Bayer Leverkusen vs Eintracht Frankfurt Preview
The surprise package of the side takes on the nearly men of German football in the Bundesligaâ€™s biggest match this week.
When the two met in Frankfurt on the first day of the season, Leverkusen was stunned by the newly promoted Germans. Bayer 04 started the match as the slightly better side; however, as the match progressed, Frankfurt started to take over proceedings. When Stefan Aigner scored to cancel out Stefan Kiesslingâ€™s goal, Frankfurt started to believe they could win. Eventually, an unlikely hero in Martin Lanig scored the winner.
As the season progressed, the fans began to realize that talent is simply oozing through this Frankfurt side. Consistency from previously talented but inconsistent players such as Alex Meier has certainly helped their cause. Young German talents also help the team such as Sebastian Rode and Sebastian Jung tremendously. Frankfurt has shown the fans that they can battle with the best of the Bundesliga.
Their mettle will be tested against a Leverkusen side which has finally solved some longstanding problems.
Gonzalo Castro was a talented star who featured as a full back for Bayer Leverkusen. Now, Sami Hyppia and Sascha Lewandowski have found a perfect place for him in the Leverkusen team in midfield. Castro uses his creativity to great effect now. Kiessling is having one of his best seasons for a while, partly as a result of this change. Most importantly, the team has found a strategy which suits them in counterattacking.
They remain the only side in the league to have beaten Bayern. Frankfurt will be a challenge for them though; however, they might enjoy playing against Frankfurt because Frankfurt does like to dominate possession. This will allow Leverkusen to counterattack more often than usual. The likes of Pirmin Schwegler, Rode and Takashi Inui are all good passers of the ball.
Frankfurt and Leverkusen both head into the winter break in great terms as far as the league is concerned. Frankfurt beat Wolfsburg 0-2 while Leverkusen hammered Hamburger SV 3-0. Essentially, Kiessling was the man of the match in that game. Kiessling has really come to the fore this season. He might be recognized by some as nothing more than a poacher; however his positioning and his nose for goal make him the perfect striker for Bayer 04 at this point.
Overall, this game will be incredibly exciting. Leverkusen will perhaps concede a high percentage of possession to Frankfurt. Frankfurt will try to break down the back line patiently; their players will definitely try out shots from distance. Leverkusen will counterattack whenever they can.
Both teams will remain in the top four regardless of other results in the league on this match-day. However, a loss for Leverkusen coupled with a win for Bayern over FÃ¼rth will see a twelve point gap open up at the top. Leverkusen has to tread carefully. Nobody at the club has publicly declared the club a title contender; however they are in second place and they are Bayernâ€™s closest challengers.
Prediction: Leverkusen 2-1 Frankfurt
Jan 19, 201309:30