Eintracht Frankfurt aims to boost their chances for the top four by hosting VfL Bochum at Deutsche-Bank Park in the Bundesliga this Saturday.
Dino Toppmoller’s team ended 2023 on a low note but has picked up since the winter break, despite a big gap remaining to fourth place.
Frankfurt made waves with a stunning 5-1 victory over Bayern Munich, their only win in the last eight games of 2023.
This slump saw them fall far from the top four race, get knocked out of the DFB-Pokal, and not finish first in their Europa Conference League group.
Their form has been better in 2024, with wins against RB Leipzig and Mainz, but losing two points last-minute against Darmstadt was a setback.
Last weekend, they faced their first defeat of the year, losing 2-0 at Koln due to Niels Nkounkou’s red card.
Frankfurt is six points behind Borussia Dortmund for the last Champions League spot but remains in the top six for European qualification next season.
Freiburg’s recent struggles keep Frankfurt close, only three points away, with a crucial match against them coming up amidst Frankfurt’s Europa Conference League games against Union SG.
First, they focus on Bochum, whom they’ve beaten five times in a row at home before a 1-1 draw last season.
Bochum looks to widen their lead over the bottom three, helped by early 2024 performances and a beneficial draw between Mainz and Union Berlin.
With just three losses in their last 12 league games, Bochum has stayed clear of the relegation zone, showing top-half form since a tough start to the season.
However, their reliance on home performances could be a concern entering this game.
Despite a last-minute equalizer by Augsburg last week, Bochum has kept a strong home record, staying six points clear of relegation.
Eintracht Frankfurt Bundesliga Form: L W W D W L
VfL Bochum Bundesliga Form: W L D W L D
Frankfurt will miss Nkounkou and Tuta due to red cards, making it timely for William Pacho’s return from suspension.
With Hugo Ekitike’s fitness being managed and Sasa Kalajdzic absent, Omar Marmoush returns from illness to join Fares Chaibi in attack.
Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe is out with a muscle injury, while Sebastian Rode is only fit for 30 minutes after returning from injury.
Bochum welcomes back Takuma Asano after Japan’s Asian Cup exit.
Keven Schlotterbeck may start after being benched last game due to a muscle issue.
Other than long-term absentees Mohammed Tolba and Michael Esser, Bochum’s squad is fully available.
Possible Starting Lineups
Koch, Smolcic, Pacho;
Knauff, Skhiri, Larsson, Gotze, Max;
Oermann, Masovic, Ordets, Bernardo;
Losilla, Osterhage, Stoger;
Asano, Broschinski, Anwti-Adjei
Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 VfL Bochum
Frankfurt needs to bounce back from recent setbacks and should secure a win here, especially with Marmoush’s return.
Bochum has improved, mainly at home, but facing Frankfurt away presents a tough challenge.