Created on 2020-05-22 at 18:52 PM
It's the start of a potentially decisive week! FC Bayern host Eintracht Frankfurt in their first home game after the coronavirus break on Saturday (from 12:30 EST with our live updates and free web radio). This will be the first competitive game without spectators at the Allianz Arena. After Bayern's successful restart at Union Berlin, the German champions want take the next step towards defending their title.
Manuel Neuer extended his contract with Bayern until June 30, 2023 last Wednesday. All the information is here!
Building up confidence
The duel against Frankfurt marks the beginning of a very important week. FCB want to carry momentum forward to the top clash next Tuesday (12:30 EST) at Borussia Dortmund. Read our preview for everything you need to know about the game against Eintracht.
Robert Lewandowski was in good form for the restart against Union Berlin. Can he continue his impressive record against Frankfurt on Saturday?
It was the successful restart Bayern had hoped for. On Sunday, FCB won 2-0 at Union Berlin after the ten-week Bundesliga break. This enabled the men from Munich to maintain their position at the top of the table. The lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund is four points with eight games to go in the season. The win in Berlin was the Reds' fifth Bundesliga victory in a row. FCB are now unbeaten in twelve in the league .
"Frankfurt defend very well and are strong and dynamic when not in possession. They win the ball well in midfield. They're a team with a lot of heart," said FCB coach Hansi Flick on Friday in the video press conference. Eintracht have slipped slightly in the table. They currently stand in 13th place with 28 points, but still have a game in hand against Werder Bremen. The Hesse side have suffered four defeats in a row, their worst run of form in the Bundesliga since March 2017. Eintracht lost 3-1 in their home game against Borussia Mönchengladbach for the Bundesliga restart last weekend. "Regardless of the results over the past few weeks, we expect a team wanting to get back on the road to success," said Flick. Bayern will also be very aware this game in the first half of the season ended in a 5-1 loss. "I don't think much of it when you say 'we have a score to settle.' It's a different game, with different requirements," said Flick.
Long-term injury absentees Niklas Süle (cruciate ligament rehab), Corentin Tolisso (ankle surgery) and Philippe Coutinho (ankle rehab) are not available for Flick on Saturday against Eintracht. In addition, there are question marks over the availability of Thiago and Serge Gnabry: "For Serge it looks quite good, with Thiago we have to wait and see, things are not going quite as we wanted. We wait and hope that we have both of them. If not, we can manage," said Flick.
For Frankfurt, midfielder Dominik Kohr is suspended after five yellow cards. Attacker Gonçalo Paciência will not feature due to injury. Captain David Abraham is rated doubtful.
View from the dugout
Hansi Flick: “As for every game, we're preparing intensively. Both with and without the ball, it's important we take the things we have trained to heart. It's not an easy situation. It's crucial you take the mentality onto the pitch. It's important you push each other as a team to compensate for the lack of crowd motivation. We'll try to perform well under the circumstances and we want to win this game. We're top of the table and we want to keep it that way."
Adi Hütter, Eintracht Frankfurt coach: "This is one of the hardest away games. We can expect a top team, and we can't afford to make any mistakes. If you don't perform well, things can get very difficult in Munich."
The game will take place without spectators due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but Bayern are not playing without the support of the fans. In the past few days, fan club staff have placed a number of banners from the clubs in the grandstand area. In addition, some adjustments have been made at the Allianz Arena to meet the DFL hygiene plan and the distancing rules.
Two changing rooms per team
"We removed the usual seats in the individual areas and put the seats from the subs bench there, so a minimum distance of 1.5 metres can be guaranteed everywhere," explained Allianz Arena Managing Director Jürgen Muth. In addition, the teams each have two changing rooms available for preparation. “We also marked the route so you come into as little contact with others as possible. They go to the different areas in different directions, then come out of the tunnel together and afterwards leave the Allianz Arena relatively quickly via separate routes." Before the game there will be a minute's silence for the victims of the corona pandemic.
Good runs of form, welcome visitors & more - here are seven fascinating facts about the game against Eintracht: