What can we expect?
The Bundesliga was postponed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic on March 13. In the past two months, we’ve seen several meetings between the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB, German Football Association) and German politicians on how the Bundesliga could resume as the lockdown in the country started to ease.
The green light was given on 7 May for a restart, thanks to the DFB’s detailed plan of testing players and staff, along with appropriate isolation times.
There have been strict rules on training too, with small groups only able to train up until a couple of weeks ago and on a rotating basis. Fitness levels and the standard of football won’t be what they were, and this will probably be the case for a while. But that trouble fans who are just pleased to have some top flight football to watch.
As this is the first standalone match of the restart (with several 14:30 kick-offs on Saturday), there will be more eyes on this single match than most others. Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach will show the world what football will be like without fans.
The Eagles try to reverse their losing run
It’s been quite a ride for Eintracht Frankfurt so far.
They’re still in this season’s Europa League and through to the semi-finals of the DFB Pokal but because of their small squad, they’ve struggled domestically and currently sit in 12th place, six points away from the relegation play-off spot, although they have a game in hand.
You may remember The Eagles beating a lacklustre Bayern Munich 5-1 in November. After that emphatic victory they didn’t win a league match in seven games, losing six. They managed to find their feet after the winter break, taking 10 points from 12 to move away from the drop zone. However, Adi Hütter’s men had stuttered in between their cup commitments to lose three on the trot against Borussia Dortmund, Union Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen.
As Kevin Hatchard mentions in his Bundesliga team-by-team guide, as unfortunate as the league’s postponement was, The Eagles probably needed the rest.
As for team news, veteran striker Bas Dost is back in team training but expect either Andre Silva or Goncalo Paciencia to lead the line of attack.
Can Die Folen keep the race up?
It’s been a funny timeold for Borussia Monchengladbach too. New manager Marco Rose has fit the team like a glove, and at times during the first half of the season, they lead the Bundesliga. However, as I mentioned back in mid-February, when taking a look at the title race, they have several weaknesses including not scoring as many goals as the teams above them, which is still the case (49 goals compared to 62, 68 and 73), despite having Alassane Pléa, Marcus Thuram and Lars Stindl.
They also didn’t have the best away form which stifled their title run. That started to change in the weeks before the postponement, though, as they won the last two and were unbeaten in their last three.
They slipped further behind by losing 2-1 to Dortmund at home but bounced back with their game in hand, a win in the local derby against FC Koln. Breel Embolo started his first game since January then and it paid off for Borussia, getting a goal and an assist. They’re currently fourth, two points behind BVB in second and six points behind leaders Bayern, but Bayer Leverkusen, in fifth, started to make up ground for the Champions League spots. The Foals are being chased and can’t allow for anymore slip ups.
Denis Zakaria suffered a knee injury in the gameweek before the Bundesliga was suspended and is not scheduled to be back until for at least another four weeks. As this is the first game he’ll miss through injury, and as he’s one of Gladbach’s best players in balancing the team between attack and defence, it’ll be interesting to see them set up without him, especially when they have the third-best defence in the league and rely on him.
Match Odds tricky to place
Fourth-placed Gladbach are favourites at [2.4], with the draw at [3.7] and the hosts [3.05] to win. It’s a tricky one to call and that isn’t exclusive to this match. A lack of the fan atmosphere that we’re used to seeing in German football, as well as the long lay off, means we can’t approach the Match Odds market in the usual way.
Frankfurt are a difficult team to face at the Commerzbank-Arena, and are sixth in the home table, but it’s hard to say if they’ll have the same advantage behind closed doors. The visitors are the vastly superior team, but are prone to slipping up and Zakaria missing is a big blow.
If you’re to choose an outright, go for the bigger price value and go for the draw at [3.7] or take the outsiders on the Draw No Bet market @ [2.24]. The reasons why I’ve gone for Eintracht here are that they’re the bigger price but also, in the last four meetings between these
teams, the hosts have won on three of those occasions.
Goals could be factored in
The Bundesliga is one of the most entertaining leagues when it comes to open and attacking play. Teams are chaotic and it usually concludes with more goals. So to back this up in true German style: Gladbach have scored in each of their last seven Bundesliga matches, but have also failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last eight league games.
Both Teams To Score is definitely a play here, but as it’s short price, you can boost it on the Betfair Sportsbook with Over 2.5 goals to [1.89].