Eintracht Frankfurt are hoping to be the next team to capitalise on jaded Bayern Munich’s busy schedule when the Club World Cup champions are away to the Bundesliga’s in-form side on Saturday.
Five straight league wins have rocketed Frankfurt from eighth in mid January to sit third in the Bundesliga, 10 points behind leaders Bayern.
“We are in very good spirits and Bayern have a lot of games at the moment and have to travel a lot,” Frankfurt’s 37-year-old Japanese captain Makoto Hasebe told magazine Sport Bild.
“Still, they are still so good and have a strong winners’ mentality.”
For Bayern, the clash is part of a gruelling schedule across multiple competitions, coming between their Club World Cup success in Qatar last week and the resumption of their Champions League title defence against Lazio on Tuesday.
The champions’ resilience was tested last Monday when strugglers Arminia Bielefeld raced into a 2-0 lead in Munich.
Robert Lewandowski netted his 25th league goal in 2020/21 with a superb volley to spark Bayern’s fight-back in a 3-3 draw.
Bayern looked jaded after the long flight back from Qatar and struggled with Thomas Mueller quarantined after testing positive for Covid-19.
Frankfurt were thumped 5-0 by Bayern at the Allianz Arena last October.
However, Bayern were thrashed 5-1 on their last visit to Frankfurt in November 2019.
Adi Huetter’s Frankfurt are unbeaten in their first 10 home games this season – the first time that has happened since 1990/91.
Portugal striker Andre Silva is Frankfurt’s top scorer with 18 league goals.
As Frankfurt’s Germany goalkeeper Kevin Trapp put it, if Bielefeld can take a point off Bayern, “why shouldn’t we be able to do that too?”.
“We know that we can beat any opponent if we play well,” added Frankfurt winger Erik Durm, a 2014 World Cup winner with Germany.
Hasebe says Frankfurt’s goal is more than just qualifying for the Champions League next season.
“Eintracht can reach the level behind Bayern alongside clubs like Dortmund, Moenchengladbach and Leipzig,” he added.
“For that, we have to play at international level every year, preferably in the Champions League.”
In Saturday night’s top game Borussia Dortmund are at bottom side Schalke in what could be the last Ruhr derby for the forseeable future.
With just one win all season, Schalke are heading to their first relegation in thirty years.
One to watch: Andre Silva
Lewandowski, who has hit 25 goals, is on course to become the Bundesliga’s top-scorer for the fourth straight season, but the Portugal striker is his nearest rival having scored 18 times.
Silva has netted six goals in his last three league games and Frankfurt also have Real Madrid loanee Luka Jovic as a goal-threat off the bench.
Expect the goals to fly on Saturday as Lewandowski and Silva go head-to-head behind closed doors at Deutsche Bank Park.
99 – Bundesliga matches between Bayern, who have won 55 of them, and Eintracht Frankfurt, who have won 22 matches with 22 draws.
Fixtures (all times 1430GMT unless stated)
Arminia Bielefeld v VfL Wolfsburg (1930)
Borussia Moenchengladbach v Mainz, Freiburg v Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayern Munich, Cologne v VfB Stuttgart, Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund (1730)
Augsburg v Bayer Leverkusen (1230), Hertha Berlin v RB Leipzig, Hoffenheim v Werder Bremen (1700)