFA Cup: 1 W, 0 D, 3 L
Largest Victory: 7-2 (Competition: May 30, 1981, Munich)
Largest Defeat: 0-6 (Bundesliga: November 22, 1975, Frankfurt)
With firepower up the wazoo, Bayern are very potent against whoever they face. Frankfurt's porous defense may not need a wazoo to get Bayern their desired results, a luxury with another Champions League clash against Arsenal on the docket. Thus starts the rotation rumor roundabout.
If one were to take a quick peek at the minute tallies, one would see David Alaba (1440), Douglas Costa (1273), Philipp Lahm (1270), Robert Lewandowski (1186), and Thomas Müller (1145) as the top minute collectors in all competition this season – well, outside of Manuel Neuer of course. As a man who wants to play every minute, Douglas will not want to sit after having to miss the Werder Bremen match with a knock he collected on international duty. Without Juan Bernat (he did not travel to Frankfurt), Alaba will have to remain on the left as well, but Lahm, Lewandowski, and Müller could be watching the match from the bench on Saturday.
Lewandowski may be a prime candidate to get a breather, his goalscoring form slowing down enough for Pep Guardiola to take him out of the squad. A front of Douglas, Müller, and Arjen Robben will suit Bayern well, the three interchanging effectively against Wolfsburg at midweek. That would also allow Guardiola to pack the midfield, though he has often favored using just two midfielders in his recent setups to keep attacking players on the field.
The defense may get a boost from Medhi Benatia, who Guardiola tabbed as ready in his pre-match presser Thursday. Javi Martinez's knee issues may dictate he not play twice in the same week, a perfect opportunity to give Benatia a go and see where he is at. Benatia would be a good solution to combat Frankfurt's forwards, his aerial ability an asset Bayern has missed at times.
Bayern's Bundesliga win streak eventually has to end, but barring some complete chemistry meltdown, Frankfurt is not the city where it will happen.
Projected Lineup (4-3-3):
Douglas Costa – Thomas Muller – Arjen Robben
Arturo Vidal – Joshua Kimmich – Thiago Alcantara
David Alaba – Jerome Boateng – Medhi Benatia – Rafinha
Bench: Sven Ulreich, Javi Martínez, Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso, Jan Kirchhoff, Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski
Out/Suspended: Juan Bernat (groin), Mario Götze (groin), Franck Ribéry (ankle), Sebastian Rode (thigh)
Frankfurt have maintained a strong mid-table status after their relegation in 2010/11, but the club has not continued the Bundesliga latter. They seem to be holding on to the rung they are currently at rather than reaching for the next one, and their reappointment of Armin Veh reflects that.
Their resources dictate such an environment though, especially since their best players tend to get poached away. Fortunately Frankfurt has talent that has progressed over recent seasons, including Alexander Meier, Stefan Aigner, and Marc Stendera. While not world-class players, Meier did win the Torkanone as the Bundesliga's top scorer, and Stendera is coming off of a Doppelpack against Hannover 96.
The biggest issues remain in defense, Frankfurt already with the fifth-worst defensive record in the Bundesliga. Marco Russ and Carlos Zambrano seem like good ball winners, but the look completely lost at times as a pair. Opponent interplay does not suit them well, and not even help from Stefan Reinartz can stop the ball from going into the back of the net.
Veh will have hard task stopping the Bayern storm coming his way, for his limited options in personnel may be to big of a liability to solve.
Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Bastian Oczipka – Alexander Meier – Stefan Aigner
Marc Stendera – Stefan Reinartz
Constant Djakpa – Marco Russ – Carlos Zambrano – Aleksandar Ignjovski
Bench: Heinz Lindner, David Kinsombi, Timothy Chandler, Slobodan Medojević, Johannes Flum, Luca Castaignos, Luca Waldschmidt
Out/Suspended: David Abraham (knee), Bamba Anderson (cartilage damage), Emil Balayev (teeth), Joel Gerezgiher (abdomen), Sonny Kittel (knee)
Even if Frankfurt pack the penalty area full of players, there are going to be goals in this match. Bayern's movement will be hard for them to track, and Frankfurt may suffer more disciplinary ramifications than decisive results. Recent road trips have not been all to friendly for Bayern, but this might be a nice way to end their travels before returning to Allianz Arena at midweek.
Projected Score: Eintracht Frankfurt (1-4) Bayern Munich
The Other Action
Schalke 04 vs. FC Ingolstadt 04 (Saturday, 10:30 AM ET)
Augsburg vs. Mainz 05 (Saturday, 10:30 AM ET)
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 10:30 AM ET)
Köln vs. Hoffenheim (Saturday, 10:30 AM ET)
Hertha Berlin vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach (Saturday, 10:30 AM ET)
Wolfsburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Saturday, 1:30 PM ET)
Stuttgart vs. SV Darmstadt 98 (Sunday, 10:30 AM ET)
Hamburger SV vs. Hannover 96 (Sunday, 12:30 PM ET)
UEFA Champions League Opponents
Swansea City vs. Arsenal (Saturday, 11:00 AM ET)
Split vs. Dinamo Zagreb (11:00 AM ET)
Veria vs. Olympiacos (11:30 AM ET)
|FC Schalke 04|
|Hertha Berliner SC|
|Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
|FC Ingolstadt 04|
|1. FC Köln|
|SV Darmstadt 98|
|1. FSV Mainz 05|
|SV Werder Bremen|
|TSG 1899 Hoffenheim|