Frankfurt vs. Borussia Dortmund: Team News, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info

Lars Pollmann@@LarsPollmannFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2016

Dortmund's midfielder Ilkay Guendogan (L) and Frankfurt's Japanese midfielder Makoto Hasebe vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund vs Eintracht Frankfurt in Dortmund, western Germany, on December 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ

RESTRICTIONS: DURING MATCH TIME: DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE TO 15 PICTURES PER MATCH AND FORBID IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO. == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE == FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050. / AFP / PATRIK STOLLARZ        (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

Eintracht Frankfurt host Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 33 of the 2015/16 Bundesliga season on Saturday.

While the Black and Yellows have a tiny theoretical shot at winning the title—Bayern Munich would need to lose their two remaining matches against Ingolstadt and already-relegated Hannover—the focus will be on the Eagles.

Saturday's hosts sit in the relegation playoff spot, level on points with 17th-placed Stuttgart but only one behind Werder Bremen above the drop zone. Two consecutive come-from-behind wins in derbies against Mainz and Darmstadt have given the Hessians new hope.

Hope will be needed against Dortmund, the Bundesliga's only unbeaten side in 2016. The Black and Yellows have looked untouchable in recent weeks, having won all four matches across competitions with a combined scoreline of 14-1 since crashing out of the UEFA Europa League against Liverpool.

With Frankfurt traveling to Bremen on the final matchday of the campaign, fans will surely be on the lookout for updates from Cologne, where Werder play at the same time on Saturday. Results in Berlin, where Darmstadt—only two points ahead of Frankfurt—face Hertha and Stuttgart, who play Mainz, will also be of great significance for the Hessians.

Dortmund won the first meeting of the season in December 4-1, while Frankfurt won all three points the last time the two sides met in the Commerzbank-Arena in 2014.

Mats Hummels scored in the first meeting of the season.
Mats Hummels scored in the first meeting of the season.PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

Date: Saturday, May 7

Time: 2:30 p.m. BST/9:30 a.m. ET/3:30 p.m. local time

Venue: Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt

TV Info: FS 1 (U.S. only)

Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go (U.S. only)

Form Guide

FrankfurtDortmund
Bayern: Loss (1-0)Liverpool: Loss (4-3)
Hoffenheim: Loss (2-0)Hamburg: Win (3-0)
Leverkusen: Loss (3-0)Hertha: Win (3-0)
Mainz: Win (2-1)Stuttgart: Win (3-0)
Darmstadt: Win (2-1)Wolfsburg: Win (5-1)

Predicted Lineups

Frankfurt

Centre-back Carlos Zambrano joins attacker Alexander Meier, defenders Bamba Anderson and Stefan Reinartz and midfielders Slobodan Medojevic and Johannes Flum on the injury list.

Central forward Haris Seferovic will also miss the game through suspension after his 10th booking of the season against Darmstadt.

Timothy Chandler could be back against Dortmund.
Timothy Chandler could be back against Dortmund.PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

United States international Timothy Chandler, meanwhile, returned to team training during the week and could feature, per Peppi Schmitt of Frankfurter Neue Presse (link in German).

Frankfurt will likely field a defensive selection with five, or even six, at the back at most times.

Predicted Starting XI: Hradecky; Regasel, Abraham, Russ, Oczipka, Djakpa; Hasebe; Aigner, Ben-Hatira, Huszti; Castaignos.

Dortmund

Defenders Neven Subotic and Joo-ho Park are still out injured, as is Ilkay Gundogan. The club announced (link in German) on Friday that the Germany international has picked up a knee injury.

Right-back Lukasz Piszczek didn't take part in team training during the week and won't make the trip out of precaution.

Midfielder Julian Weigl will miss the game after his fifth booking of the season against Wolfsburg, Dortmund's first suspension in the entire campaign.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should slide back into the starting XI.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should slide back into the starting XI.Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Nuri Sahin should take his spot in the starting XI, while Erik Durm or Matthias Ginter will replace Piszczek. Up front, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should return to the starting lineup after overcoming a toe injury.

Predicted Starting XI: Burki; Durm, Bender, Hummels, Schmelzer; Sahin, Castro, Kagawa; Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Reus.

Players to Watch

When Anis Ben-Hatira joined Frankfurt from Hertha Berlin on a free transfer in the winter, more than a few onlookers scratched their heads.

The former Germany under-21 international had only played three matches for Hertha's second team in the fourth division, the Regionalliga, after a nagging toe injury kept him out of football for months.

Disciplinary problems—per Uwe Bremer of local paper Berliner Morgenpost (link in German), Ben-Hatira punched team-mate Mitchell Weiser after the match at Bremen—sealed the 27-year-old's fate in the capital.

Anis Ben-Hatira has given Frankfurt new life in recent weeks.
Anis Ben-Hatira has given Frankfurt new life in recent weeks.Michael Probst/Associated Press

An afterthought in Frankfurt as well, the Tunisia international played in only two of his side's next seven matches of 2016.

Since former Croatia international Niko Kovac has taken over, however, Ben-Hatira has been an integral part of the team. Scoring the winner against Hannover and producing both goals against Mainz, the creative midfielder has been somewhat of a lifeline for the Eagles.

As for Dortmund, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been in inspired form in recent weeks—or the entire campaign, if you like. The Armenian is one assist away from tying Kevin De Bruyne's record from last season, per Jan Reinold of sport magazine Kicker (link in German).

Having been involved in five goals in as many league meetings with Frankfurt, the 27-year-old has a good shot at equalising the record of 21 assists in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Key Battle

Dortmund's Patience vs. Frankfurt's High-Intensity Defending

Frankfurt aren't exactly pretty to look at under Kovac, but their record has improved since he took over from Armin Veh in March. They're defending with more tenacity and grit, which was on display against Bayern Munich, as it took a wonder goal from Franck Ribery to beat Frankfurt 1-0.

Expect the Hessians to sit deep with five or six defenders at most times, narrowing the field for Dortmund, while challenging them with a lot of physicality.

Seeing as the Black and Yellows have little to play for against Frankfurt, and the DFB-Pokal final against Bayern is just around the corner, the Eagles will hope they can annoy Dortmund enough to lure them into mistakes.

BVB's patience will be tested, but head coach Thomas Tuchel is ready for just that, as relayed from his press conference by ESPN FC's Stefan Buczko:

Odds (via Odds Shark)

Frankfurt: 5-1

Draw: 15-4

Dortmund: 100-227

Lars Pollmann is a Featured Columnist writing on Borussia Dortmund. He also writes for YellowWallPod.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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