Mario Goetze came through Borussia Dortmund's academy
Frankfurt (AFP) - Eintracht Frankfurt host Borussia Dortmund in Saturday’s Bundesliga highlight, with both teams enjoying an improvement in form after difficult moments this season.
Despite sitting outside the Champions League places in fifth, Dortmund have secured progress to the next round of Europe’s top-tier competition and German Cup in the past two weeks, along with putting five past a hapless Stuttgart last weekend.
Dortmund’s impressive fortnight got even better on Tuesday, with the news that striker Sebastian Haller, currently undergoing treatment including chemotherapy for testicular cancer, returned to individual training for the first time since his diagnosis.
Frankfurt, who sit in fourth place in the table, are on the cusp of joining Dortmund in the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Eagles need to win away at Sporting Lisbon next week to progress, although manager Oliver Glasner was careful not to look too far over the horizon for the ambitious club.
“Wait, was Dortmund cancelled?” Glasner joked late on Wednesday when asked how he would prepare his side for their crucial next fixture against Sporting.
Speaking after Frankfurt notched a 2-1 victory over Marseille, Glasner hoped his side could help him achieve his personal goal of claiming at least a point against Dortmund.
“It’s my fourth season in Germany and I haven’t scored a point against Dortmund yet,” Glasner, who previously spent two seasons at Wolfsburg, told the post-match press conference.
“It’s a personal goal and I hope my boys will experience that.”
Former Dortmund midfielder Mario Goetze said he was looking forward to a “gigantic” match this weekend.
“I spent my youth in Dortmund. I played there for many years and I had many good moments.”
Dortmund will want to stop a worrying trend at Frankfurt’s Waldstadion, with the Yellow and Blacks having lost their past three Bundesliga games away from home.
One to watch: Mario Goetze (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Goetze will take on Dortmund for the first time since leaving for a second time in 2020.
The 2014 World Cup-winning forward is in perhaps his best form since his first stint at the Westfalenstadion earned him a controversial move to Bayern Munich, which derailed an otherwise promising career.
Goetze played his 50th Champions League game on Wednesday, picking up the man-of-the-match award in the process and illustrating his importance to Frankfurt’s young front line.
Since making the move from PSV Eindhoven to Frankfurt in the summer, Goetze has served as a link man between the Eagles’ impressive attacking trident of Daichi Kamada, Randal Kolo Muani and Jesper Lindstroem.
Nine - Schalke have had eight different managers since the sacking of Domenico Tedesco in March 2019. The ninth, former Bochum mentor Thomas Reis, was appointed on Thursday and will lead the Royal Blues for the first time against third-placed Freiburg on Sunday.
Eight - Werder Bremen’s Niclas Fuellkrug’s goal tally for the season, which is equal top alongside French pair in Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku and Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram.
Seven (from ten) - After starting their season with just one win from five games in all competitions, Frankfurt have now won seven of their past ten matches.
Six - Germany and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will miss his sixth game in a row when Bayern host Mainz, giving rise to fears the German captain’s World Cup may be in doubt.
Fixtures (all times 1130 GMT unless stated)
Werder Bremen v Hertha Berlin (1830)
Bayern Munich v Mainz, RB Leipzig v Leverkusen, Stuttgart v Augsburg, Wolfsburg v Bochum, Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund (1630)
Union Berlin v Borussia Moenchengladbach, Schalke v Freibug (1530), Cologne v Hoffenheim (1730)