No one expects Eintracht Frankfurt to win the 2018 German Cup final against Bayern Munich, but what can they do to give themselves a chance of success? DW outlines three key points.
On Matchday 15 in the Bundesliga, Frankfurt lost 1-0 at home to Bayern in a game in which they had more shots, played more passes, made fewer errors and had more possession. A strong performance from back-up keeper Tom Starke and a stubborn Bayern defense was ultimately the difference, but the game serves as a perfect reference point for what Frankfurt need to do in Berlin to stand a chance of upsetting the odds and beating the Bavarians.
1. Find the right level of aggression
In that Bundesliga game earlier in the season, Frankfurt pinned Bayern in right from the start. It was bold, aggressive play from Niko Kovac's men and it really should have been rewarded with a goal. For the first 15 minutes, Frankfurt sent in cross after cross, and made Bayern look second best. Even after conceding and the halftime interval, Frankfurt still looked the better side. Bayern were spluttering, couldn't get control of the game and weren't tackling well. They were rattled and started to lose their grip on the game. Frankfurt had been niggly and tough, but not nasty or dangerous. It frustrated Bayern so much that their gameplan unraveled.
Now, going into his third cup final, Marco Russ told German football publication kicker that Frankfurt "have to take the joy away" from Bayern. So long as Kevin-Prince Boateng finds the right side of that line, Frankfurt stand a good chance of stopping Bayern from playing their game.
2. Don't play the occasion
In some ways, Eintracht Frankfurt appear to be approaching a mini end of an era. Some of the older players look to be approaching their post-peak years and will be under even more pressure next season as the club's crop of promising youngsters vies for more first-team minutes.
And of course, Saturday's cup final will be Kovac's last game in charge before he joins Bayern Munich next season. When the man who has put Frankfurt back on the map leaves, and some of Frankfurt's upward momentum could well go with him.
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With change ahead for this club, this game takes on even more significance than a cup final. This will be the last chance for some senior members to win, some younger ones will be eager to impress and Kovac will want to leave Frankfurt fans with a sweet taste after a sour last few weeks. Ahead of the final, Boateng said he had told the youngsters to "'concentrate on how you played earlier on, in the park. It's just a bit bigger here.'" It is, but the combination of a final and playing Bayern could be deadly for Frankfurt. Kovac and his men have to focus firmly on the latter.
3. Don't waste the chance
Too many teams have played Bayern Munich domestically in the last six years and missed the chance to get the result that reflected a good performance. Frankfurt were guilty of that in last year's final where Borussia Dortmund wobbled their way through passages of the game to lift the cup. Frankfurt were also guilty of that in the home game vs. Bayern on Matchday 15 in the league this season. There is some consolation in playing well against Bayern, but not when the end result is regularly defeat - especially in a cup final. Painstakingly obvious and yet equally pertinent, any side playing Bayern that can generate a period of pressure must make it count on the scoreboard. For Frankfurt to have a chance, they have to do a number of things right but being composure in front of goal might be the most important of all.